Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas - Happy New Year

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and a Wish for Your Best Year Ever........

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Keep Striving for Peace in Northern Ireland

Here are a couple of links from Irish Central with information on the ongoing efforts to keep and build on the peace in Northern Ireland.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Rest in Peace - Cousin Pat

Today I attended the funeral services for my cousin Pat Gavin, he was brought back into my life a year and half ago by our cousin Sharon. She is in Germany and couldn't attend the services. These are the words she sent me to share with Pat's wife Judy and the family.

In just one moment our lives can change forever…

Ours did when Auntie Maggie in Ireland ask that we find her Sister’s families that had moved to America in the 1920’s…
In finding our Cousins we found more than just our family; we found a friendship and a kinship that has spanned the many miles between us.

And here we are in another ‘moment’; a bittersweet moment in that we are so very thankful for having known Pat, albeit for such a short time, but also so very sad that we didn’t get to share any more precious memories or indeed make many more…

Our International family in Ireland, England, Germany & Australia, joins you in mourning the passing of Pat.

We also join you in celebrating the life of Pat and would like you all to know that thanks to Pat’s generosity of spirit he will always be remembered as the cousin who held the key to our past! Pat opened up a whole new world to us in sharing precious family photo’s that none of us had previously seen; this will be his legacy to our International family…

Rest in Peace Pat.x

Cousin Sharon Burton

After Glow…

I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one…
I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done…
I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways, of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days…
I’d like the tears of those who grieve to dry before the sun, of happy memories that I leave now that my life is done…

Pat’s Aunt Maggie O’Donnell is having a mass said for Pat in Foxford, County Mayo this week

Pat’s Cousin Marie Quinn is having a mass said for Pat in Attymass, County Mayo in the same church where Pat’s Mother Mary (O'dDonnell) Gavin attended as a child.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Rest in Peace - Cousin Pat Gavin Goodbye My Friend and Cousin

Today I discovered my Cousin Pat Gavin passed away in his sleep after a long battle with cancer. I was seven years old when our families fell out and we lost contact with each other. Over a year ago we found each other and came back into each other's lives. I celebrated his 70th birthday and danced an Irish Jig with him and his brother and my other cousin Jim. We spent time with each other and he and his beautiful wife Judy welcomed my family into their family. The time was too short we spent together but I feel blessed to have been reunited with him. He was a great guy and great cousin. he will be missed and loved by all who knew him, family and friends.
Rest in Peace Cousin Pat and I hope your are in Heaven dancing up a mean Irish Jig.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Irish Movies - Stories From Home & Peacefire

Just saw the following films @ the Los Angeles Irish Film Festival last night. Gabriel Byrne was there for a Q&A. A interesting and fun night.

GABRIEL BYRNE: STORIES FROM HOME, Dir. Pat Collins. A revealing look at the life and creative impulse of Gabriel Byrne ("In Treatment"), one of the most respected actors of his generation. Using intimate interviews and extracts from his journals and diaries, this is an evocative and insightful film with universal appeal.

Plus "Atlantic," (Ireland, 2008, 4 min.) Dir. Conor Ferguson. A quietly gripping tale of a lonely farmer and the potentially life-changing letter on its way from the woman who loved and left him many years ago.

PEACEFIRE, Dir. Macdara Vallely. Colin (John Travers, SONG FOR A RAGGY BOY) is a joy-riding hood who couldn’t care less about the local political situation. But a chance encounter with a ruthless detective (Gerry Doherty) turns him into an informer for the so-called forces of law and order and a target for retribution for his father’s old mates in the Irish Republican Army. "...

Plus "Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty" (Ireland, 2008, 6 min.) Dir. Nicky Phelan. A seemingly sweet old lady loses the plot as she tells her version of Sleeping Beauty to her terrified granddaughter.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday's Irish Music - Ronan Tynan's Ireland

Thanks to Andrea Antoniazzi Devlin - Friends of Ireland group on Linkedin

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sept 11 2001 - Never Forget - 8 Years Ago

An Irish Tribute and rememberence of Irish and Irish American lost on 9/11 and support for America's loss

Irish-American Writer William Kennedy Life Time Achievement Award

Irish America Writer William Kennedy given life-time achievement award. Read the full story @ Irish Emigrant Online

I remember reading all his books when I was in college......

