Read about Darren Sutherland taking Ireland to the Olympics, and our back-to-school articles.
Vol. VI, Issue 8
WE WANT YOUR STORY!
In 2008, the Common Ground will feature you! Your stories, past and present, will be our feature column this year. Tell us how your family came to the United States from Ireland, how you celebrate your Irish heritage, or how you enjoy Irish history and culture. Send your photos and stories to firstname.lastname@example.org during the first week of each month. Diverse cultural, political, and religious views are appreciated, but publication of any piece is subject to approval by the Ireland Institute Executive Management.
letter from the editor
WATCH THEM FLY
Over the past month, the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh has been busy managing two Wider Horizons Programs. Over thirty young people have called Pittsburgh home since late July. Their journey has been remarkable.
Imagine yourself, an unemployed twenty-something, traveling to a foreign land for the first time. You travel with a group, but you don't know them very well. Some of them are from a community that will never accept, let alone welcome you. At least that's what your parents told you.
You arrive in this foreign place to live with a family you never met before. You report to your first job--ever, interacting with a diverse group of natives who have trouble understanding your accent. Simple tasks like crossing the street, catching a bus, and using your electrical appliances, are impossible due to a system that is new to you. You get through your first week, nearly, when you wake-up Friday morning, and remember that today you have to attend university. "University?," you gasp. "I barely finished High School."
It is a daunting endeavor. There are plenty of people supporting you, but you didn't expect it to be as hard as this. And by the end of the second week you are homesick. You can't sleep, can't eat, you miss your family, even your brat younger brother. You start to hate it here. You hate the food, the noise, the heat. What you wouldn't give for a decent cup of tea.
And then, unexpectedly, things start to turn around. The Wider Horizons Program ultimately becomes one of the greatest experiences of every participant that ever signed up. For most of them, somewhere at some point in Pittsburgh, something clicks. A fellow worker takes you out for a night of fun. A student at the university asks you questions about your country. A conversation from home reminds you that its been raining there since you left. And it dawns on you that there is a lot more to this world than that town or village that you call home.
You begin to realize that things here are not necessarily better nor worse, but different. You realize that you are capable to manage a job, social relationships, personal responsibilities, and professional growth. And you fly. Confidence, assertiveness, cooperation, and independence flourish within you. This is what you came for.
Since 1989, the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh has served over 1600 young people from Ireland on various programs. On September 11 and September 17th we will celebrate the graduations of our 59th and 60th International Fund for Ireland Wider Horizons Projects at Duquesne University. Please accept this note as your invitation to watch them fly.
Jim Lamb, President
Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh
Please submit your feedback to: Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh * Regional Enterprise Tower
* 425 Sixth Avenue, Suite 1410 * Pittsburgh, PA 15219 or
Call/fax our offices: Telephone: (412) 394-3900 * Fax: (412) 394-0502
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10th ANNIVERSARY OF OMAGH BOMBING
On Friday, August 15, Co Tyrone town held the 10th anniversary of the Omagh bombing. A new glass memorial replaced the former monument, which stated that the 29 victims of the 1998 attack were “murdered by a dissident republican terrorist car bomb.” This alteration proved to be controversial, and many members of the Omagh support group refused to attend.
In addition, a mass was held at the Pro Cathedral in
Dublin that morning, and a memorial garden was unveiled nearby. The words
written on the original monument, “murdered by a dissident republican
terrorist car bomb,” were included in a portion of the garden.
HONORING THE BRIDGE BUILDERS
On October 1, Boston will be holding The Irish Echo Golden Bridges Awards ceremony, to celebrate Irish Americans who are building bridges between the United States and Ireland, through commitment in culture, business and community development.
Guest of Honor at this ceremony, held in the JFK Library, is Sir Reg Empey,
Northern Ireland Minister for Employment and Learning, and leader of the
Ulster Unionist Party.
efforts are stepped up to cement the peace process into a prosperity and
reconciliation process, one benefiting those communities which suffered most
during the years of conflict, we feel it's timely for Irish America to welcome
Sir Reg Empey to the U.S. as our guest of honor," said Irish Echo
publisher and former Sinn
Máirtín Ó Muilleoir.
participants being honored include a veteran Irish language teacher, a
chairman of a multi-billion dollar development company, and the Massachusetts
State Treasurer Tim Cahill.
“Our honorees come from all walks of life…they all share a passion
for Irish America, Ireland and the ties which bind the two,” added
Record CAO applications in 2008
This year, students applying to third level colleges in Ireland sent 68,000 applications. The figures proved by the Central Applications Office show that in 2007, only 65,500 people applied-a 2,500 difference from this year. This research verifies the all-time high.
The number of adult students, and those in the Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC), increased by 3,000, to 18,000 applicants. Submissions were up by 16,000 for arts and social sciences in honors degree courses.
However, healthcare and nursing courses are in the process of dropping, despite the rise in other programs.
IRELAND IS 'SANCTUARY' FOR ACTRESS
Angela Lansbury, the 82-year-old veteran actress, and star of Murder She Wrote, calls Ireland her sanctuary, where warmth, respect and peace shelter her family from the chaos of Hollywood.
