Read about the All-Ireland Football and Hurling Championships!


The Common Ground

Vol. VI, Issue 7

  Apologies to our readers for the late July issue of 'The Common Ground,' as our obligations were directed towards the two groups who've just embarked on their two month visit in the United States. You'll be receiving an additional newsletter later this month, and we plan to be back on schedule for September. Cheers! 

July 2008





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  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 


Isn't it grand to boast of Pittsburgh's recent accomplishments. We are America's most livable city, the sixth best metro area for relocating families worldwide, among five best places for members of the "creative class," one of the top "arts" destinations, one of the world's ten cleanest cities, etc., etc. As we celebrate our 250th birthday we should be proud of the accomplishments of our forbearers and of ourselves. 

So why does it seem like many of the streets of Pittsburgh are turning into killing fields, and our poorest neighborhoods host some of the nation's most criminal activities. In 2006 Pittsburgh had 56 murders. For every 100,000 people we lost 17 to this violent death. The national average per 100,000 was 7. We had more murders than Houston, more thefts than Detroit, more rapes and more burglaries that Washington DC.

And things have not improved. Read the local papers this week and try to find a day that no one was shot or stabbed or otherwise violated in Pittsburgh. 

For what its worth, cities in Ireland, North and South, have similar accomplishments and problems. Belfast is emerging as a vibrant city after a generation of "Troubles." Dublin is one of the world's most cosmopolitan cities. Galway is the "hip" place to be. Cork and Limerick continue to expand economically and culturally. Still violent crimes linger. People are violated and people are murdered.

There is something seriously wrong with this picture. Whole communities are drowning in their own blood. And surrounding neighborhoods and civic leaders, in spite of their best intentions, can not stop the bleeding. We all know what the underlying problems are: illegal drugs, prostitution, money, power. The young people that fell through the cracks of our inadequate social safety net a few years ago have found their place, orchestrating the criminal activity of their younger brothers, sisters and neighbors. They are smart but uneducated. They are driven but not for the common good. They live fast and they die young.

This week Pittsburgh didn't seem so livable.

Jim Lamb, President

Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh


The Centre for Migration Studies at the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, hosted the Seventeenth Ulster-American Heritage Symposium, on June 25-28, in partnership with the University of Ulster, Queen's University Belfast, the National Museums, the Library Service of Northern Ireland and the Ulster Historical Foundation.


Since 1976 the Ulster-American Heritage Symposium has met every two years, alternating between co-sponsoring universities and museums in Ulster and North America. Its purpose is to encourage scholarly study and public awareness of the historical connections between Ulster and North America including what is commonly called the Scotch-Irish or Ulster-Scots heritage. 

The theme of this meeting was 'Changing Perspectives, 1607-2007' and explored recent research that challenged habitual ways of thinking about the historical relationship between Ulster and North America over the last four hundred years.

Pittsburgh's own Peter Gilmore, a retired journalist and doctoral student at CMU, presented his paper "When Pittsburgh's 'Scotch-Irish' Were 'Irish'".  It detailed the first wave of migrants from Ireland to the US - Ulster Presbyterians of Scottish ancestry.  Many came because of restrictions placed on Presbyterians in the 1700s - they were not allowed to perform baptisms or weddings.  Until the later arrival of many Irish Catholics,  the Scots-Irish in America referred to themselves simply as "Irish."

For more information about the Symposium and the Ulster American Folk Park, visit their website at

To read more about Peter Gilmore and his research, go to



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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Abbott Announcement could lead to job growth

The US Food and Drug Administration just approved Abbott's Xience V Coronary Stent System, which saved 1,300 jobs in Clonmel, where the stent is made. This is a major breakthrough for the healthcare market, as the stents ate used in the treatment of coronary artery disease. This facility is one of two global plants that manufacture Xience V, the next generation drug eluting stent system, and is one of the leading manufacturers of stents.

This announcement will secure jobs in Clonmel, and may lead to job growth in the future, since the market for stents is annually worth approximately €4.5bn.



The Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness flew to Iraq with former Assembly Speaker Lord Alderdice, to discuss peace talks with the Shia and Sunni factions. They spent two days in the Baghdad parliament buildings, with politicians from South Africa, deliberating the formative negotiations.


Ryanair is facing losses of up to €60m because of high fuel costs after disappointing results in the first three months of the trading year. Profits fell 85% in the period to the end of June. It’s obvious how high oil prices are making it for business trade, forcing Ryanair to tell its shareholders about the potential bad news.