Monday, September 7, 2009

Irish Movie - "At Swim - Two - Birds"

Here is some information on what sounds like an interesting Irish film heading in to production. The writer is calling the Irish acting team the" Pat PacK'

Check it out on irish Central

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Irish Movie - "The Commitments"

I just watched "The Commitments" again. What a great movie. One of my favorites. Makes me miss Ireland. Hopefully on my next visit I'll be able to spend more time in Dublin.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Personal Ramblings - Happy Birthday from Foxford

Life is Great.

This morning we got a Skype call from Foxford Ireland.

My 95 year old Aunt Maggie and cousins from Ireland, UK and Germany sang Happy Birthday to my 12 year old daughter. Then my Aunt Maggie sang "A Mother's Love".

Two years ago I had no contact or knowledge of my relatives and now they are singing Happy Birthday to my daughter from a pub in Ireland. Life is truly amazing.

My 95 year old Aunt Maggie just had an eye operation that restored her sight so you could see us very well in the laptop.

My Irish cousins have never been on Skype, they live on a mountain top in Glanduff. And we were found and reconnected because of the Internet and the efforts of my cousin sharon

We feel totally blessed. It doesn't get better than this.

Thanks Cousin Sharon and Gary. Up the O'Donnell's

Friday, August 14, 2009

Personal Ramblings - My Heart Is in Glanduff

I wish I could be there again, on the mountain in Glanduff where my mother was born and where my Aunt Maggie and my cousins Marie and John and Seamus still live.

My cousin Sharon and her family and her dad my cousin Tony and his wife will be visiting this week with all the O"Donnell clan. Last year I was there twice with them for two amazing and miraculous visits.

I am with them in spirit on this one and send all my love.

So up the O'Donnell's and here's to Aunt Maggie and raise a toast of potcheen for me and have a safe and great trip.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday's Irish Music - 2009 # 1 - Enya

Thanks to Elaine A. DeJesus CPhT - Linkedin - Friends of ireland (FOI)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tribute - Immigrant Eyes

I just discovered this song and video by Girsa. It's a tribute to their immigrant grandfather who came to America from Ireland and arrived at Ellis Island. Very moving and it reminds me of my father Pat Duffy and mother Ann O'Donnell who arrived at Ellis Island in 1928 from ireland. The came for the American Dream and worked hard and passed it on to me. I will be eternally grateful and will always remember them. This song helps to remind me and to appreciate their courage and sacrifice.

Friday, July 31, 2009

A little bit of Ireland in the Bronx

A vibrant Irish community thrives in the Woodlawn Section of the Bronx

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Rest In Peace - Frank McCourt

I, like many Irish-Americans read all of Frank McCourt's books and watched the movie of Angela's Ashes and it broadened my understanding of his personal experience both in Ireland and in America. I enjoyed his writing and as I struggle to write my memoir I am inspired by him and by his writing. There is a quote by Frank McCourt that is so true not just of his life but so many of our lives especially in America. I know it is true for mine. Frank McCourt said "F. Scott Fitzgerald said there are no second acts in American lives. I think I've proven him wrong," So true. He taught English for thirty years, went on to write three books, win a Pulitzer Prize and see his book turned into a movie. What a life. I know he had more stories and books in him but he leaves us with a great legacy. Rest in Peace Frank McCourt, you will be missed but you enriched our lives by your contribution.........

Irish Central Coverage:

Sunday's Irish Music - Eddi Reader

A little Scottish flavor....

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Watching Space Shuttle Endeavor from Aran Islands - Ireland

Saw this great story on the Friends of Ireland Group on Linkedin that I belong to:

And for generations of Irish, gazing out past the Aran Islands, westwards across the atlantic, became their vigil of hope and optimism. Last night did not disapoint!
Last night, July 15, my son David and I watched in awe as the space shuttle Endeavour passed over our house at 11.23pm, Irish time, just 20 minutes flying time from Florida to Galway Bay! Now that's the way to travel. Suddenly there it was, a brilliant bright star, hurtling along, huge really, and closely paralleled by the glowing orange fuel tank, they appeared together over the Aran Islands, rocketing eastwards towards us across a cloudless pool of midnight blue sky, a comet among stars, breath-taking! And we think we saw them jettison the boosters just after it passed us, fireworks as we turned to follow its flight path eastwards towards Dublin. What Timing! Oh boy, Endeavour was really shifting as it crossed from horizon to horizon. In just about 2 minutes flat it was gone, leaving us both open-mouthed, stunned, privileged. Whooooey!!! You had to be there! Just the two of us, dad and 10 year-old son, on our little rock out on the bog in Barna, in the silent pitch-dark night - star-gazing! Priceless!

