Oireactas Rinci Na Cruinne (World Irish Dancing Championships)

Boston’s connection to the Emerald Isle became much stronger after last month’s World Irish Dancing Championships came for eight days, wrapping up March 31. This is only the second time in the prestigious international competition’s more than 40-year history that it has been held outside Ireland or Scotland. Follow the link for a slide show of the week. For dance fans, the opportunity to see some of the finest Irish dancers in the world was a rare treat. The event is sponsored by the Irish Dancing Commission (An Coimisiún le Rinci Gaelacha), the World Irish Dancing Championships are the Olympics of the art form, often launching young performers into careers with popular touring shows like “Riverdance” and “Lord of the Dance.” This year’s competition was expected to host more than 5,000 competitors from around the world. But if you were not lucky enough to attend and still wish you had a front row view of the world of Irish dancing are you in for a treat! In 2010 the story of the fortieth Irish Dancing World Championships, held in Glasgow was captured and released as a feature length film. Filmmaker “Sue Bourne went behind the normally closed doors of Irish Dancing and found a remarkable world. Wonderful characters of all ages from across the globe….Ireland, Holland, Britain, America and Russia”. The film is available on DVD or you can watch Jig here on The Guardian’s website. Like this:Like...

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This Day in Irish History-April

April 1986-April-01 – US sub Nathaniel Green runs aground in Irish Sea 456-April-5  St. Patrick returns to Ireland as a missionary bishop. 1886 -April-08 William Ewart Gladstone introduces the first Irish Home Rule Bill into the British House of Commons. 1912-April-09 – Titanic leaves Queenstown Ireland for NY 1974-April-15 – 78th Boston Marathon won by Neil Cusack of Ireland in 2:13:39 1949-April-18 – Republic of Ireland withdraws from British Commonwealth 1014-April-23-King Brian Boru of Ireland beats Danes at Battle of Clontarf 1916-April-29-Easter Rising: The Surrender and Eye-Witness Accounts at Today in Irish History 1994-April-30– Riverdance Premieres Thanks to Conor Cunneen  and  Irish History Today  Like this:Like...

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Census of Ireland 1901 & 1911

Census of Ireland 1901 & 1911

One of the first documents for locating ancestors is to search the census records. The US census has been collected every 10 years since 1790. The information varies with the most recently released census being the 1940 census. Census records provide a treasure trove of information such as year of immigration, year of naturalization and country of parents birth among other things. Searching the census documents in Ireland are not as easy. Early census reports were taken in Ireland starting in 1813 and every 10 years after. But for several reasons they were destroyed either by the government or in armed conflict in the early twentieth century. You may be lucky enough to find some your relatives in the fragments of one of the four 1821-1951census records that were recovered after explosion in the Public Records Offices during the Civil War of 1922. Full census records do exist in the National Archives for 1901 & 1911 and are published on-line. http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/ Once the townland of the ancestor is known, a great deal more information can be found from the 1901 & 1911 census. For more information about tracing your family history in Ireland check out this free website Irish Genealogy Toolkit. http://www.irish-genealogy-toolkit.com/index.html Like this:Like...

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Thomas Francis Meagher

Thomas Francis Meagher, the man that JFK credits with paving his way to the White House, is the subject of a new documentary soon to be screened on both sides of the Atlantic. Sentenced to death for high treason, he was transported to Tasmania, escaped to become a US celebrity, fought Indians in the Wild West and led a brigade of renowned ‘shock’ troops in the American civil war before, some believe, being murdered by his enemies. Rebel Thomas Francis Meagher, the man who created the Irish national flag, lived a high-octane life. Following his dramatic escape from Tasmania, the twice-married Waterford adventurer qualified as a lawyer in New York, established a newspaper and was promoted to the rank of brigadier general in the Union army, where he earned a reputation as the inspirational leader of its most famous unit. He eventually became acting governor of the then-frontier state of Montana, before mysteriously falling overboard from a steamer on the Missouri river and drowning at the age of 44. Now, nearly 150 years after his death, this enormously colourful patriot is to be the central figure in a two-part television documentary by Dublin-based film company Tile Films, which will be broadcast in Ireland and the US this month. The Irish Independent – http://goo.gl/y2E94 Like this:Like...

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A Second Cousin Twice Removed!

A Second Cousin Twice Removed!

