The Common Ground

Vol. IX, Issue 3

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona Daoibh

March  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.

You can now find us on Facebook! Go to and search Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh, and ‘become a fan’ to find out the latest news about our visitors or upcoming events.








A Message from our President James J. Lamb


A sobering, although not surprising report came out of Ireland this month in relation to the role of religion, especially Catholicism, in Irish life today. Many there have given up on the Church as an institution. Of course there are two primary reasons for the rapid decline of the church in Ireland. The economic advancement of the nation from 1995 to 2005 brought unprecedented material gain to a generation, leading them to worship a Celtic Tiger and follow the teachings of bullish market analysts over church doctrine. And the recent discoveries of decades of abusive clergy and other religious on Ireland’s most disadvantaged, especially children, only facilitated the collective confidence of Irish citizens to say to the church, “We won’t be needing you anymore!”

The Catholic Church in Ireland is in trouble. Even with the influx of Eastern European and other devoutly Catholic immigrants, Ireland’s Catholic population dropped more than ten percent (from 95% to 87%) in less than fifty years. In that same time, those who defined themselves as having no religious affiliation grew from 1,000 to 186,000. The Church continues to lose members at an alarming rate. So if you were sent in, say, as a business consultant, how would you advise the Church to stop the bleeding and begin to rebuild its brand?

You might ask, has the Church taken a full inventory of its personnel? Are bishops now more vigilant against pedophile priests and other abusive employees of the church? Will Cardinal Brady assert himself as leader of the Church in Ireland, not only with his flock, but among his overseers in Rome? These are some of the immediate issues that must be addressed if the Catholic Church of Ireland intends to retain the faithful.

If it can stop the exodus, the church has to promote a more humble, Christ-like approach to its members and to the greater community. Every priest, in Ireland and elsewhere should be encouraged to live a transparent and open life, to serve others above himself, and to protect, not exploit the most vulnerable among us. Given the horrors of the past, this could take an entire generation or more in Ireland. But the Church has to rebuild some sense of trust and loyalty with the people of Ireland.

I recall, growing up in Beechview, the presence of priests out in the community, ministering not just on Sundays, but throughout the week. They allowed themselves to be human and to “dwell among us” on the street, at the park, out in the open. In more than two decades of travel to Ireland, I have only seen a few priests actually ministering outside the walls of a chapel. This needs to change. 

The Church also needs to encourage, not order people to take ownership of their faith. I believe, because the Church was so powerful and omnipotent in Ireland, congregations became dependent on the institution to plan, run, and evaluate every aspect of Irish life. That system has been rejected thoroughly. So the Irish laity, too, has to step up, as US Catholic laity has over several generations. Laymen and women and children have to be engaged to take leadership of THEIR parishes. Sometimes we forget that WE are the Church. 

With the recent economic downturn, I suspect many people in Ireland are looking for answers and help as they cope with unemployment, poverty, and other social ills that have returned. The current misfortunes of Ireland could empower the church to take a more active and positive role in Irish life, as long as it works to serve and not to be served. Instead of taking charge, could the Church simply be “proactively available” to counsel those with hardship? Could the church learn to influence community life instead of dictate it? Could the church offer to help the community deal with its burdens and solve its problems?

I have faith that the Catholic Church in Ireland will emerge a better institution if it reflects on its own problems and moves on in partnership with the people of Ireland and other great Irish institutions. 


Enjoy the rest of this issue,


References for today's letter:'fail'%20to%20prepare%20students%20for%20life%20or%20work



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

Things are off to a great start in 2011 with Jim Lamb's induction as Honorary Consul to Ireland, the "Glantek: Meet the Buyers" green business delegation from Ireland in Pittsburgh, and our second year hosting the Carbon Zero Northern Ireland internship program in partnership with Southwest College.  

Last month, a group of 11 business and education leaders from Northern Ireland visited Pittsburgh to meet with companies involved in green technology here.  Our Carbon Zero Interns also presented their work to the visitors.  In a few months, the first of 10 participants from the Carbon Zero pilot program will be returning with great experiences to bring to green companies in Northern Ireland.  We look forward to welcoming a new group of interns to Pittsburgh this year.  

