Irish American Heritage Month: The Irish Whales

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DID YOU KNOW that the first Gold Medal winner in modern Olympic history was the son of Irish immigrant parents and that Irish athletes dominated Olympic track and field events for the U.S. for the first two decades of the 20th century? The first to win was James Connolly and he was born on October 28, 1868 in the impoverished section of south Boston. He grew up with a love of sports and when an International Olympic Committee resurrected the ancient Olympic Games to be held in Athens in April, … [Read more...]

Irish American Heritage Month: The Fighting Sullivan Brothers

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DID YOU KNOW that in the annals of America's heroes, there is scarcely a brighter entry than that of the fighting Sullivan brothers?  Born in Waterloo, Iowa to Railroad conductor Tom Sullivan and his wife Alleta, George, Francis, Albert, Joseph, and Madison grew up the best of friends in the closeness of an Irish family and matured into patriotic Americans. It was no surprise therefore, that when Pearl Harbor was attacked, the Sullivan brothers headed straight for the nearest U.S. Navy … [Read more...]

Irish American Heritage Month: John Philip Holland, Inventor of the Modern Submarine

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DID YOU KNOW that an Irishman invented the first successful submarine? His name was John Philip Holland and he was born in Liscannor, Co. Clare, Ireland, on February 24, 1841. He experienced the Irish potato failure suffering poor eyesight as a result. His father was a member of the Coast Guards and young John inherited a love of the sea. Although his poor eyesight prevented him from following in his father’s footsteps, he developed an interest in ship design. John attended the Christian … [Read more...]

Irish American Heritage Month: Ther Angel of Andersonville

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DID YOU KNOW that an Irish Catholic Priest Rev. Thomas O’Reilly threatened General Sherman with a mutiny by the Irish Catholics in his army if he torched the church district of Atlanta at the start of his infamous march to the sea and that General Sherman backed down and the entire church district was saved, including the City Hall which stood therein? However, Rev. Peter Whelan was just as courageous in another way. Rev. Whelan distinguished himself as a chaplain for the Montgomery Guards, an … [Read more...]

Mary MacSwiney

Mary MacSwiney

On March 27, 1872, Mary MacSwiney (Maire Nic Shuibhne) was born in Surrey, England, of an Irish father and an English mother. She grew up in Cork beset by illness which culminated with the loss of an infected foot. Educated as a teacher, by 1900 she was teaching in a convent school. Her mother's death in 1904 led to her return to Cork to head the household and secure a teaching post back at St Angela's. The MacSwiney household was intensely separatist. They read Arthur Griffith newspaper, … [Read more...]

Irish American Heritage Month: The Most Dangerous Woman in America

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Did You Know that a 72-year-old Irish woman, beloved by millions, was once called the most dangerous woman in America? Her name was Mary Harris Jones and this feisty little Irish lady was also called the Mother of All Agitators. Born in Cork City, Ireland on 1 May 1837, her family fled the Great Hunger to Canada where she trained as a teacher and dressmaker. In 1861, she married George Jones, an iron molder and union organizer in Memphis, Tennessee. They had four children, but she lost all four … [Read more...]

Irish American Heritage Month: The Irish Contribution to America’s Independance

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DID YOU KNOW that when America was born, the Irish were there? The Irish, both Protestant and Catholic, were a major part of Washington’s volunteers from foot soldiers to high ranking officers. When increased Crown exploitation drove the colonists to protest, among the loudest were the Irish who had no great love for the Crown to begin with. And there were many Irish in America’s colonies. Among them were those who fought the English theft of their Irish lands and ended up hunted men; they were … [Read more...]

ONE WAR ENDS – ANOTHER BEGINS

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  The end of WWI on 11 November, 1918 was followed by a general election in December. Ireland at the time was still suffering from post-1916 animosity and restrictions by the British government. The death of one of the many interned Volunteers, Richard Coleman, on 9 December was alleged by Sinn Féin to be indicative of the mistreatment of prisoners. Coleman’s funeral procession through Dublin bought that Republican party valuable support in the coming election. Of the 105 Parliamentary … [Read more...]

AMERICA’S FIRST CHRISTMAS CARDS

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In 1982, archeologist Dr. Robert Pyle investigated a petroglyph, or rock carving, in Wyoming County, West Virginia. Many such carvings exist whose origins are shrouded in mystery, but Pyle thought this one unique for the carving looked like early runic writing.  He lychen-dated it as having been carved between 500 and 700 AD.  He recorded every detail of the carving in 18 separate visits, and gave the story to a local newspaper.  A reader clipped the article and sent it to the West Virginia … [Read more...]

CHRISTMAS IN IRELAND

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The Christmas season in Ireland is a happy combination of modern and ancient customs that combine to bring a unique meaning to this special time of year.  While Christmas shopping, decorated trees, and Santa Claus are evident everywhere, traditional customs that signify the true meaning of this holy season still remain in small towns and villages where some people still celebrate the holy feast as their ancestors had for generations. On Christmas Eve, the windows are decorated with garlands … [Read more...]