Family Research in Ireland I wanted to share an anecdote or two about my obsession with genealogy that has fed my passion for Ireland and all things Irish. I have made many discoveries and connections with people while doing genealogy including finding my Great Grandmother Honora Agnes Hughes’ ancestral home in Ballinamore Bridge, Co. Galway.  My grandmother’s cousin owns the farm, which I think makes him my second cousin twice removed.  In 2006, my mother gave me a copy of a last will and testament listing the farm’s owners. It showed that along with the USA family that the cousins in Ireland received a sizeable share of our great aunt’s estate. The Lost Art of the Written Letter Pays Off! With that information in hand, I went to the Eirecom , Ireland’s phone book on-line and googled the name in Ballinamore Bridge and 3 families showed up.  They all received a letter from me and to my great amazement and delight; I received a response from all three.  One of the families was not a relative, but personally knew my cousins (twice removed) and turned over the letter to my Irish kith & kin! That began a correspondence that has continued now for more than six years. Mother and I have made two visits and each time we have been treated as foreign dignitaries!  We are in continuous correspondence with four families and all are happy to have been reunited. Nevertheless, the story does not end there… As I continued my research, I have developed a peculiar and tenacious sense of inquiry for the dead and for living strangers.  Consequently, I have contacted many people out of the blue to inform them of our common lineage.  Each one of them has been quite gracious, kind, and accommodating in my quest to (figuratively) unearth all of my ancestors. Follow Your Instincts; you just may be surprised! One such story involves a great uncle of my dad’s who passed away in Florida in the late 90’s. No one knew anything about him.   I had a hunch he was our family but needed the documentation to prove it. I presented myself at the Health Department, vital statistics window in FL while there on a business trip, and pulled his death certificate. From that, I found his son who lived in Virginia.  I googled the name and there was all of his contact information including his work email. He got a very long and detailed email that began with “please read this before you hit delete”.  After he read my dissertation, he consulted with his wife and sister who told him I was likely a nut and he should hit delete at once!...

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Ireland Reaching Out

Ireland Reaching Out

If you are interested in finding your Irish Roots there just may be someone looking to find their long lost ancestors!  Ireland Reaching Out is just such a place that hopes to link the ancestors of those who left Ireland to the communities and Parishes of origin and hopefully reunite long lost cousins! The Ireland Reaching Out (IrelandXO) programme is based on a simple idea; instead of waiting for people of Irish descent to trace their roots, we go the other way. Working through voluntary effort at a townland, village and parish level in Ireland, we identify who left those areas, and trace them and their descendants worldwide. IrelandXO offers a free service and it is a not for profit organisation. Besides proactively tracing people of Irish heritage around the world, if you have Irish ancestry, and are thinking of coming to Ireland, we make sure, as far as we can, that someone local is here to meet you when you arrive – someone who can show you around the place where your people came from, the house your people were born in, the land they once farmed, and where possible, introduce you to living relatives today. Like this:Like...

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Author Roddy Doyle

Author Roddy Doyle

Anyone who is really captivated with Irish literature will have read some of Roddy Doyle’s works if not all of them. His first series,The Barrytown Trilogy have all been made into full length films. They are all focused around a working class family in Dublin. I have had the pleasure of just finishing the Henry Smart trilogy formally know as “The Last Roundup”. They are fantastic books of historical fiction set around the main character Henry Smart Jr. Each book tells the story of a specific period in Henry Smart’s life as it intersects with the historical events of Ireland. From the Easter Rebellion of 1916 as a freedom fighter, through the guerrilla warfare that helped form the Republic of Ireland. In the second book Oh Play that Thing, Smart finds himself in America and falls right back into survival mode as many Irish Immigrants found themselves in New York City. He clashes with mobsters, ends up in Chicago, manages a young Louie Armstrong and again finds himself caught up in violence and power struggles. The final book Dead Republic, Henry is drawn back to Ireland by director John Ford to make a film of his life story. When the film turns into a more sentimental portrayal of Ireland, Smart and Ford part ways. For some time Henry lives a quite life in suburban Dublin working as caretaker in a boys school. But after a bomb blast in Dublin, Smart is again thrust into the world of the IRA and finally the peace process in Northern Ireland. Mr. Doyle’s characters deal with the less than charming aspects of Ireland and Irish society without all the usual romantic stereotypes. His use of humor, his ability to wrap historical events and figures around the characters of his stories makes this trilogy brilliant and believable . They are not easy reads but each one is original. The Last Round Up Trilogy is thought provoking and nothing short of a masterpiece! Roddy Doyle’s latest work is Two Pints a collection of short stories. Here’s a look at what the author has to say about Two Pints. To see all of Doyle’s works, and what else this prolific writer is up to check out his personal website. http://www.roddydoyle.ie/ Like this:Like...

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