Take a look at these two current news articles that feature Pittsburgh's ties with the Emerald Isle and the current financial crisis:

Pittsburgh Post Gazette - Irish Ties: Pittsburgh Region has a Strong Bond with the Emerald Isle 

Vanity Fair - When Irish Eyes Are Crying

Stay tuned for a year of exciting programs!









return to top

Dramatic Irish Election Changes Politics There Forever:
Collapse of Fianna Fail Creates New Political Landscape



Irish Election Summary:

Fianna Fail:  20 seats (-58 since previous election)

Fine Gael:    76 seats (+25)

Labour:        37 seats (+17)

Sinn Fein:    14 seats  (+10)

Socialists:      2 seats  (+2)

PBP:              2 seats (+2)

Others:        15 seats (+9)


Taoiseach (Prime Minister): Enda Kenny

Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister): Eamon Gilmore


Incoming Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has described the dramatic Irish election events as a “democratic revolution ... they didn’t take to the streets but they’ve wreaked vengeance on those who let them down.”

Kenny was speaking at a time when it seemed certain that the Fianna Fail party, which has been Ireland’s largest party since 1927, would eventually end up with 20 to 22 seats, down from 77 seats in the 2007 election. Because of the complicated Irish electoral system the complete picture will not be available until Sunday evening at the earliest.

The complete collapse of the Fianna Fail vote will be the main story of a tumultuous Irish election which redrew the face of Irish politics. Whether the party can ever find its way back to the pinnacle of Irish political life remains a huge question mark now.

Fine Gael, the party led by Kenny, was the biggest beneficiary and came in with 76 seats in the 166 seat Parliament.  The Labor Party also had a very successful election, especially in the Dublin area, and reached the 37 seat mark.  Sinn Fein also made spectacular progress and  ended up with 15 seats. Party leader Gerry Adams led the way with a poll topping performance in Co. Louth.  As widely expected,  Labor and Fine Gael have formed a coalition government. 

The Green Party, Fianna Fail’s coalition party, were completely wiped out, another sign of the anger against the incumbent government.  The other incredible landmark was the election of 12-15 independents as voters abandoned mainstream parties in droves.

Irish Political System

The Republic of Ireland is a parliamentary, representative democratic republic and a member state of the European Union. While the head of state is the popularly elected President of Ireland, this is a largely ceremonial position with real political power being vested in the indirectly elected Taoiseach (prime minister) who is the head of the government. The president is elected for a seven year term by Irish citizens resident in the state.  The legislature elections are held every five years. 

Executive power is exercised by the government which consists of no more than 15 cabinet ministers, inclusive of the Taoiseach and Tánaiste (deputy prime minister). Legislative power is vested in the Oireachtas, the bicameral national parliament, which consists of Dáil Éireann, Seanad Éireann and the President of Ireland. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The head of the judiciary is the Chief Justice who presides over the Supreme Court.

The Dáil Éireann (the house of representatives or lower house) has 166 members, elected for a term of up to five years by a quota-based single transferable vote system in multi-seat constituencies and the Seanad Éireann (the Senate or upper house) has 60 members, 11 members nominated by the Taoiseach, 6 members elected by graduates of two universities and 43 members elected from five Vocational Panels, all in short time after the parliamentary elections.

While there are a number of political parties in the state, the political landscape has been dominated for decades by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, historically opposed and competing entities, which both occupy the traditional center ground. From the 1930s until 2011 they were the largest and second largest parties respectively.

The electoral system provides for a form of proportional representation, with the consequence that coalition government has become the norm in recent decades.   Proportional representation (PR) voting systems are used by most of the world’s major democracies. Under PR, representatives are elected from multi-seat districts in proportion to the number of votes received. PR assures that political parties or candidates will have the percent of legislative seats that reflects their public support. A party or candidate need not come in first to win seats.

In contrast, in the United States we use “winner-take-all” single seat districts, where votes going to a losing candidate are wasted, even if that candidate garners 49.9% of the vote. This leaves significant blocs of voters unrepresented. Voters sense this, and often we do not vote for a candidate we like, but rather the one who realistically stands the best chance of winning—the “lesser of two evils.” Or, all too often, Americans don’t bother to vote at all.

Enda Kenny Sworn in as New 

Irish Prime Minister


It’s official – Enda Kenny is now the leader of Ireland and head of the new government with the biggest majority in the history of the state.

