Read about the Celtic Women's rise to fame and Titanic's Little sister!



The Common Ground

Vol. IV, Issue 7


      July 2006



                 News Updates






letter from the editor 


Prayer, Politics and the Power of Hate


The horrific events unfolding in the Middle East over the past week brought another reminder that religion is powerful. And power-hungry individuals will use it to their advantage, regardless of the wicked outcome. 


Theocratic policies across the world continue to breed and feed majority populations with hatred towards minorities. And the oligarchies of fundamentalist Islam are not the only faulty systems. Western "democracies" like France, the United Kingdom, and yes, even our beloved United States of America are guilty of feeding an out-of-control right-wing fundamentalist Christian doctrine that spreads fear among its followers. 


Israel, the Judeo-Christian Holy Land, now fights two enemies--Hamas and Hezbollah. The tactics on both sides have been brutal. And many will die before any resolution is made.


Shia and Sunni Iraqis continue to fight, due partly to interpretive differences in religion. Cyprus, India, Northern Ireland, Somalia, the Sudan's Darfur region and other hot spots around the world are mired in the unholy rhetoric of self-righteous men who interpret scripture to serve their own interests. In the US, policies rejecting technologies to improve the human condition, ignoring civil rights, and favoring faith-based human services, deny guarantees of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all. 


Where are the champions of the commonground?


There are opportunities for dialogue in every conflict as long as one side is willing to reach out. Positive interactions between people of different cultures and different denominations foster mutual understanding, affirmation of different points of view, and ultimately reconciliation of those differences, allowing for a shared and just peace for future generations.


Every conversation, every shared experience represents a teachable moment in which both participants enhance their knowledge by confronting fear, rejecting hate, and conquering ignorance. These are the fruits of the laboring peacemaker.


As individuals, as families, as neighbors, and as world citizens we have an obligation not to fear, nor to hate, nor to ignore; but to facilitate positive interactions at home, and in our communities. Our collective commitment to various faiths will help us do that.


Jim Lamb, President

Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh


This month, we continue our series featuring Irish Festivals. 


In our Letter from the Editor, Jim Lamb comments on the motivating role of religion in many of the worlds conflicts.  


There's also some encouraging news for Northern Ireland's economy as a major injection of jobs materializes and the 12th of July parades pass peacefully.


Festivals of Ireland

Maiden Of The Mourne

6th - 13th August, 2006

As well as a festival taking place each year in Warrenpoint, Co. Down, The Maiden of The Mourne is also an internationally recognized personality competition for young women who represent their towns and cities both in Ireland and overseas.


While each young woman strives to win the crown, the festival's main mission is to promote a sense of unity, and community amongst the participants and their families by inviting them to experience Ireland and experience its hospitable people. 


The comraderie of all the participants as witnessed by all those attending these festivities exhibits the beauty of human diversity.


The festival includes a parade, musical entertainment in the square, sports events and children's events, held every afternoon and evening in Warrenpoint Town as well as the pageant itself.


For the past 14 years Pittsburgh has sent a representative to the Festival. She is chosen each year by the Maiden of the Mourne committee under the watchful eye of Maggie Cloonan. 


This year's winner is Ms. Brianna Minnock from Mars, Brianna, a high school senior, will travel to Warrenpoint accompanied by her family.


The Ireland Institute would like to congratulate Brianna and wish her every success in the upcoming festival! 




September 8th - 10th, 2006

The Clarenbridge Oyster Festival has for 52 years been established as a premier event of top class international entertainment accompanied by fine culinary delights.

A week long entertainment event incorporating a traditional market day, golf outings, art exhibitions, yacht races, fine wine and gourmet evenings. This festival is not one to be missed!

Since its inception in 1954 when 34 people attended the very first festival at Paddy Burke's pub, Clarenbridge, the festival has gone on to represent all that is good about life in this small County Galway town, Good Company, Good Food, Good Entertainment and of course Great Craic!

With visitors coming from all corners of the globe, it is true what the official website says - "The world is your oyster and Clarenbridge is its home".

Don't forget Pittsburgh's own Irish festival this summer:

September 8th - 10th, Station Square


Please submit your feedback to:  Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh * Regional Enterprise Tower

 * 425 Sixth Avenue, Suite 300 * Pittsburgh, PA 15219 or

Call/fax our offices:  Telephone:  (412) 394-3900  * Fax:  (412) 394-0502

To subscribe/unsubscribe or comment on this newsletter please send an email to:











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Northern Ireland's economy received a welcome boost recently with the announcement by ICICI One source, one of India's largest call center companies, that it will create over 600 jobs in Derry and 400 in Belfast.


It is believed that over $51m of wages and salaries will be injected into the economy by 2008.


ICICI One Source handles calls and administration for clients in the financial services, telecommunications and healthcare sectors.


It is one of India's leading business process outsourcing companies, currently employing more than 8,000 staff at 10 centers in the U.S. and India.




Florida Governor Jeb Bush left the US on July 15th for a one-week trade mission to England, Scotland and Ireland, with a stop at one of the world's largest air shows.