After a fire destroyed their home in Malibu, California, and her children were exposed to the drug culture, Angela moved her family to the land of her mother and grandmother, and settled in County Cork.
“My grandmother, who came from Belfast, used to come to Cork every winter because it was warmer down here. (The climate) is a little less difficult and sharp and cold.”
The family, which included her late husband Peter, and two children, Deirdre and Anthony, found it rather easy to start their lives over in Ireland.
“We had our problems, there’s no doubt about it, so coming to Ireland was like beginning all over again and it afforded us that time to get back to basics really. We bought a house in Cork and we gardened and I learnt to cook…we started a whole new life.”
This new life was some of the happiest years for Angela and her family. Circumstances made it necessary for them to sell their house, but 10 years later, they came back, bought a piece of land, and built a new home.
“We loved living here and we never were able to give it up,” she said.
RESEARCH REVEALS TRUE COST OF SCHOOLING
This school year, after parents have “shelled out” hundreds of euro on clothes, books, and any necessary equipment, along with additional charitable contributions, they have spent over €60,000 on their child’s education. Where is the concept of “free education” hiding? Primary school education is costing up to €9,856, secondary school adds up to €12,737, leading to €38,614 for a four-year university. Not included are any accommodation expenses, or other financial obligations.
This research was conducted by Schooldays.ie for Bank of Ireland Life, an online parenting and teaching resource. Though Ireland claims to have free education, and offers an allowance of €166 on back-to-school expenses, this study has shown that 89% of parents don’t believe this amount is sufficient. Once students are back in the classrooms, the tab to put them there has reached an average of €376, about $553. Following this total, we might include the bill for any extra-curricular activites.
Free education? Maybe somewhere else, but not in Ireland.
RONNIE DREW DIES AT 73
Ronnie Drew, who entertained the world with his raspy voice and heart-wrenching ballads, died on Saturday the 16th of throat cancer at 73.
The funeral was far from conventional, as the crowd hummed along and swayed to the music played by the remaining members of the Dubliners, the Chieftains, and other balladeers and songstresses. Almost everyone whose life was touched by Drew’s music attended, from those in entertainment and political businesses, to ordinary, personal friends. All together, approximately 3,000 people were present in the Church of the Holy Rosary on Tuesday morning. The crowd was so big, that a video link was set up outside to accommodate the mourners that remained in the churchyard and streets.
“It’s a Mass of thanksgiving for Ronnie’s life and the joy that he brought to each of us,” said celebrant Fr. Denis Quinn.
Ronnie Drew had “a love and compassion and feeling for the person who got a hard hand in life that oozed through (his) gravelly voice,” said Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin Eamonn Walsh.
His son, Phelim, noted that those in the music world shared a “unique kinship” with him, and that “they all rightly claimed to be Ronnie’s brothers and sisters."
Ronnie is survived by his two children, Cliodhna and Phelim, and their spouses; his brother Tony, sisters Joan and Margie, and six grandchildren-Ruaidhri, Aoife, Vivian, Milo, Lilian, and Seanie, along with many cousins. His wife, Deirdre, had died only 14 months before. Both are laid to rest at Redmonds Cemetery in Greystones, Co. Wicklow.
IRISH FIGHTER SUTHERLAND WINS OLYMPIC MEDAL
On Wednesday the 20th, middleweight Darren Sutherland fought the best boxing tournament Ireland has seen since 1956. He joined two other contenders, light-weight Kenny Egan and light-flyweight Paddy Barnes, in securing the minimum of three bronze medals for Ireland at this year’s Olympics.
Only two years ago, Sutherland suffered an eye injury that almost took him out of the ring permanently. During a routine international fight, the thumb of the opponent was shoved into Sutherland’s eye, causing it to be pushed back into his head. Surgery was required to repair the two fractures.
Wednesday’s match saw Sutherland beat Venezuelan Alfonso Blanco Parra in an 11-1 victory. “Doctors didn’t think I would ever box again. It was six months until I got back into the ring… I never thought this was going to happen,” said the overjoyed athlete.
Head coach Billy Walsh was ecstatic as well. “Anything can happen in these Olympic Games, and this is Ireland’s best performance since 1956. Irish eyes are smiling.”
WIDER HORIZONS 2008 - Host FaMily Program
As the fall season approaches, we find our young friends still with us. Progress has been made through classes, internships and daily interaction with the citizens of Pittsburgh, along with the unique experiences met by the everyone on the day trips we’ve taken. With a couple short weeks left of their stay, our friends are focused on extracting the remaining opportunities this program has offered.
We are currently focusing on finishing out our groups for 2008, but if you are interested in becoming a Host Family for 2009, please contact Robert Tierney at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (412) 394-3900.
For the next few months, the Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre will remain behind a closed curtain, as the outstanding cast recuperates from the summer season, and prepares their Winter production, Dublin Carol - authored by Connor McPherson.