Thank you America. Good luck Endeavour.

Brian Nolan

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sunday's Irish Music - U2

Sunday Bloody Sunday U2 Dedicated to Iranian Freedom

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Irish Website

Here is a resource for information on Ireland and has partnered with in a historic link up

In the biggest and first-of-its-kind outreach to the global Irish community - estimated at 70 million people - has partnered with and in an innovative plan to represent each other for advertising in their markets, and work to vastly increase the readership of all three Web sites and their related print properties.

"This is a great step forward toward reaching the Irish Diaspora," said founder Niall O'Dowd, who has published the Irish Voice newspaper and Irish America magazine for more than a quarter-century.

"We have long been the market leader in the United States, and joining with the market leader in Ireland allows a synergy and outreach that would not otherwise be possible. The combined audience will be a powerful new force to serve advertisers and readers."

"The combined strength" is very strong indeed, noted O'Dowd, adding that when's surging audience is aggregated with those of Web pioneer and its portal, "we are looking at an existing, vibrant audience of more than 1.5 million visits every month from just the United States -- far and away the leader in reaching the Irish world.

"And that's just where the race begins," said O'Dowd., which launched on St. Patrick's Day, is owned by New York City-based IrishCentral LLC, and is the leading online source for Irish news from around the world. and are owned by The Irish Times Limited, publishers of the prestigious, 150-year-old Irish Times newspaper. is Ireland's leading news website, and is a popular portal site with a vibrant pulse and audience.

Reprinted from Irish Central

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday's Irish Music - Rebel Heart

Happy Father's Day - Patrick Duffy - My Dad

In 1928 he traveled from Cookstown, County Tyrone, 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. He died too young. I didn't get to know him very well, I was turning four when I watched him die, 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, and I know he was a hard working man, a good man, a salt of the earth man and I know he gave me a better life and a shot at the American Dream. And I'll always be grateful.

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

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Irish Saying

"Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind."

Sean O'Casey

Thanks Monica from Friends of Ireland

I really like this..... makes you think what shadows have been left in my life.....

Friday, June 12, 2009

No Guts, No Glory

Here is an image I ran across and like from a blog. See the the link for the blog:

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Celtic Tiger is Merely Dozing - Irish Central

Just read a good article in Irish Central. Check it out at their site

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Aunt Maggie - You Never Want to Lose Your Courage

"You Never Want to Lose Your Courage"
Maggie (O'Donnell) Quinn

Today I called my Aunt Maggie in Ireland to wish her a happy birthday. She was born in 1914 and is 95 years old today. Aunt Maggie was born the year WW II started and before Ireland achieved it's independence. The world has changed so much since she was born. She still lives on the mountain in Glanduff, Ireland where she was born.

She told me today that she would like to travel to New York to see where her deceased sister's Mary and Ann (my mother lived). She has never traveled to America but she said she wasn't afraid to make the trip.

She then said "You never want to lose your courage." What an amazing statement to hear from someone of her age. She's a mighty woman and I couldn't agree more, I never want to lose my courage.

Happy Birthday Aunt Maggie and thank you for sharing your wisdom with me......

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday's Irish Music # 2 - Ordinary Man

Thanks to James Hayes - FOI/ Friends of Ireland @ Linkedin

Sunday's Irish Music # 1 - THE BLACKSMITH

Thanks to Andy McDermott - FOI / Friends of Ireland @ Linkedin

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Personal Ramblings - Irish Writer James Hayes

Here is a Irish writer who's writings I recommend you check out. His name is James Hayes and there are a few ways to connect with his words and him. A little disclosure: I met him online at Friends of Ireland @ Linkedin and have had the chance to enjoy his wit and his words.
So check him out at:

James Hayes's Books @ Lulu

James Hayes Fan Page @ Facebook

Join Friends of Ireland @ Linkedin

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day - In Honor of My Mother - Ann O'Donnell

My mother was a sweet soul. As a kid I listened to her stories of her childhood in Ireland and her journey to America. i especially loved the story of the banshees in the mountains of Glanduf, Ireland, She came to America in 1928 right in time for the Great Depression and worked as a live-in domestic. She later worked in factories during World War II while my dad served in the Philippines. After my dad died when I was four she raised my brother and myself and while we were very poor she found a way to give us what ever we needed. All the neighborhood kids loved her and watched out for her. She always wanted to return to Ireland but never made it home. I made the trip for her last year and met her youngest sister and walked in her childhood house. I felt like she was there with me. So this Mother's Day I honor her and will always be grateful for all she gave me and all she made me. Happy Mother's Day Mom. I know you are looking down on me and smiling.......