Bush and about 100 business and industry leaders from Florida plan to attend events aimed at promoting Florida products and developing trade and investment opportunities at events in London, Edinburgh, and Dublin, among other cities.


After a travel day, the group began the mission in London. While there, Bush planned to meet with Robert Tuttle, U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Bush also planned on private meetings with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Scottish Deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen and Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern.


The governor also attended the Farnborough International Airshow, where he was expected to meet with officials in the aviation and aerospace industries. Also on the itinerary was an event in Oxford to encourage cooperation in biotechnology and life sciences. 


The trip also included events aimed to increase Florida’s attraction as a tourism destination although both Ireland and the United Kingdom are already the leading countries of origin for foreign tourists visiting Florida.


Orangemen and nationalist residents have been praised for one of the most peaceful Twelfth celebrations in years. Despite a few minor stone-throwing incidents in south and east Belfast and some trouble in Co Londonderry, most of the parades passed off peacefully.


Welcoming the success, Security Minister Paul Goggins said it was "a culmination of hard work" by people from both sides of the community and the Parades Commission. "The commitment demonstrated by those involved should be an example to everyone," he said. "It shows that dialogue works. I hope that local communities will continue to work together in the coming weeks to ensure that the rest of the summer passes off peacefully.”


Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland also praised community activists on the republican and loyalist sides. "This is the first time in more than 35 years that the Army was not deployed on the ground in Belfast during the Twelfth of July parade," he said. "We welcome this move towards a more normal society and will continue to respond positively to the goodwill shown by those involved in either peaceful parades or protests." 


The Twelfth is an annual public holiday in Northern Ireland that commemorates the Battle of Boyne in 1690; a turning point in the Williamite War that insured the deposed King James II of England would not regain his throne by military means.





Tommy Gorman, president of the National Taxi Drivers' Union, said about 85 percent of cabbies went on strike starting at 5 a.m. Monday, July 17th. They were scheduled to resume work at the same time on Tuesday. 


Taxi drivers mounted pickets at several cab pick-up points in central Dublin. At the airport north of the capital, arriving passengers faced two-hour waits for bus services as the taxi line was empty. A handful of hackney drivers and nonunion cabbies dropped off passengers at the airport, but were forbidden to pick up any passengers. 


The strike was a reaction to a government regulator's plan to standardize the minimum fares charged by taxi drivers across the country of 4.1 million people. The plan, due to come into force in September, would make the minimum national fare US$4.75. That would be US$1.25 higher than the current minimum fare in Dublin, but much less than in rural parts of Ireland, where minimum fares start at US$7.50. 


Dublin's taxi drivers supported Monday's strike, in part because the reformed fare system would remove their right to charge extra for trips to and from the airport or to charge extra for passengers' bags.










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Fans of the SS Nomadic dressed up in period costume to welcome her as she made a triumphant return to Belfast's docks on July 17th. Built in 1911 as a tender for the first and second class passengers of the infamous RMS Titanic and RMS Olympic, the SS Nomadic is the last ship built for the White Star Line still afloat. 

The Department of Social Development bought the 95-year-old vessel in January at auction in Paris. Her rescue followed an intensive campaign by the Belfast Telegraph to bring her home to the city where she was built. A survey revealed that she remains watertight, despite years lying in the Le Havre docks and a 30-year stint as a floating restaurant on the Seine in Paris. The Nomadic also served as a troop carrier in both World Wars.

A party of members of the French Titanic Society, who worked closely with Belfast Industrial Heritage in the hard-fought campaign to save Nomadic from the scrap yard, were present to welcome her home.

Interestingly, as the Nomadic left French waters, her stern displayed the White Star Line burgee (flag) that was flown in her early years, the first time a White Star Line vessel has independently flown the burgee in over 70 years.


An Irish musical extravaganza has notched up a record-breaking 68 weeks at the top of the Billboard world music charts.

The self-titled debut record from Celtic Woman, which stars five Irish singers and musicians, has surpassed tenor Andrea Bocelli’s record for the longest stint at number one in the Billboard Top World Albums chart.

Group members Chloe Agnew, Lisa Kelly, Meav Ni Mhaolchatha, Orla Fallon and Mairead Nesbitt shot to stardom in the US after coming together for a special show broadcast on US television in March 2005. 

The group performs a variety of music, including traditional Irish pieces and Enya’s “May it Be” and last played Pittsburgh in July 2005.

Celtic Woman portrays the unique voices and styles of each of then girls as soloists as well as fantastic ensemble numbers.


opportunities available to host a young person from Ireland or northern Ireland this summer!

In the Summer and Fall of 2006, over forty young men and women from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are expected to arrive in Pittsburgh to participate in our Wider Horizons program.  These young people will receive two months of on-the-job training, personal development, exposure to American culture, and new insights into the problems at home through conflict resolution.  At the end of the eight weeks, the participants will return to Ireland, hopeful of securing employment and living in peace.


As an essential part of this program, we are looking for host families to house participants during these two separate eight-week long programs.  Those of you who have hosted participants in the past have our thanks for opening your hearts and homes.  No doubt you may be called upon again, but we also ask you to recruit any interested friends, neighbors, and co-workers.  Host Family help is vital in providing a positive and rewarding experience for the participants.


