Read about election results in the Republic of Ireland.


The Common Ground

Vol. V, Issue 6


      June 2007



                 News Updates






letter from the editor 

The Power of Three

I was reminded recently of a brilliantly simple philosophy for life and for obstacles that we face regularly at work, at home, and in the community.  I have come to realize that this philosophy always works...if I take the time to heed and apply it. That's the hard part for me. But I share it here for those readers who, like myself, seek constructive ideas and solutions for everyday challenges.

Any big project coming up on your calendar requires your attention and hard work. You have full responsibility to make sure that the project goes well. You plan, you set deadlines, you consider potential pitfalls and contingencies. You work, as if it all depends on YOU.

Meanwhile, as is the case in most projects or challenges to be accomplished, there are many other people involved. Vendors, suppliers, children, clients, bosses, employees, neighbors, parents, and others are bound to have their say on how your project should go. Whether it's a family vacation, a community clean up project, or a major contract with the government, you will ultimately have to accommodate the ideas of those who may or may not have any responsibility for YOUR project. How do you deal with that?

This is truly the work of the "Common Grounders." The most effective project manager will summon the skills of active listening and empathic response, not to give in to the demands of others, but to affirm that such demands and wishes are real to them. Then the negotiating begins. The newly devolved government in Northern Ireland represents the best example of two project management groups, the DUP and Sinn Fein, each with their own set of goals and objectives, yet each accepting the reality that neither will succeed without the other.

Once a project manager has garnered the energy to do all the work and the support of others who commit to help, what can go wrong? Well, the insurance companies call them "Acts of God," weather catastrophes that destroy a city and leave thousands dead or homeless. It happens. Maybe it's my Catholic upbringing and the Christian Culture that dominates American life, that compel me to consider the providence of God when I approach a task. Sometimes it's just not meant to be.

Still, this philosophy makes sense to me:

Work like it all depends on you;

Reach out like it all depends on them; and

Pray like it all depends on God.

No matter what happens, your reward will be great.

Jim Lamb


Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh


This month, we continue our series about Pittsburgh's Irish Organization with information about the Pittsburgh Gaelic Arts Society.

 In our Letter from the Editor section, Jim Lamb reflects on his philosophy for the projects and undertakings of life.

We also have news about  an Ulster-Scots music fusion!


There's no shortage of Irish events to attend this month - see our events section.


Gaelic Arts Society of pittsburgH

The Gaelic Arts Society promotes and celebrates the culture and heritage of the Gaelic Nations: Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.  It was founded in 1955 by Brother Dominic Reardon, C.S.Sp., a member of the administrative staff of Duquesne University. Its mission is to provide opportunities to learn about the Gaelic cultures' rich history and heritage.  Brother Reardon felt the Gael ought to make its intellectual and spiritual contribution in an area long characterized by its physical presence.  He also wanted to create a consciousness of the influences of Gaelic thought and action in the advancement of American ideals.

The Society hosts many events throughout the year, including a Saint Patrick's Day Banquet, an Irish High Tea, book reviews and biographies, field trips to Irish events, historical lectures, and performances.  They seek out distinguished figures from the arts, architecture, music, and politics to present their programs.

The Society welcomes members from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds who are interested in learning and sharing the Gaelic culture.

The Gaelic Arts Society meets on the second Tuesday of the month from 5:00pm to 7:00pm in the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh offices.  For more information contact Earl A. McCabe, President, at 412-761-1844 or


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

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The 2007 Elections for the Republic of Ireland were finalized on Sunday, May 27, with Fianna Fáil taking 78 seats.  Fine Gael followed with 51, while Labour took 20, Green Party 6, Independents 5, Sinn Féin 4, and the Progressive Democrats 2.

In the first meeting of the 30th Dail on June 14th, Bertie Ahern was elected Taoiseach with 89 votes to rival Enda Kenny's 76.  This will be Ahern's third term, making him the only Taoiseach since Eamon De Valera to be elected to three consecutive terms. 

The Green Party, who along with the Progressive Democrats,  has formed a coalition government with Fianna Fáil, have several positions in the cabinet and junior ministries.  They are hopeful that the tensions caused between the two parties, one idealistic and one pragmatic, can be overcome.


Members of the Green party voted in favor of entering a coalition government with Fianna Fáil on Wednesday, June 13.  Also supporting the new government were a number of Independents.  Brian Cowen, Finance Minister and the leader of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party, which unanimously backed the deal, said the plan was a broad-based coalition that included the Greens, FF, the Progressive Democrats and Independents.

The plan includes a commitment to analyze all transport projects to take into account environmental factors. It will also set up a climate change commission, with a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3% per year.  Taxation policy will be examined, and changes will be made to VAT.  A newly appointed Minister of State is to take on responsibility for the elderly.