The Fine Gael leader was sworn in as Prime Minister by President Mary McAleese at her residence in Dublin’s Phoenix Park at lunchtime on Wednesday.

Kenny was confirmed as leader and the Labor Party’s Eamon Gilmore as his deputy when the 31st Dail, the Irish parliament, was convened at noon.

Gilmore will also take up the role of Minister for Foreign Affairs in the first non-Fianna Fail led government in 14 years.

Kenny is the 13th leader of the State and has promised an open and transparent government made up of 10 ministers from the conservative Fine Gael with five from the socialist Labor Party.

Fine Gael veteran Sean Barrett has also been confirmed as speaker of the house.

“This government will tell the people what is happening whether the news is good or bad,” promised Kenny as he entered the parliament building, Leinster House.

“There are too few jobs and too many talented people,” said Kenny as bus-loads of his fans arrived in Kildare Street from his native Mayo.

“I look forward to leading this new Government, I did not expect to have such a large majority,” added the new Prime Minister with Fine Gael and Labor holding 113 of the 166 seats between them.

Gerry Adams Secures Seat in Louth

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has secured his seat in Louth on the first count with more than 15,000 votes.  This was Mr. Adams' first bid for election success in the Republic. 

The declaration followed his dramatic decision to resign the West Belfast Westminster seat he first won in 1983, and to step down from the Assembly in the North, in order to enter southern Irish politics. 

Mr. Adams' strong poll showing came as his party was set to at least double its tally of five Dail seats. The Sinn Fein president, who was hoisted on to the shoulders of jubilant supporters, said his party was set to make significant gains in the election. 

"We went out in this election, we set out our stall very, very clearly," he said.  "I think the votes across the state show a significant amount of people support the position we have taken up."  He said he had sought only to win a seat and credited his election team with the poll-topping result. 

After criticism of his performance in debating economic issues, he dismissed claims that this might resurface in the Dail.  "I don't have any concerns at all about that," he said.  "The people who are challenging me on our economic position are the people who brought the economy to its knees."

Mr. Adams came under close scrutiny during his election campaign. Victims of IRA violence raised objections to his bid to enter the Dail.   But his party colleague and Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, who visited the Louth count center to help mark his leader's victory, said his decision to run for office in the South had been vindicated. 

"It is very heart-warming to be here and see that the people of Louth were able to see through all of that, all those who tried to undermine Gerry Adams' incredible contribution to peace in Ireland and to politics in Ireland," said Mr. McGuinness.  "To be in a position to be elected in the first count, to top the poll, is an incredible result."








return to toP

The Weird and Wonderful Place Names Around Ireland

Have you ever been to Muckanaghederdauhaulia?  Kilbrittan, County Cork?  To be sure, in terms of bizarre place names, Ireland can’t match its British neighbor across the water: It’s hard to compete with, say, Butt Hole Road, Crapstone, Ugley, East Breast, and Penistone.  But nevertheless, as this list shows, Ireland does at least have a few wacky place names that are guaranteed to raise a few chuckles.

1. Muckanaghederdauhaulia, Co. Galway - the longest place name in Ireland. It’s a small village in the Connemara Gaeltacht between Camus and Carraroe, in County Galway. In Irish, this is Muiceanach idir Dhá Sháile – which literally means “pig-shaped hill between two seas”. It is also thought to be the longest name for a port in the world. The second longest place name in Ireland is Newtownmountkennedy in County Wicklow, at 19 letters.

2. Newtwopothouse, Mallow, Co.Cork - this is a small village 6 km outside of the Mallow, the Cork town. It's famous for growing the best grass in Ireland.

3. Kilmuckridge, Co. Wexford - a small seaside town in Co. Wexford, just south of another rather morbidly named town, called Gorey.

4. Nobber, Co .Meath - derives from the Irish word “an obair," which means “the work.”

5. Hospital, Co. Limerick - acquired its name from the Knights Hospitaller, a Christian organization in the time of the Crusades. Ironically, the town doesn’t have any medical facilities.

6. Kilbrittain, Co. Cork - you would think that it might be political correct to change this name now that the conflict in Northern Ireland over, but the locals refuse to budge.

7. Kill, Co. Kildare - perhaps one of the more violently named place names in Ireland, along with Swords and Stoneybatter, both in Dublin.