The first group will arrive in Pittsburgh on 31st July and are from the Tyrone & Donegal areas while the 6th October sees the arrival of young people from Monaghan and Armagh.


For more information on becoming a Host Family, please contact the Ireland Institute at 412-394-3900.  






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Irish athletes made their mark in the British AAA Championships in Manchester over the weekend of the 15th and 16th with Deirdre Ryan showing the way with a new national high jump record on Saturday. She cleared a world class 1.92 meters to defeat the favorite Julia Crane. She had the competition won at 1.89 when the bar was moved up to 1.92 where she failed narrowly at her first two attempts before going clear on her last try and will now go to the European Championships in a very positive mood. 

Other members of the Irish team responded positively to Ryan's performance as British athletes battled for place on the team for the European Championships. Eileen O'Keeffe of Kilkenny won the women's hammer title with a throw of 65.64 meters, taking an early lead in the event and maintaining her position all the way through. 

There were a whole range of personal best performances in addition to outright victories by Ann Loughnane in the women's 5 K Walk while Colin Griffin of Ballinamore set a new championship record when winning the men's event in 19 minutes 43.40 seconds, a personal best. 

Jamie Costin of West Waterford finished second in 19:54.72. Loughnane's time of 22:54.97 was a new stadium record and this followed a lifetime best from Fionnuala Britton of Wicklow in picking up the silver medal in the 3,000 m Steeplechase with a time of 9:53.44. 

















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Cleveland’s Irish Cultural Festival at Berea Fairgrounds.  Entertainment includes: Tommy Makem, Foster & Allen, Gaelic Storm, Seven Nations, Irish Sopranos, Cherish The Ladies, Eileen Ivers, Johnny McEvoy, Tommy Fleming, New Barleycorn, Dermot Henry, Cathie Ryan, Young Dubliners, Jimmy Carton, Quagmire, Brendan Shine, David Munnally Band, Two Time World Irish Dance Champion Garrett Coleman from Pittsburgh, plus more. For more information contact 1-800-485-8013. Website: www.clevelandirish.orgJuly 21st - 23rd

Steel Thistle Pipes and Drum, a juvenile bagpipe band from Pittsburgh under the direction of Patrick Regan, will conduct a benefit concert at Carnegie Mellon University Alumni Concert Hall in the College of Fine Arts building at 7:30pm. Admission $10 Adults, $5 Children 12 and under. Saturday July 22nd

Bodhran Workshop with Master Bodhran player and drum maker Albert Alfonso at The Celtic Connection, 409 Lincoln Ave. in Bellevue. Beginner 10:00am - 11:30am; Intermediate 12:30pm - 2:00pm. Register online at or contact Les Getchell at July 22nd

The Kane Sisters from Connemara, County Galway, Ireland, will perform in Concert at the Rex Theatre on the Southside, 7:30pm. For more information Sunday July 23rd

 Millish - What do you get when you mix an Irish flautist, a Middle-Eastern-inspired percussionist, and a bluegrass-inspired guitar and a fiddle? A non-traditional Irish musical foursome named Millish. The Group will perform at the Shadow Lounge as well as the Pittsburgh Irish Festival in September. Wednesday August 9th

“The Year of Remembrance Committee” will sponsor a Mass at St. Patrick’s Church, 17th Street & Liberty Ave. at 3:00 pm, The 25th Anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strikes Commemoration. We will walk in procession through Spring Way (alley way parallel to Liberty Ave. and Penn Ave.) led by John Walsh, piping us to The Fire House Lounge 2216 Penn Ave. in The Strip. (One block down from Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle). Beginning at 5:00 pm, a program of Readings, Poetry and Music with Sean McClorey will follow. Second Program in our series commemorating the Hunger Strikers of 1981 and the Easter Rising of 1916. Event on second level, no elevator. Free Admission. Sunday August 13th

become a regular at these local programs!

 Listen to Echoes of Erin, now in its 17th year, every Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. on WEDO, 810 AM.  Diane Byrnes has Irish music, news, and other great information


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.


12th Annual Greater Pittsburgh Irish Open Scramble, will be held by AOH Sean MacBride Division 32  at Fort cherry Golf Club, McDonald PA. 7:15am Registration, 8:00am Shotgun. Package includes 18 holes of golf & cart, continental breakfast, snacks at 9th hole, hot buffet dinner, prizes on all par 3’s. Hole-in-One wins a 2007 Toyota Yaris sponsored by Rohrich Toyota. Information: Bill Delaney 412.531.2764

Friday August 11th


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


One of the support services offered by the Ireland Institute includes furniture donation, collection and redistribution to the Walsh Peace Visa participants. The money they save, as they set up house, is realized immediately, and they are quite grateful to all Ireland Institute supporters who have kindly donated furniture and household items. 

New groups are arriving in the spring and summer of this year.  If you have any furniture or household items to donate, please contact the Institute at 412-394-3900. Our thanks and gratitude goes out to all involved.


Our Mission:

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.