Sunday, June 29, 2008

Ireland Homecoming - # 2 St Patrick's Day 2008 - Foxford

I left off my Ireland Homecoming story a while ago with the following paragraph.
We arrive on top of the hill after a fifteen minute drive. The door opens and I see my 94 year old Aunt Maggie. It's a very emotional reunion. She's crying, my niece is crying and I'm crying and we are hugging each other and all talking at the same time about the miracle that brought us back together........To be continued.........

Here is the 2nd chapter.....

It's two day later and I have made the acquaintance of just a few of my relatives and they have planned the main reunion at the Mayfly Hotel Restaurant in Foxford. It's St. Patrick's Day about 7 pm and I enter to see the large banner hanging welcoming us back to Ireland. My Cousin Tony made the banner to welcome us back home. The last time my mother was in Ireland was 1932 and here we were in Ireland for the first time making the trip my mother always wanted to make. We were carrying out her dream of going home and seeing her sister and family. It was an overwhelming moment.

To be continued.....

Slowly relatives began to trickle in and introductions were made and we tried to make connections, fill in the missing links and become acquainted with our family. Relatives were there from Ireland, England, Hungary and America and others were there in spirit from Canada and Australia. After everyone arrived I started off with a little introduction to who we were and how the evening came about. I gave thanks to Aunt Maggie for here requests to Cousin Sharon to find the lost relatives in America. I gave thanks to Sharon's tireless spirit of tracking us and our cousins the Gavin's down. Sharon's dad Tony spoke and gave us the history, Sharon read a moving poem she wrote and had us all crying. She thanked my niece for her persistence if finding our other cousins the Gavin's in the U.S. Cousin Seamus spoke and also gave us some historical context of the Irish emigration and our families experience of it and presented flowers to Sharon for making this happen. My daughter Sofia played "Danny Boy" and "Amazing Grace" on her flute with some assistance from her cousin Georgi.

So after the speeches we ate, drank, the kids played and we talked and had a great craic. Aunt Maggie and Cousin Marie played all night with the seven kids.

One of the highlights of the evening was my Aunt Maggie singing many Irish songs for us. Her rendition of a "Mother's Love" had me crying and thinking about my mother.I never in my wildest imagination expected to find my family and be reunited. It was the greatest night of my life or as my Aunt Maggie would say, "It was Mighty". A truly miraculous St. Patrick's Day. What a welcome home. I'll forever be grateful to Aunt Maggie and Cousin Sharon and my Cousin Tony for making this happen. This night and this reunion was also the greatest gift I could ever give my daughter.

A Song For Ireland

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Irish Fair - Irvine CA June 22

I went to the Irish Fair today in Irvine, CA and enjoyed some good music from The Fenians, The American Wake , Sligo Rags, Brother, The Los Angeles Police Dept. Bagpipe Players and a host of other performers. It was a scorcher in Irvine but I enjoyed the traditional dancers, the food , the Irish culture and the great energy. I finished up the day listening to a great rendition of Danny Boy by the Fenians.

The Fenian's Danny Boy

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day - In Honor of My Dad

In 1928 he traveled from Cookstown, Northern Ireland to Ellis Island, New York City. It was a six week boat ride. He worked as a butcher in a meat plant "Plymouth Rock" in the South Bronx. He became a US citizen and in 1942 joined the US Army and left for the Philippines to serve in WW II. He married my mother weeks before leaving. He returned to the US in 1946 and went back to work in the meat plant. Ten years later he died of Pneumonia. I didn't get to know him well but I know this; he was brave enough to come to America to make a better life for himself, he was brave enough to choose to join the Army and serve, I know he was a hard working man and I know he gave me a better life.

So I honor him this Father's Day and remember him. Thanks Pops.......

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dublin - It's a Beautiful Day

I spent only 6 hours in Dublin in March but I fell in love with the city. I can't wait to spend more time there.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Road to Peace

McAleese honours the 'debt' owed to young bomb victims

the relationship between Ireland and Britain is now the best it has ever been, President Mary McAleese said yesterday during her visit to England.

The president was speaking at the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace, set up following the IRA bomb attack in Warrington in March 1993.

Tim Parry (12) and three-year-old Johnathan Ball were killed and 56 people were injured when two bombs were detonated in the Cheshire town's main shopping street.

At the centre, President McAleese held a private meeting with the foundation's founders, Tim's parents, Colin and Wendy Parry, who issued the invitation for her to see its work when they met former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern earlier this year.

She said: "The peace we now enjoy has been built at such an awful cost but built it has been, thanks to those who, despite terrible suffering, have always believed in the capacity of the human person to change, to open up to others they once despised, to make friends of strangers, to make good neighbours of old enemies.

"And, I think, that is the debt we owe to children like Johnathan and children like Tim.''

Mrs McAleese went on to Liverpool for an address to students at the Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King.

In her speech, 'The Road to Peace -- With a Little Help From Our Friends', the president said: "When the laurels are being rightly given to the major and well-known protagonists like Bertie Ahern as taoiseach and prime minister Blair for the success of the peace process, it is also important to acknowledge the wind at their backs.

"That came from the irrepressible hope of tens of thousands of everyday men, women and children who refused to accept sectarianism, who reached out across the chasms of fear and mistrust, who quite simply took risks for peace."

- Mike Hornby

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Gemma Hayes - Gaelic & English Songs

I came across this singer in Irish Abroad.... Worth listening to....

A Gem of a Singer

May 29, 2008
by Mike Farragher

She is an Irish sister-in-arms to Jewel and Dido, offering an enticing package of lilting poetry, catchy acoustic melodies and a come hither persona that comes at you loud and clear, despite her penchant for whispering throughout The Hollow of Morning.
With this much looks and talent on her side, Hayes is poised to make it big here. iTunes recently named Hollow of the Morning a “hot pick,” and she will be supporting her old pals Bell X1 as they make a run for New York audiences on June 4 at Irving Plaza. This will be a killer double bill, so get your tickets now!

For more information, visit

Gaelic - Night on My Side

English - Ran For Miles