Honorable mentions:  Trim, Co. Meath (which rather surprisingly has the highest rates of obesity in the country) Clones, Co. Monaghan; Tang, Co. Westmeath; Tempo, Co. Fermanagh; Inch, Co. Cork; Camp, Co. Kerry and Ovens, Co. Cork

Most unpronounceable: A tie between Graiguenamanagh and Kilmacanogue

Follow the Footsteps of St. Patrick Around Ireland 

It's almost March 17th – and another St. Patrick's Day! Although this happy day is celebrated all around the world, many people do not even know who Saint Patrick was or why we honor him. Believe me, it has nothing to do with green beer or corned beef and cabbage.

For starters, Patrick was a 5th century Christian missionary who did his greatest work in Ireland. As he sought to convert the pagan natives to Christianity, this roving cleric left his mark (and his name) on many places, such as Ardpatrick, Downpatrick, Croagh Patrick, Patrick’s Well, Patrickstown Hill, and a Patrick Street in every city, not to mention hundreds of churches and cathedrals. If there were travel agents in early Ireland, Patrick must have been a star customer.

It’s all quite remarkable, considering that he traversed the length and breadth of the land without benefit of the Internet, airplanes, trains, cars, buses, or even a few friendly pubs. No wonder the best itineraries of Ireland today still follow in Patrick’s footsteps. 

As he evangelized, Patrick seems to have sought scenic locales. His adventurous visits to County Meath are legendary, first ascending the Hill of Slane to light the paschal flame, and then climbing the Hill of Tara to convert the High King of Ireland, as thousands of local folk gathered in the surrounding valleys.

Plucking a shamrock from the ground to illustrate the doctrine of the Trinity, Patrick not only won over the king and the crowd, but he also gave that simple three-leaf clover eternal life as the universal symbol of Ireland and the Irish.

Patrick’s appearance at the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary further attests to his fondness for panoramic heights, while he seemed equally happy on the water as he paddled out to spend 40 days doing penance on an island in Lough Derg in County Donegal, a custom that is imitated to this day by visitors and locals seeking religious solitude.

Decidedly at home amidst the bustle of Ireland’s cities as well, Patrick is said to have preached widely in Dublin in 448 especially in the area where St. Patrick’s Cathedral stands today, beside a holy well said to have been used by Patrick to baptize. Two souvenirs from his travels – a small hand bell and an ancient reliquary – are on display at the National Museum.

Records show that Patrick favored Ireland’s west coast, particularly Galway and Mayo. Watching the sun go down on Galway Bay must have been a delight for Patrick, judging from the extent of his work in the county of Galway. Not only did he settle for a while at Moycullen, but he also built a church at Tuam. Nearby, in County Mayo, Patrick blazed a trail up atop a mountain overlooking Clew Bay near Westport. This site, now known as Croagh Patrick (Patrick’s Mountain), has become a primary place of pilgrimage for Christians. Each July thousands of participants climb “Patrick’s Path” to the summit of this beautiful quartzite ridge to pray.

As much as he loved the West, Patrick is most remembered for his travels around Ulster in Northern Ireland. It was at Armagh that he erected his principal church, giving the city a lasting prominence as the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland. This fact is graphically illustrated today by Armagh’s two St. Patrick’s Cathedrals, one Protestant and the other Catholic, standing on adjoining hills. St. Patrick’s Trian, a visitor center in the heart of the city, brings all the history to life via walk-through exhibits and high-tech audio-visuals.

To round off a Patrick-inspired tour, all roads lead to County Down. It was here – amid the rolling hills, winding seacoast, and legendary Mountains of Mourne – that Ireland’s patron saint started his ministry and later spent his declining days. At Downpatrick, the quiet marketing town named in his honor, the cathedral churchyard reveals the journey’s end for the tireless traveler. 

Wedged among the elaborate graves, high crosses, effigies, and monuments, stands a lone granite boulder – etched simply with a cross and the name "Patric" in Irish-language lettering. Follow the pathway down from the churchyard to the St. Patrick Centre, a contemporary gathering place that presents an in-depth review of Patrick’s life and legends.

So, next time you travel to Ireland, do walk in the footsteps of St. Patrick – and you will surely have a trip worth celebrating for many St. Patrick’s Days to come.

Waterford Event Marks Raising of Tricolour

More than 1,000 people have attended an event in Waterford to commemorate the first time the Tricolour was flown in Ireland.

