The Common Ground

Vol. IX, Issue 6

June 2011



Common Ground readers and other supporters of the Ireland Institute can now follow Jim on Twitter.

Log on to, and enter Jim's ID in the search tab.  His ID is Jim_Lamb.

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In June we BLOOM: A Look Inside the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh’s Program Development Process

A Message from our President James J. Lamb


I’m writing this piece on June 16—a date known among Irish literati affectionately as Blooms day.  Of course when James Joyce wrote his epic novel, Ulysses, which detailed a significant day in the life of the fictitious Leopold Bloom, June 16th was the date he chose.  I have always associated the month of June with the full bloom of summer.  While I am no scholar of the works of Joyce, I can’t help but wonder if he chose the surname to reflect the season.  Regardless, as we approach the solstice in this warm wet month, I’m reminded of the cycles of life—on the farm and in our own work at the Ireland Institute, for the similarities are remarkable


If you’re a farmer, after harvest you begin to plan for the next year.  You spend the winter studying new trends, new technologies that, you hope, produce higher yields.  Then, as you emerge from winter, you prepare the ground and plant so that by June you begin to see growth.


The Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh looks to produce greater connectivity between Catholic and Protestant young people in Ireland, and between the people of Pittsburgh and Ireland, primarily through knowledge and cultural exchange, transformative programming, and other rich interactions.


Every program we develop involves some research on socio-economic trends in Ireland, emerging industries there and here, and potential drivers (organizations and individuals) that will facilitate the translation of research to effective programming.  Over many years, we have established some expertise in programming around job training, business relationships, networking, and engaging people and institutions in projects that sustain personal, professional, and commercial development among our many and varied clients.  When we offer a Pittsburgh experience to an incoming group or individual, we rely on the strengths of Pittsburgh to deliver a rich, exhaustive program that changes utterly the visitors’ world view.


The Institute is one of a handful of US-based organizations facilitating reconciliation among Ireland’s Catholic and Protestant young people.  Our twenty-two year history working in this sphere has held the attention of US and Irish decision makers.


We also sell the tremendous opportunities that await in Pittsburgh’s most fertile ground—specific areas of technology in which Pittsburgh is among the elite.  Sustainable Technology, Life Sciences, and Creative Technology/Entertainment are three sectors in which Pittsburgh has shown national and global leadership.  The Institute has been busy “tilling” the ground in these sectors, developing relationships that we intend to transform into programs for Ireland’s best and brightest young people.  Our Carbon Zero program for Irish engineers working in the sustainable technology sector is entering its second year.  New programs are being developed in Life Sciences and in Creative Technologies and Entertainment.


As we prepare the Pittsburgh ground for young Irish minds, we pray, like farmers, for rain.  That’s where our extensive network comes into the picture.  Hundreds of volunteers, host families, friendly landlords, neighbors, placement mentors, Irish community leaders and members, donors, and others nurture our visitors, providing an ever richer environment in which to grow.


June is a telling month for us and for farmers.  They see stalks of corn and other plants sprouting from the earth.  And we see young Irish men and women, finished with their Spring semester, arriving and quickly thriving in Pittsburgh.  We have created and presented an environment that allows the visitor to reach and surpass his potential.


Just this week, two groups arrived in Pittsburgh.  Our annual IFI Wider Horizons program from the Tyrone/Donegal border area; and a new client group of professionals serving autism-spectrum disorders from Dublin.  As mentioned, the second annual class of Carbon Zero candidates begin arriving this month.


Let’s watch them grow.



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

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




IIP News


On Saturday, June 11, a group of 7 people arrived in Pittsburgh as part of the first training program in a partnership with Irish Autism Action and The Watson Institute ACCLAIM program.  The Ireland Institute is facilitating the program, which shares training and knowledge through these "ambassadors" with a heart for autism work.  For the first week, the group underwent training at the Watson Institute, and will now be working at Autism Camps until July 14.  The IIP is very pleased to be a part of this program.









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US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama's went to Ireland on May 23rd for a 24 hour-visit. Mr Obama and his wife were welcomed by at Dublin airport by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and the US Ambassador to Ireland, Dan Rooney.  

The Obamas were then taken to Áras an Uachtaráin for a private meeting with President Mary McAleese. The President held talks with the Taoiseach at Farmleigh, where they discussed a range of issues, including Ireland's deficit problems and US planes stopping at Shannon. Enda Kenny said Mr. Obama will bring his golf clubs the next time he visits the country.  