Trevor Sargent, the Greens' leader, resigned following the announcement of the coalition, following through with a pre-election promise.  He says that it was the proudest day of his life, and courage had won out over caution.  Though he will not accept a cabinet post, he would be willing to act as a junior minister if such a position was offered.  He also said that the Green Party would continue to work for the people of Iraq and those who want the M3 Motorway re-routed out of the Tara valley, although the party negotiators who created the government deal had reached an impasse on those issues.


Described as the most beautiful book in the world, the Book of Kells is one of the glories of Europe’s Middle Ages.  Though the book was produced by monks over a thousand years ago, more than half a million people visit Dublin’s Trinity College each year just to see it.

Now, modern scientific techniques will be used to unveil some of the mysteries shrouding the book and its extraordinary artwork.  As part of an ongoing investigation, lasers will be used to determine the materials used to create the colors that have stayed so vibrant over the years.  The long-term process is expected to include testing with infrared and x-rays.

Trinity librarian Robin Adams explains that the laser beam "excites the particles of the pigment which respond and bounce back the energy in a particular wavelength. From that pattern a machine can identify what material is used." The laser will only be applied to a very small section of the pigment and will not harm the book.

The monks who created the book probably used a range of substances, from ordinary vegetable matter for greens and browns, to exotic foreign substances like lapis lazuli from Afghanistan and Mediterranean insects for blue and red.  Scientists hope that the results of the laser analysis will shed light on the actual ingredients used. 


The World Monuments Fund has declared the Hill of Tara to be one of the 100 most endangered heritage sites.  The study is released every two years by an international panel of experts.  TaraWatch, the group that campaigned to have the hill added to the list, hopes that the designation will lead to the re-routing of the M3 motorway. 

Members of the group will be traveling to London to discuss the report, which could lead to funding for an independent archeological survey of the area affected by the proposed motorway.  Current plans for the road would endanger a recent major find at Lismullen. 










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Loyalist and republican to paint beatles murals

Loyalist Mark Ervine, son of the late PUP leader David Ervine, and republican ex-prisoner Danny Devenny will take their talents to Liverpool to celebrate the Beatles pop culture legacy with murals.   To mark the city’s European Capital of Culture status next year, the painters will create 12 Beatles murals in working class areas.

The duo are part of the Liverpool Mural Project which plans to copy Beatles album covers such as Sgt Pepper, Revolver and Yellow Submarine onto the gable walls of run down houses in the Edge Lane area of Liverpool. They are hopeful that the positive imagery will bring smiles to people’s faces.

Danny Devenny is famed for painting republican murals, most notably the Falls Road Bobby Sands work, across north and west Belfast. "Now at the age of 53 I am getting a chance to paint my real heroes,” the lifelong Beatles fan said.  "Murals have brought thousands of tourists to Belfast. There is no reason why they can't do the same for Liverpool."

Mark Ervine, who recently painted the 'New Dawn' PUP mural in east Belfast, said: "For us it would be an absolute privilege, it would be a big, big honour to paint them.  This is the chance of a lifetime - it could become an international tourist attraction."

The Liverpool Mural Project is also hoping to recruit artists from Northern Ireland and England and to involve schoolchildren and community groups to help give the community a sense of ownership of the mural, he said.

Liverpudlians Gregory Brennan and Peter Morrison took a tour of Belfast's murals, sparking the project. "That's where the idea was born. We just thought, 'wouldn't it be great if Liverpool could have murals, non-political, non-religious, just something to mark its European City of Culture status. Something for the people of Liverpool'? We thought it would be great to get artists from both sides to come over and work together but never thought it could happen. We have never done anything like this before,"  said Morrison.

Mark and Danny hope this Liverpool Mural Project will be a stepping-stone to creating an art exchange between Belfast and Liverpool.


Pope Benedict has declared Blessed Charles of Mount Argus a saint, as well as two priests from Malta and Poland, and a French nun.  Saint Charles was a Dutch immigrant to Ireland and a champion of the post-famine poor. President Mary McAleese, who attended the mass in St. Peter’s Square, along with her husband Martin and nearly a thousand Irish pilgrims, said that St. Charles was another immigrant saint in the tradition of St. Patrick.  Cardinal Desmond Connell led the Irish bishops at the ceremony, which was also attended by the Minister for Education, Mary Hanafin.


The Transatlantic Hillbilly Band, a spin-off from the Ulster-Scots folk orchestra, is creating a fusion of American music and its Ulster-Scots influences.  American bluegrass, country, and popular music all have connections to the Ulster-Scots musical tradition.  Their first CD has 16 tracks featuring fiddle, guitar, banjo, mandolin, fifes, pipes, harmonica, and drums.  Band leader Willie Drennan describes the sound as a trip back into the history of the emigrants from Northern Ireland to America.  "The obvious influences on the traditional music of the United States and Canada began with the mass migration from the British Isles in the 18th century and Ulster folk played an important role in this," says Drennan, originally from Ballymena. "In future projects we plan to delve deeper into the various influences that have shaped the relevant genres such as country, bluegrass and blues," he adds.