Despite a 93% raise of the fuel bill in the first quarter, Ryanair is predicting the consumers will shy away from companies applying fuel surcharges, and pledges not to introduce any. The corporation hopes to expand, while rivals are forced to fold.

In other news…

Aer Lingus has planned to increase its long haul fuel surcharge by €10, or $15.57, on four of its United States routes. Flights through Chicago, Los Angeles, Orlando and San Francisco will see a rise, whereas New York, Boston and Washington Dulles flights will remain at the same price. A 50% jet fuel increase, at the start of the year, resulted in the price raise.

July 30 began the price adjustment.


The world’s most popular search tool, Google, needs to sleep with one eye opened. Former engineers of the company have launched an improved version, called Cuil. The name is an old Irish word for knowledge, as CEO Tom Costello, from Drogheda, Co Louth, is involved in the management team.

Cuil claims to out-search Google, and won’t overlook websites seldom visited. Its index contains over 120 billion internet pages, saying, “size matters because many people use the Internet to find information that is of interest to them, even if it's not popular.”  










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Ireland’s longest serving detective, Assistant Garda Commissioner Martin Donnellan, who challenged the law requiring him to retire, once he turned 60, and has lost. He claimed that the law was “irrational, unfair and unjust.” He also stated that the provision is discriminatory.

Justice Liam McKechnie said “the regulation did not lack logic,” and “it was necessary for a sense of renewal and motivation throughout the Force, and to generate movement, motivation and dynamism within An Garda Síochána.” The Judge ruled against Commissioner Donnellan on both counts.




On July 27th and 28th of this past month, The New York Tap All-Stars, known to be some of the finest performers of American tap dance, and other dancers from New York, took part in the Irish dancing spectacular, “Magic Of The Dance,” at Belfast’s Grand Opera House. The storyline follows characters representing good and evil, in famine-era Ireland. The production’s artistic director, Peter Harding, describes the Irish dancing as, “kind of like ballet with tap shoes.” American tap dance focuses mainly on the feet, quite unlike Irish dance.

Auditions were held in New York, since “the best American rhythm tappers” could be found there, said Harding. He added that the auditions were “amazing.”

The love story was choreographed by eight-time World Champion John Carey, and narrated by screen legend Christopher Lee-who you would know for “Lord of the Rings” and “Star Wars.” Other world champions performing are Broadway star Suzanne Cleary, and two-time champion Dermot Cullen.  

We are fortunate enough to be hosting the performance in our own back yard in 2009. This is a show not to be missed.  



A business survey determined that conditions at Irish companies are declining, but that the conditions at various firms differ. The “Irish economy is weakening, but not in a freefall,” according to the conclusion of a study by IIB Bank and The Institute of Chartered Accountants.  Companies are watching their business flat line, or improve, resulting in a positive attitude of firms to their individual economic outcome.

But, no one is saying that an early economic rebound will occur. The weak growth may persist for several years to come, which is also taking a considerable toll out on rising costs and the credit crunch.  


European judges have banned laws restricting residency rights for non-Eu nationals who marry EU citizens. The only requirement is that if a family member is a non-EU national, they must have a residency card or entry visa issued by the member state. The complication surfaces if the family member if an Irish-based EU citizen is a third-country national-they can only live in Ireland if they're already a legal resident of another EU country. In such cases, many EU nationals have had to leave jobs in Ireland, and return home, since their spouses are unable to join them.

The High Court heard from four separate cases, where a third-country national arrived in Ireland, applied for asylum, and was refused. This situation raised the issue to global recognition. After residency cards were applied for by the newly wed family member of the EU citizen living in Ireland, the Minister for Justice refused since none of the partners proved to have legal residency in another EU member state.

"We have previously told the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform that the blanket refusal of anyone who hadn't previously resided within the EU was unlawful," stated the Immigrant Council of Ireland Senior Solicitor, Hilkka Becker.








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In what's shaping up to be a thrilling All-Ireland Championship Competition, eight teams have made it through to the quarter final stages: Leinster champions Dublin take on Tyrone, Munster champions Cork play Kildare, Connaught champions take on the mighty men of Kerry, while Ulster champs Armagh do battle against the Slaney-siders Wexford. The winners will move forward to the semi's, with the losers licking their wounds and heading back to the drawing board. The final itself will be played in Croke Park on Sunday, the 21st of September. 