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bull Runs Loose in Ballinrobe County Mayo

Here's a fun story. I was in County Mayo last year and this makes me miss Ireland.

This is not something that would happen where I live in Santa Monica. Maybe a naked homelessman running through the store but no bull........

Sunday's Eclectic Irish Music Videos # 1 - Celtic Woman

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Personal Ramblings - Thank You Card

'...I dreamt I reached the Irish shore and felt my heart rebound
From wall to wall within my breast, as I trod that holy ground..."
-Thomas Darcy McGee (1825-1868), To Duffy in Prison

I received this great Thank You Card from my cousin Pat and his wife Judy for attending his birthday party and becoming part of the family after so long. It's a nice card with a nice section of a poem on the back. I wanted to share it here.....

Card - Courtesy of Pomegranate Communications, Inc

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Personal Ramblings - There's Always Hope

I'm in the middle of reading a book "Watching the Door" about the worst years in Northern Ireland and I just came across this article on Irish Central about a peace center in Ireland that brought Israeli and Palestinian combatants together to create understanding. No matter how long the road or how slow the process there is always hope that people can find their common humanity and find a way to achieve progress without violence.
Check out the article on Irish Central

Monday, April 20, 2009

Personal Ramblings - I Like This

Here is Irish Central's response to a Paul Krugman opinion piece about ireland. Enjoy it, I did....

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Now you Know the Whole Story - Susan Boyle

It was very interesting to read that the Irish Catholic shrine in Knock, County Mayo, is the spiritual home for Scottish singing sensation Susan Boyle. I had the pleasure of visiting Knock last year with my cousins.

Susan Boyle touched millions this week with her performance of " I Dreamed a Dream" on "Britain's Got Talent" after it was posted on YouTube. Fascinating story and fascinating talent.

Story courtesy of MEGHAN SWEENEY , Entertainment Editor @ Irish Central

...."Speaking from his home in Scotland, her local priest Father Basil Clark said he first saw Boyle singing on their church's annual pligrimage to Knock.

Boyle, whose Irish mother Bridget passed away in 2007, visits Knock every year with the annual Legion of Mary pilgrimage. Boyle is the youngest of nine children of a family of Irish immigrants. Her father Patrick was a worker in a car factory, her mother Bridget a clerk/typist.

Father Clark described her as “a woman of great faith,” whose life revolves around her family and her parish of Our Lady of Lourdes."

The devout Catholic also paid tribute to her late mother Bridget. "I knew it was something I had to do," she said. "I had to get on with it. That's where the courage came from, my mother."

Check out the full story at Irish Central

Apr 20 And some more on Susan Boyle's roots in Donnegal and Couty Mayo at Shrine of Knock...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Cousin Pat Gavin

Dancing the jig with my cousins Pat and James. Last time I danced an Irish jig was in a play in first grade......

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Genealogy - County Mayo, Irleand

My mother was born in 1909 in Glanduff, County Mayo. If you need to do any family research on relatives from County Mayo, here is a place to start your search.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Personal Ramblings - James Hayes Author

I would like to recommend the founder of the Friends of Ireland group on Linkedin. He is a prolific Irish Writer. I look forward to meeting him one day in Dublin. Check out his website and books..... And join us on
Friends of Ireland group.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Personal Ramblings - "Poteen Making"

When I was in Ireland last year I had a shot of Poteen or Potcheen (Irish moonshine aka White Lightning in the US), well okay I had a few shots or drops of the cratur. Apparently my grandfather used to produce and sell it in the early 1900's. One of my cousins was very knowledgeable on the topic and shared some stories about it. I recently discovered this documentary about it.

Here is the synopsis of the film "Poteen Making":

In almost every country youll find an alcoholic drink which is illegally made. In Ireland its Poitín or Poteen - a clear and potent unmatured whiskey that has been made here illegally for at least 200 years. Though no written proof exists from before the late 16th century, it is widely accepted that uisce beatha originated in Ireland sometime toward the end of the first millennium. It is said that in the 12th century, soldiers of Henry II encountered the fiery spirit during the Norman invasion of Ireland but unable to pronounce the word uisce beatha, anglicised it to whiskey.