Among the tracks recorded by the Transatlantic Hillybilly Band are O Shenandoah, Bard of Armagh (Streets of Laredo), Barn Dance Mix (The Girl I Left Behind/Sailor's Hornpipe/Turkey in the Straw), Somewhere Down in Tennessee (written by Willie Drennan), Remember The Alamo (also by Drennan), Foster Mix (an arrangement of tunes from all American songwriter Stephen Foster, whose mother had family in Londonderry), Red Sails in the Sunset (written by Omagh-born Jimmy Kennedy) and a Gospel Mountain Mix (Will the Circle Be Unbroken/Swing Low Sweet Chariot/I'll Fly Away).
The recording was made at the Clotworthy Arts Centre, Antrim, and copies can be obtained by contacting Ian Burrows (


Drew Thompson, the new Mayor of Derry, donned the red cap early this year.  As part of a pledge to assemble the most Santas ever in one place, the Mayor put on his Santa suit and water skied up the Foyle River in Derry last weekend.


The campaign is the largest charity fundraiser the city has seen, and will benefit Foyle Hospice, Macmillan Support, iCare and Children in Crossfire.  Participants will buy Santa costumes for £15, which goes to the charities.  They plan to ring the walls of the city and sing Christmas songs on December 9th, hopefully setting the new high in the Guinness Book of World Records.


Though "Santa" wasn't on his skis long before plunging into the water, both he and the organizers felt it a wonderful way to express his support for the endeavor.


More information can be found at the project's web site,


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

This Summer & Fall, over forty young men and women from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland will arrive in Pittsburgh to participate in our Wider Horizons program.  Both groups from Monaghan & Armagh and Tyrone & Donegal will  receive on-the-job training, personal development, exposure to American culture, and new insights into the problems at home through conflict resolution.  After their program the participants return to Ireland, hopeful of securing employment and living in peace. 

A key success in both these programs has been our Host Family program - the young people are placed with host families during their stay in Pittsburgh.  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 group from Monaghan & Armagh arrived on May 3rd and is doing well.  If you see them around the city, be sure to say hi!  

The second group will be here from July 2nd - August 30th and will be in need of host families. Call 412.394.3900 for more information.






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Ireland won the Four Nation Round Robin Cadet Championships at the National Stadium in Dublin on Sunday, June 3, ahead of the European Union Cadet Championships and European Cadet Championships in Italy and Hungary.

In sixty-one bouts of intense boxing over three days, Ireland finished above runner up Germany with fifty points.  Germany finished with thirty-six points, while Lithuania and Sweden tied for third with twenty points each. 

Ireland will compete in the first ever European Union Cadet Championships in Porto Tores, Sardinia, Italy from June 10th to 16th, and then send a team to the European Cadet Championships in Siofok, Hungary from June 23rd to 30th. 

















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Our Mission:


Pittsburgh Irish & Classical TheatreHedda Gabler’, June 14 - 30; ‘The Lieutenant of Inishmore’ , July 12 – Aug 4; ‘Private Lives’, Aug 16 – Sep 9; ‘Pride & Prejudice’ Dec. 6-22.  Performances at the Charity Randal Theatre in the Stephen Foster Memorial.  Info; PICT 412.561.6000. Tickets  or 412.394.3353.

North Hills Divisions #4 AOH and LAOH are sponsoring a Day of Irish Entertainment at the Croatian Center on Schitzen Park Road in Ross Twp.  Entertainment will be provided by West O'Clare and Terry Griffith, as well as a juggler and step dancing demonstrations.  Admission is $10 for adults. Children under 16 accompanied by an adult get in free.  For more information, contact Stephen Kurpiewski at 412.734.9648.                               Saturday, June 23

Pittsburgh Banshees Ladies' Gaelic Football Club will be playing against the Detroit St. Annes at 1:00 PM on Founders Field in Indianola, Pa. (off Route 28 North & 910 in Harmarville).  For more information email             Sunday, June 24

Pittsburgh Celtics Men's Gaelic Football Club will be playing against the Detroit Wolfe Tones at Founders Field in Indianola, Pa. (off Route 28 North & 910 in Harmarville).  For more information email                                                    Sunday, June 24



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

This Sunday marks the 1,000th program of Echoes of Erin on WEDO. It will feature: The Ireland Report with Davy Kettyles, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh.  Telephone Interview with Pat Wilson in Belfast, Northern Ireland at the Smithsonian’s Folklife Festival.  

Congratulations Diane from all at the IIP!

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

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.