1 of 1 Tricolour - Unveiled on the Mall in Waterford city in 1848 More than 1,000 people have attended an event in Waterford to commemorate the first time the Tricolour was flown in Ireland.  It is the first official commemoration of the day Irish patriot Thomas Francis Meagher raised what would later become the national flag. 

Today's celebration marks the conception and unveiling of the flag in 1848 on the Mall in Waterford city.  It was also the largest display and gathering of Irish naval personnel in Waterford city since 1981.

The event was attended by four representatives of the New York 69th Infantry Regiment of the US Army, also known as the Irish Brigade.  Meagher was a founder and leading member of the Brigade during the US Civil War in the 1860s.  The event was also attended by Canadian ambassador Loyola Hearn and French representatives, as Meagher conceived the idea of the Irish tricolour from the French one.

Meagher was born in Waterford and became one of the leaders of the Young Irelanders in 1848.  He was exiled to Van Diemen's Land, now Tasmania, for his part in the failed 1848 uprising.  He later escaped and made his way to the US and helped set up the Irish 69th Brigade in the US Army. After the Civil War, he was appointed Governor of Montana.

Roddy Doyle Short Story

Celebrated Irish Author, Roddy Doyle, has written a short story that is available to download online.   The Commitments and the Snapper are two of his best known books. Click here to download.

Cúpla Focal as Gaeilge for Lá Fhéile Pádraig (St. Patrick’s Day)

Naomh Pádraig - St. Patrick 
Seamróg - Shamrock
Cruit - Harp
Leipreachán - Leprechaun
Ór - Gold
Éreannach - Irish Person
Beoir Glas - Green Beer
Ar meisce - Drunk
Poit - Hangover
Ceiliuradh domhanda - world wide celebration

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona Duit/Daoibh! (Happy St.Patrick's Day to You sig/pl)

Tabhair póg dom, is Éireannach mé! (Kiss me, I'm Irish!)

An bhfuil tú ag iarraidh mo Lucky Charms? (Are you after my lucky charms?)

Blasann gach rud níos fearr le dath glas air! (Everything tastes better with a little green dye!)

Is Éireannach gach éinne ar Lá Fhéile Pádraig! (Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day!)

Is é leigheas na poit na ól arís! (The cure for a hangover is to drink again!)

Is mise fíor-thiarna an damhsa. (I'm the REAL Lord of the Dance.)

Babhta eile, mar sin? (Another round, then?)

Bain Sult as an Lá!

Getting an Irish Passport - a St. Patrick’s Day Guide
There is Never a Better Time to Own That Precious Document

An Irish passport is one of the most sought-after travel documents in the world.  It's kitschy but true; being Irish is seen as being more, well, likeable or something.

The easiest way to get an Irish passport of course is to be born in Ireland.  But, if you drew the short straw on that one, you're going to need an Irish parent or an Irish grandparent.  If you have an Irish great-grandparent you need to satisfy the following requirements;

There are two circumstances under which a great-grandchild is eligible to apply for Irish citizenship by descent:

If the parent (the grandchild of the Irish born person) registered before the great-grandchild was born; or  If the parent (the grandchild of the Irish born person) registered before the 30th June 1986 and the great-grandchild was born after 17 July 1956.

The Irish Consulate in New York explained that the parent would need to be registered in the "Foreign Birth Register" which is held at the Consulate, effectively a listing of those of Irish citizens born abroad who are entitled to Irish citizenship who have their births "registered."

Meanwhile, Ireland’s Prime Minister Brian Cowen has indicated that he would favor relaxing naturalization laws and allowing Americans whose nearest Irish relative is a great-grandparent to claim citizenship, provided they have spent some time either working or studying in Ireland. So watch this space.

A practical use of an Irish passport is that you will be entitled to work and travel freely in any of the 27 countries in the European Union.  You won’t need a work permit for this – and once you have worked in a European Union county for a certain length of time, you will be entitled to unemployment compensation, health care and pension rights.

How else then can you get an Irish passport? Getting a passport is really the easy part – it’s getting Irish citizenship that takes a little time.

To get an Irish passport, you must first become an Irish citizen. Fortunately, Americans can hold dual citizenship, as can Irish, so there’s no conflict there.  Let’s look at the scenarios that allow you to claim Irish citizenship. 