In the All-Ireland Hurling Competition, four teams still survive! Waterford play Tipperary, and Cork take on Kilkenny. The final itself will be played on September 7th at Croke Park - Ireland's home of GAA.


Most games can be seen at the Claddagh Irish Pub, Southside. Call 412-381-4800 for schedule.



WIDER HORIZONS 2008 - Host FaMily Program

As the midline of 2008 passes, and we start coming down the second half of the year, we are joined by 40 young friends for two months. Our group from Tyrone-Donegal is concentrating on various careers in community services, while the MAPP group focuses on computer web design.

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 or phone (412) 394-3900.

















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Our Mission:



Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre presents The Synge Cycle – authored by John Millington Synge, beginning with ‘Playboy of the Western World’,  then ‘Riders to the Sea’, and Well of the Saints’, then ‘When the Moon Has Set’, and ‘Deidre of the Sorrows’, then ‘Tinker’s Wedding’ and ‘The Shadow of the Glen’.  Directed by Andrew Paul. At the Henry Heymann Theatre in the Stephen Foster Memorial, Oakland.  Tickets 412.394.3353 or visit

Friday, August 8

14th Annual AOH Division 32 Golf Outing at Cherry Hills Golf Club in McDonald, PA.  Information Denny Donnelly 412.276.9312.

Tuesday, August 12

An Irish Gathering at The Claddagh Irish Pub & Restaurant, 304 Cinema Drive, South Side Works from 5:00 PM.  Sponsored by and Benefits your Local AOH and LAOH Divisions.  Music with Sean McClorey, Irish Auction, Door Prizes, Appetizers.  Donation $10.00 – Joe Guiney @ 412.521.8411; Maureen O’Toole 412.913.4184; Steve Kurpiewski 412.734.9648; Rich O’Malley 412.401.3945; and Denny Donnelly 412.276.9312.

Saturday, August 16

The Claddagh Irish Pub & Restaurant, 304 Cinema Drive, South Side Works, Entertainment with Singer, Musician, Song Writer Mark Dignam, originally from Dublin 10:00 PM.

Sunday, August 24

Irish American Unity Conference will sponsor a Mass at St. Patrick’s Church in The Strip at Noon.  Celebrant – Fr. Thomas O’Donnell.  The Mass will commemorate the Hunger Strikers, the 10th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, Reconciliation.

Friday, 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  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.

Friday, September 12

·        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,  Benefits the AOH Division 4 Parochial School Tuition Assistance Fund.

Sunday, October 12


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, Michael Mykita with ‘rune’ readings & other interesting stuff, plus more, Costume Contest.  Donation $15.00 at Door.  Information Diane Byrnes 412-781-6368, Email


Saturday, October 18


LAOH Division 11 will sponsor a ‘Celtic Halloween Fundraiser’ at St. Mary of the Mount Sullivan Hall, 115 Bigham St. Mt. Washington, from 7:00 PM.  Entertainment by DJ – T.  Tickets $15.00, BYOB.  Information Maureen O’Toole 412.913.4184 or Clara Schillinger 412.734.1147.



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

Pittsburgh Irish Rowing Club 2008 Schedule

Philadelphia - June 21

Pittsburgh - July 12
Columbus –July 26

Milwaukee - August 16

Boston – August 31

Albany – September 13

Annapolis – October 4

For more information contact:




Check Performance Schedules, Etc.

Aran from Johnstown PA -    

George Balderose  -

Carnival of Souls -

Ceann  -

Cue Ball Music

Cahal Dunne  -

Tony Egan   -

Michael Gallagher  -

Terry Griffith 

Guaranteed Irish    -

Hiraeth  -

Hooley  -

John McCann  -

Corned Beef & Curry - http://

Michael Murphy & TSRB

Na Gaels  -

Jack Puskar  -

Red Hand Paddy  -

Rolling Scones  -


Pittsburgh Irish Dance Schools

            Bell School of Irish Dance

            Burke Irish Dancers

    Pittsburgh Irish Reelers

    Shovlin Academy of Dance

    Pittsburgh Ceili Club


Pittsburgh Irish Sports

Pittsburgh Irish Rowing Club (PIRC)

    Pittsburgh Banshees

    Pittsburgh Celtics     

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., the Belfast Telegraph, the Irish Examiner, BBC, and other news sources.