Mr. Obama said the bond and relationship between the two countries could not be stronger. He said 'we will do everything to help' Ireland in its economic recovery. He said he was inspired by the progress made in the peace process in Northern Ireland. The President said Ireland punches above its weight in a range of issues, including food security and peace keeping. Mr. Obama will give an address at an event, being billed as a public celebration, at College Green in Dublin this evening. He also made a private visit to the American Embassy in Ballsbridge. The President also visited his ancestral home in Moneygall, Co Offaly, where he greeted villagers before returning to Dublin. 


A major breakthrough in the treatment of cystic fibrosis has been announced by an international research team, led by scientists at Queen's University Belfast.

The results of trials of a new drug show it produces a significant improvement in lung function, reduces disease flare-ups and improves quality of life. A license for the drug, called VX-770, will be sought in the autumn.

The research team says the drug will also benefit sufferers who have the 'Celtic gene', a genetic mutation which is particularly common in Ireland. They say the drug is the first to treat the basic defect caused by the gene mutation in patients.

It opens the defective channel in the lung cells of people with CF and allows proper lung clearance of bacteria.

Researchers claim the drug has the potential to change the lives of people with CF around the world and it is expected to be available to patients next year.

While it is still too early to determine if the treatment will improve life expectancy, the team says the improvements in breathing tests and the reduction in flare-ups would suggest survival will be better.

Ireland has the highest proportion of people with cystic fibrosis in the world and over 1,100 people have the condition here.

Along with the QUB team, the studies were carried out by scientists at the University of Ulster, the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and researchers in Europe, the US and Australia.


The PSNI has blamed loyalist paramilitary group the Ulster Volunteer Force for a second night of sectarian street disturbances in east Belfast. Hundreds of rioters again gathered in the Short Strand area, with loyalist and nationalist youths hurling petrol bombs, bricks and bottles. A number of shots were fired just before midnight and a press photographer was shot in the leg.

Police have said that dissident republicans were responsible for the shooting. They are investigating if the man was the gunman's intended target. PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Alistair Finlay said between 450 and 500 people were involved in rioting.

Water cannon vehicles were deployed and plastic baton rounds were fired. A 20-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon and assaulting police. Officers have been talking to community representatives to try to calm the tension.

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness have condemned the riots, as well as a separate bomb attack aimed at police in west Belfast. Irish Secretary of the NUJ Séamus Dooley said the shooting was an attack on the media and was 'an extremely worrying development'.

The violence has also been condemned from politicians on both sides of the Dáil during Leaders' Questions. Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the situation demands serious attention. Mr Kenny said Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness were bringing a sense of understanding and calmness to the situation. Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the scale of violence was worrying and said these people must not be allowed to succeed. Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said everyone must remain calm about the situation, but should also seek to interact more with Northern Ireland.



Key figures in Northern Ireland’s war and peace have met under the same roof to discuss our bloody past and the painful search for truth.

They were part of a major conference hosted by the group Healing Through Remembering (HTR) on the eve of today’s ‘Day of Reflection’, which will think back on decades of conflict here.

The meeting — in private — also comes ahead of important decisions to be made by Secretary of State Owen Paterson on demands for a public inquiry into the 1989 murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane, and what to do to answer wider questions on the past.

How last night’s conference can feed into that decision-making process is not yet clear, but event organizers are hoping it can help inform the debate.

Police chiefs Matt Baggott and Sir Hugh Orde were part of a panel which also included loyalist paramilitary leader Jackie McDonald and Sinn Fein’s legacy spokesman Mitchel McLaughlin.

Speaking to this newspaper ahead of last night’s conference, McDonald said: “It’s an amazing line-up.

“It’s one of the most important things that has happened.”

The panel were joined in the room by Lord Eames and Denis Bradley, who co-chaired the Consultative Group on the Past, victims’ representatives, former RUC officers, Seanna Walsh, who read the IRA endgame statement in 2005, and former loyalist prisoners including Alistair Little, Tom Roberts and Winston ‘Winkie’ Rea, leader of the Red Hand Commando.








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An Irish software developer believes he has solved James Joyce's near century-old riddle of how to walk across Dublin without passing a pub.

Rory McCann, 27, claims he has settled decades of debate about the puzzle in Joyce's masterpiece Ulysses with a simple equation proving that it can be done.

Using online maps, the Dubliner worked out an algorithm - a computer equation - which found how to criss-cross the capital, from north to south and east to west, away from the temptation of any pub.

'The puzzle was just one of those things I was aware of, like most people in Dublin,' he said. I started thinking about how you would go about it, the pen and paper route which many people have tried, and which gets very tiring very fast, then I decided to try it on the computer.'

The University College Dublin computer science graduate started by plotting out 30 points on either side of the city - 15 along the northside's Royal Canal and 15 along the southside's Grand Canal.  The waterways were traditionally regarded as the city limits around Joyce's time.