 Anyone born in Ireland before January 1, 2005 is an Irish citizen. After that date, it is not automatic, and the citizenship and residency history of both parents is taken into account.

You are also entitled to Irish citizenship if you are married to an Irish citizen.  To claim citizenship by marriage, you must meet the following conditions: you must be married to an Irish citizen for at least three years; you must have had one year of "continuous residence" on the island of Ireland immediately before the date of your application; and finally, you must have been living on the island of Ireland for at least two of the four years before that year of continuous residence.  If you were born outside of Ireland and either your mother or father (or both) was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, then you are entitled to Irish citizenship.

If you have been a permanent resident in Ireland, you can try to become a citizen through naturalization. You will need to have lived permanently in Ireland for the previous five years, be over 18 and not have a criminal record.

But let’s face it – living in Ireland for five years is a lot of effort just to get that Irish passport. A much better way to get an Irish passport is to have at least one Irish grandparent. And by Irish, we mean an Irish grandparent who was or is an Irish citizen.

After getting an Irish grandparent, the next thing to do is to call an Irish consulate and ask them to send you an application form. There are Irish consulates in most of the major US cities. They should also be able to advise you on getting the right documentation in order for your application.

You’ll need a copy of your grandparent’s birth certificate from Ireland. If you don’t have a copy you can get one from the General Registry Office in Dublin. 

You will also need: Your grandparent's certificate of marriage; your parents' birth and marriage certificates; and an original death certificate for any of these relatives who have passed away. If the grandparent is deceased, you’ll need to show a certified copy of their death certificate, and if alive, a current official I.D. (such as a driver’s license or passport.)

To access the Irish documents, it will help you to know as much information about where and when your Irish grandparent was born, which may involve some genealogy research.

If one of your parents is Irish, and you would like to get an Irish passport, the process is easier. You need: their marriage certificate; a current official I.D; a copy of their death certificate if your Irish parent has passed away, a full long-form birth certificate of your Irish parent, showing your grandparents’ names, places of birth and ages at birth.

You will also need: your own long-form birth certificate; documentation to show that you have changed your name, such as a marriage certificate, if this has happened; a notarized copy of your current passport, and at least three other notarized copies of proofs of identity, one of which must be a photo I.D; a bank/utility statement with your current address; and two signed passport photos.

Once you have established your Irish citizenship – which can take up to 18 months to process – you can apply for an Irish passport. This can take up to six weeks to process and you can do this through your nearest Irish consulate.

And then, you too can sashay through the EU passport section at Dublin airport after the overnight flight from New York!






return to top




The final round of games is on this weekend with the following schedule:


Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Scotland v Italy                 14:30

Ireland v England              17:00

France v Wales                19:45



Unfortunately, Ireland's loss to Wales last weekend means they will not be able to win the Triple Crown or even win the tournament.  England or Wales look the most likely countries to take home honors. Scotland or Italy look likely to “win” the Wooden Spoon – the award for worst team!


If Ireland loses the upcoming match against England, it will leave Ireland with one of the worst Ireland performances in the Six Nations in years and, considering that the Rugby World Cup is in only a few months that would be a disaster.



  Sense of Injustice Still Lingers for Ireland


Keith Earls has added his voice to the chorus of discontent led by Brian O'Driscoll by describing Ireland's 19-13 RBS 6 Nations defeat by Wales as 'sickening'.  Touch judge Peter Allan was the target of Irish fury after the Scottish official confirmed to referee Jonathan Kaplan that Mike Phillips's decisive 50th-minute try should stand.  On the contrary, the disputed score breached three laws, starting with Matthew Rees failing to use the same ball that was kicked into touch for the quick line-out.  Furthermore the ball picked up by Rees had been handled by a ball boy, before the series of violations was completed by the Wales hooker clearly stepping into play when throwing to Phillips.

Ireland protested furiously to Kaplan, who acted on the information supplied by Allan, and the sense of injustice lingered long after the final whistle.  'The try was controversial. It's bad to lose, but when you lose like that, it's sickening. It's heart-breaking,' said Earls, the Lions winger who impressed in Cardiff yesterday. 'The rules state you can't take a quick line-out with another ball. There were six points in the game and with the conversion, the try meant seven points, so it was a big factor in the result.  We talked about it at the time, asking what happened. When we found out, it was sickening.'