We will keep you posted with the particulars of the show, or visit www.picttheatre.org or call 412-394-3353 for details.
September 5 through Sunday, September 7
Pittsburgh Irish Festival at Riverplex at Sandcastle, West
Homestead. Entertainment includes
Gaelic Storm, Pogey, Glengarry Bhoys, Beoga, Screaming Orphans, Gadelle, Cahal
Dunne, Dennis Doyle, Michael Murphy & the Shannon River Band, Matthew
Craig & The Kerry Tipper Band, Red Hand Paddy, Hooley, Mike Gallagher,
Burke-Conroy Irish Dancers, Pittsburgh Ceili Club, Pittsburgh Irish Reelers,
Bell School of Irish Dance, Shovlin Academy of Irish Dance, Corned Beef &
Curry, Terry Griffith, Ballet Academy of Pittsburgh, Mark Guiser, Alan Irvine,
Patrick Regan plus more. Variety
of admission prices. Information:
412.422.1113 or www.pghirishfest.org.
Gaelic Mass on Sunday at 10:00 AM.
Marketplace, children’s activities, Gaelic sports, Blarney Bingo,
Ceili Dancing plus more. Opens
Friday 4:00 PM.
AOH Division 4 sponsors
‘Hibernian Open’ at The Pittsburgh National Golf Course; 1:30PM Shotgun
Start – Scramble. Lunch before
the start, Dinner after golf. Contact
Patrick Regan, email@example.com.
Benefits the AOH Division 4 Parochial School Tuition Assistance Fund.
Harp & Fiddle, 2329 Penn Ave., in The Strip, ½ Way to St.
Patrick’s Day. Live Entertainment outside under the Tent from 4:00 PM with
three different bands. Inside –
at 3:30PM Notre Dame vs. Michigan State.
Music with Corned Beef &
Curry at 9:00 PM
Experience at Gettysburg’ Tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield &
Soldiers National Cemetery from 9:15 AM to 2:30 PM.
This trip is being organized by the AOH; information contact Jim Green
412.881.6499. Cost for Tour -
$50.00 per person. Limited
Samhain, The Celtic New
Year Celebration, a fundraiser for Echoes of Erin on WEDO 810AM at
Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle, (Mullaney’s Castle) 24th St.
& Penn Ave. in The Strip. Doors open at 4:00PM, Local Talent with Terry
Griffith, Christopher Laughrey with Casey Deely & Duane Davis, Jack
Puskar, Michael Mykita with ‘rune’ readings & other interesting
stuff, plus more with John McCann
& Bob Banerjee. Costume
Contest. Donation $15.00 at Door.
Information Diane Byrnes 412-781-6368, Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
become a regular at these local programs!
The Echoes of Erin is marking its 21st year! It airs every Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. on WEDO, 810 AM. Diane Byrnes continues to provide Irish music, news, and other great information from the Emerald Isle. Keep up the good work, Diane!
Paddy's Pour House located on Main Street in Carnegie, PA hosts live entertainment every Friday and Saturday night starting at 9:00 p.m. Tuesday nights join Dennis Murphy with "Get Educated and Entertained as only 'Murph' can" from 8:00-12:00. For more information, visit their website or call (412) 279-0770.
Catch the Thistle and Shamrock every Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m. on WYEP 91.3FM for Celtic music performances and discussions.
We're always looking for events to include: If you'd like to include your next event in this newsletter, please send event information including date, time, location, admission cost, and contact information to email@example.com.
Pittsburgh Irish Rowing Club 2008 Schedule
Boston – August 31
Albany – September 13
Annapolis – October 4
For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
IRISH ENTERTAINERS WEBSITES
Performance Schedules, Etc.
from Johnstown PA -
Balderose - http://www.pittsburghpiper.com/
of Souls - http://www.carnivalofsouls.com
Gallagher - http://www.mike-gallagher.com/
Griffith - http://www.pittsburghirish.org/griffith
Irish - http://www.guaranteedirish.info/
Beef & Curry - http://www.cornedbeefncurry.com/
Murphy & TSRB http://www.michaelmurphy.us/
Hand Paddy - http://www.redhandpaddy.com/
Rolling Scones - http://www.rollingscones.com
Irish Dance Schools
Bell School of Irish Dance http://bellschool.com/about.htm
Burke Irish Dancers
Pittsburgh Irish Reelers
Shovlin Academy of Dance http://www.shovlinacademy.com/
Pittsburgh Ceili Club
Irish Rowing Club (PIRC)
Pittsburgh Banshees email@example.com
Pittsburgh Celtics www.pittsburghcelticsgfc.com
The Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh’s mission is to promote mutual understanding of the Catholic and Protestant traditions in Northern Ireland and economic development throughout all of Ireland. The Institute fulfills its mission by providing quality programs in job training, economic development, leadership development, educational alliances and reconciliation. The Institute is a change-oriented organization that collaborates with industry, educational and government institutions in the development of all programs.
All articles are adapted from www. rte.ie, the Belfast Telegraph, the Irish Examiner, BBC, and other news sources.