Mr McCann, from Shankill but now living in Smithfield, then developed his algorithm to try and find a path between a point on the northside and a point on the southside while avoiding pubs marked on the online map website OpenStreetMap.

This week when he put the riddle-busting route on his blog a number of people got in contact pointing out bars which were not included on the map.  He corrected the route a few times since and is confident now that he has the conundrum conquered.

Mr McCann began trying to crack the teaser last year but when he could not get it finished for Bloomsday, he put it on the backburner until this year's event.  He reckons he has spent weeks working on it over the last 12 months.

Ironically, one of the key sections of his route is along the length of the Guinness St James' Gate brewery, but he points out it doesn't pass the tourist pubs inside.

The computer programmer readily accepts doubts will remain and arguments will continue to rage, as to be expected with the apparent resolution of a brain-twister that has baffled brains since the publication of Ulysses in 1922.

Particularly likely to come under attack from pedantic Joyce fans is his decision to ignore hotels and restaurants which serve drinks and may even have their own bar inside.

'It is a contentious issue, he admits. But they are not pubs. There's also the issue of whether any pubs are missing from the map.

'If anyone finds any pubs that are not there they can add them to the street map and we can see if we can continue to get around Dublin without passing a pub - or maybe there will be a deal-breaker, and we may find it is impossible.

'But I think it is looking good.'

Others have long since claimed the answer to the riddle was simple: You can cross Dublin not passing any pub by simply going into them.


Rosso Solini, the Italian for "red sole", was invented by Tara Haughton, 16, from Kilcullen, Co Kildare.

The student, who is managing director of the company, won a Student Enterprise Award earlier this year.

Tara’s "secret soles" retail at €15 and promise to transform any high heel shoe into a designer look.

"The product has been a massive hit in America particularly since it was picked up by Perez Hilton on his blog. We are also about to do a big deal with China," she said.

Tara’s father Chris, who lost his job two years ago, now works full time for his daughter.


Dublin, along with Bilbao in Spain and Cape Town in South Africa, was selected from an original entry of 56 cities. The winner will be announced this Autumn.

The four Dublin authorities have combined to work on the bid entitled 'Pivot Dublin, Turn Design Inside Out', which showcases designers in a number of different disciplines including fashion, architecture, graphic design and film.

Dublin City Council Manager John Tierney said successful designation could provide job opportunities and added 'cities that value and apply design in the way they think, plan and act are more humane, attractive and competitive cities and that is how we want to position Dublin'.

Helsinki will be the next World Design Capital in 2012 in a competition run by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design.

Turin, which held the title in 2008, is said to have received more visitors that year than it did when it hosted the 2008 Winter Olympics.







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Rory McIlroy has won the US Open by eight shots, becoming the championship's youngest winner since 1923. The 22-year-old from Holywood in Co Down led the field after every round. He carded a two-under-par 69 for a 16-under-par total to triumph by eight strokes over Jason Day of Australia at the Congressional Country Club in Maryland.

'It's great to get this first major in the bag ... especially after what's happened the last couple of months,' said McIlroy, who banished memories of his Masters meltdown in April. Going into the final round at Augusta National, he held a four-shot lead but tumbled out of contention with an ugly 80.

Triple major champion Padraig Harrington said McIlroy had set himself apart in potential. 'There might be people capable of winning a major, but there are not too many people capable of dominating and running away from the field in a major,' he said. Last year's US Open champion Graeme McDowell described his fellow Northern Irishman as the best player he had ever seen.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny described McIlroy's victory as both emphatic and inspiring, saying it ranks among one of the great achievements in any sport. Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar said McIlroy's performance confirmed the arrival of a new sporting hero. Minister of State for Sport Michael Ring said it was very encouraging to see such a young sportsman doing so well, so early in his career.

McIlroy's final-round 69 gave him a 268 total that shattered the previous US Open record co-owned by Tiger Woods by four strokes. Being 16-under for the championship was also four shots better than the old record set by Woods in 2000 at Pebble Beach.



A Mullingar man has won the first ever Deca Ironman event in Hampshire, England. 

Gerry Duffy (43) was one of 20 competitors who took place in the event, which involved completing a 2.5 mile swim, 116 mile cycle ride and running a full marathon, every day for 10 days. Duffy won with an accumulated lead of 19 hours over his nearest challenger. Only three participants managed to finish the race and Duffy said today that his only objective on starting was to get to the end. 