While coach Declan Kidney's response was typically restrained - 'We lost by six points, it was a seven-point decision, but look at what's happened in Japan. That's life isn't it,' he said - an incensed O'Driscoll refused to take a diplomatic line.  I didn't see it myself but when half your team is saying it you take their word for it,' said O'Driscoll, whose third-minute touch down saw him equal Ian Smith's championship try-scoring record of 24.  I tried to relate that to Jonathan Kaplan and the touch judge. They were having none of it and it's really frustrating for such an incident to have a huge bearing on the game.  I did mention it to him a few minutes later after I had seen it on the TV and I told him that it was a massive momentum swinger and that it had a huge bearing on the game, but he just shrugged that off.  If I was wrong I would personally be embarrassed, especially if you have the services there to cover all bases.  Games hang in the balance on decisions. Everyone is human and wrong calls are made sometimes, but some are unforgivable.'

The services O'Driscoll was referring to were those of the television match official, though in this instance protocol dictates Geoff Warren was powerless to help.  The video referee can only assist in questions concerning the act of scoring, whereas the unlawful line-out took place near the halfway line.  No retrospective action can be taken by the International Rugby Board, but the incident may prompt a rethink in the way the TMO is used.  Phillips' intervention, and Allan's lack of it, ensured the try dominated discussion of a low-quality encounter Ireland could have snatched at the death.

In the final play of the game, a one-man overlap on the left was ignored by substitute Paddy Wallace, who stepped inside instead of feeding Earls.  While Earls publicly supported his team-mate's decision, his exasperation was palpable.  'It was very frustrating that the ball didn't come to me. It was Paddy Wallace who took the step inside,' he said, 'Paddy is an experienced man. He made his decision and I have to back him up.  But I think that if the ball had come to me I'd have snuck in at the corner.  Paddy didn't think so and went for it, all you can do his back him up.'

The finger of blame also hovered over Kidney, whose decision to replace Ronan O'Gara with Jonathan Sexton in the 50th minute was highly questionable.  O'Gara, who surpassed the 1,000 Test points milestone in the game, was performing reasonably and to introduce a less experienced player in such a key position when the match was so finely balanced was a major call.  Surely as surprised as anyone by his unexpected introduction, Sexton's first act was to slice a kick straight into touch for the line-out that led to Phillips' try.

The Leinster half-back then missed the simplest of penalties, giving the substitution the appearance of a hospital pass from Kidney.  Who Kidney chooses to fill the number 10 jersey for their tournament finale against England next Saturday is anyone's guess, but the match has now taken on significance beyond the usual rivalry.  Defeat at the Aviva Stadium will see Ireland equal their worst Six Nations performance alongside 2008, the aftermath of which saw Eddie O'Sullivan removed as coach.

With only five games left until the World Cup to repair the damage done by a demoralizing championship, the England game is of paramount importance.  'People who say we have no chance against England have to think again,' said O'Driscoll, 'These people have obviously never seen an Ireland-England game and don't know what it means to the Irish public and the Irish team. There's plenty of rugby left in this side.



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.





return to top
















































































Our Mission:







Help the Institute:

March 17th

The Gaelic Arts Society presents Annual St. Patrick's Day Banquet at PAA in Oakland, 6:30pm


Paddy’s Pour House, 215 East Main Street, Carnegie, 412-279-0770 will celebrate.

Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle features 12 hours of Live Irish Music. (Inside) NOON Mark Guiser, 4pm Whiskey Limerick, 8pm Red Hand Paddy. (Outside) 4pm McClorey & Manning, 7:30pm Guaranteed Irish

Mike Gallagher at Easy Street, downtown from 4:30 PM till ??

Terry Griffith at Rivers Casino, 6:00 PM


April 2nd

Tartan Day Celebration at Obaman Int'l Academy/Schenley Pittsburgh/(Old Reisenstein School) 129 Dennison Ave at the cross roads of Penn Ave & East Liberty Blvd in East Liberty.  Free Admission & Parking.  Vendors, Entertainment, Workshops, Food, plus more.  Email Carole Harland,


April 10

The Gaelic Arts Society presents An Irish Garden Lecture at the Dithridge House Party Room, 220 No. Dithridge St. Oakland, 2:30pm



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)













ecome 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.