Last year, Duffy, a personal trainer, and his friend Ken Whitelaw, ran 32 marathons in 32 days around Ireland and raised €500,000 for Irish Autism Action and the Irish Cancer Society. He began running after looking at a picture of himself with his hero the late Seve Balesteros. He was four stone overweight and he was a heavy smoker in 1995 when he began running to lose weight.
His book He Who Dares, Runs, published by Ballpoint Press is in bookshops now, with all proceeds going to autism charities. 



If you are interested in becoming a Host Family for the Wider Horizons Program in 2011, please contact Robert Tierney at or phone (412) 394-3900.





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Our Mission:





Help the Institute:


June 18 – June 29

Seamus Kennedy ’s ‘Scotland & Ireland Adventure’ – RT Air from Newark / Edinburgh / Dublin / Newark, Breakfast Daily, 8 Dinners, 10 nights 1st class hotels, fully escorted via deluxe Motorcoach & Irish Driver Guide, Ferry from Scotland to Ireland, Admissions, Porterage one suitcase pp, Entertainment with Seamus Kennedy , plus more.  Reservations: Isle Inn Tours 1-800-237-9376 x 18, Email:  Reference Seamus Kennedy /


Saturday, June 18

AOH St. Patrick Division 4 & LAOH St. Bridget Division 4 host their 'Irish Day of Music' at the CroatianCenter (Schitizen Park) on Schitizen Park Rd in Millvale.  Starts at noon.  


July 10-15

Balmoral School of Piping & Drumming at Shady Side Academy , Fox Chapel.  Information George Balderose 412.323.2707


July 11-24

The Galway Arts Festival in Galway , Ireland .  If you need anymore information you can email us on or call 091 509700


July 22-24

29th Annual Cleveland Cultural Festival at Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, – Entertainment with Cherish the Ladies, Tommy Fleming, New Barleycorn, Dermot Henry, Dennis Doyle, Brigid’s Cross, The Kilroys, Michael Crawley, Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul, Patrick O’Sullivan, Girsa, Seven Nations, Screaming Orphans, Slide, The High Kings, Guaranteed Irish, Scythian, Dublin City Ramblers, Boston Comhaltas, and more. Details TBA. 1.800.485.8013 Email:


September 9-11

21st Annual Pittsburgh Irish Festival
Riverplex at Sandcastle
call/text 412-422-1113


Fri 4pm-12 mid, Sat 11am-12 mid, Sun 9am-6pm
Adult - $12 at the door/$10advance
Child - 12 and under free
Senior/Student - $8 with ID
Friday 4pm-6pm $3 admission!

2011 Entertainment Line-up
Gaelic Storm
Makem and Spain Brothers
Screaming Orphans
Carbon Leaf
Tom Sweeney
David Kincaid
Colin Grant Band
Dennis Doyle 
Cahal Dunne
Alan Irvine
Bell School of Irish Dance
Burke-Conroy School of Irish Dance
Corned Beef and Curry
Guaranteed Irish
Mark Guiser
Matthew Craig and Kerry Tipper
Mike Gallagher
Patrick Regan
Pittsburgh Irish Reelers
Pittsburgh Police Pipes and Drums
Red Hand Paddy
Shovlin Academy of Irish Dance
Terry Griffith
and more to be announced!!

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 Gaelic Athletic Association (PGAA)

- a representative organization of the Pittsburgh Celtics, Pittsburgh Banshees, and Pittsburgh Celtics Youth



Pittsburgh Hurling Club (PHC)

-a representative organization of the Pittsburgh Pucas

Open Practices: Tuesdays @ 5:30pm, Frick Park



Pittsburgh Irish Rowing Club (PIRC)




Become a regular at these local programs!

 The Echoes of Erin is marking its 22nd year!  It airs every Sunday afternoon at 12:30-2:00p.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, come for Irish Night: Guinness, Smithwick's, and Half and Half specials 8-12 p.m.  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


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 -

Michael Murphy & TSRB

Na Gaels  -

Jack Puskar  -  

Red Hand Paddy  -

Rolling Scones  -

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.

The Ireland Institute relies on its donor and volunteer network to continue its mission of mutual reconciliation and economic development. Your generosity is kindly appreciated.


The Ireland Institute is available to accept donations through the United Way. Please remember our code for the United Way Campaign of Southwestern Pennsylvania: 4534. We are also listed as a non-Profit under the Combined Federal Campaign. Our number is: 12438. A third option is to donate through the local Federal campaign. This number is: 9016.


If you prefer, a tax-deductible donation can also be made directly to the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh. The Ireland Institute also appreciates in-kind donations such as event tickets etc. that we can then distribute to our participants.


For further information or questions about how you can donate, please contact us at 412-394-3900.


All articles are adapted from, the Irish Emigrant, the Belfast Telegraph, the Irish Examiner, BBC, and other news sources.