By at least the 17th century whiskey-making was commonplace in Ireland. In rural parts almost everyone distilled and consumed their own while at the same time there was likely to be at least one small distillery in each town. For some Christmas Day 1661 marks the beginning of the long history of illicit distillation in Ireland as taxation on alcohol, at a rate of four pence per gallon of spirit, was first introduced by the British Government on that date and applied to Ireland shortly after. Others trace the origins of illicit distillation to 1760 which was when the British Government supposedly outlawed private distillation; all distillers had to obtain a licence and this, the British hoped, would make it easier for their Excisemen or guagers as they were known, to collect the tax. Whether it all started in 1661 or 1760, Poteen, as the illicit whiskey became known, has been with us ever since (it found its way to the US and became moonshine).

However, like so many other things, Poteen-making was modernised in the middle of the 20th century. The modern Poteen-makers no longer had any use for the kiln, ruins of which are now the only visible pointers to the traditional craft of Poteen-making.

Poteen-Making is a one-hour documentary which traces the history of illicit whiskey distillation in Ireland and shows how Poteen, as the illicit whiskey became known, was traditionally made. In it there are stories and folklore associated with Poteen as well as an account of how Poteen-making was modernised during the 20th century and why the tradition of Poteen-making has declined in recent times.

You can read more and purchase a copy of it here....

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Personal Ramblings - Irish Passport

I just sent away for my daughter's Irish Passport. I got mine 10 years ago. It was an easy process since both my parents were born in Ireland and I am a first generation Irish-American.

My mother never became an American citizen as she always believed she would return home to Ireland. But like the irish song "Because We Were Poor" that tells the story of why Irish families were broken up and forced to emigrate, she remained poor in America and never could afford to return home.

The last time she was in Ireland was 1932. My family made the journey back home for her last year and were reunited with our O'Donnell family and now both myself and my daughter will have Irish citizenship.

I feel lucky and blessed that my parents made the difficult journey to America in 1928 during the Great Depression and gave me all the opportunities I have. Now I am able to give my daughter the gift of dual citizenship so she can go to school or work in either Ireland or Europe if she ever chooses to. Life has went full circle.

Funny how life turns out....

Friday, March 20, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Personal Ramblings - Friends Of Ireland - Linkedin

I am a member of Friends of Ireland on Linkedin. It's a great group to connect with friends of Ireland all over the world. Go to Linkedin and join Friends of Ireland. Tell them I sent you....

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St Patrick's Message from President of ireland


Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig ar chlann mhór dhomhanda na nGael, sa bhaile agus ar fud na cruinne, ar ár lá náisiúnta ceiliúrtha.

I am delighted to send St Patrick’s Day greetings to all those taking part in this year's celebrations, whether at home in Ireland or around the world. St Patrick's festival is our special opportunity to deepen and celebrate the bonds of heritage and affection which link the global, Irish family and its friends worldwide. It is a great showcase of the Irish love of life and this year, more than any in our recent past, is one to savour with special joy. The welcome return of devolved government to Northern Ireland has brought to the island of Ireland a promising era of peace, prosperity and partnership. Thank you for all the support and encouragement you invested in our long, hard journey to this time of concord. There can be little doubt that the best is yet to come!

I hope that the many new immigrants to Ireland who will be joining the celebrations this year will take inspiration from the most influential immigrant of them all, St Patrick himself. Today his name and that of Ireland are synonymous and each year as we gather in his honour, we can see the widening global reach and richly diverse character of his extensive family. To each one of you I wish a wonderful St Patrick's Day 2008. Enjoy it wherever you are! May St Patrick long continue to bless you, his beloved Ireland and her people.


St Patrick's Day - Music

Happy St Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I have very fond memories of going to the St Patrick's Parade in New York every year with my mother Ann when I was a kid living in the Bronx. Last year I spent St Patrick's Day in Foxford Ireland at a very special reunion of my family. It was my first time in Ireland and very magical. A few months before, my cousin Sharon in the UK found us through the Internet and reunited us with our family that we never thought we would ever find. A St Patrick's Day miracle. So here's to my newly discovered and large family.
I now have family in Ireland, England, Germany, Australia, Canada, and here in the USA.
So on this St Patrick's Day....Up the "O'Donnell's, Duffy's, Burton's, Cassini's, Quinn's, Prescott's, Foran's and Up the Irish
and Slainte........

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Personal Ramblings - Support The Peace

European Press Agency

Thousands of people stood in silence in Belfast on Wednesday, as part of a protest against the killing of two soldiers and
a police officer in Northern Ireland in recent days.

Hopefully the Irish people both Protestants and Catholics can turn these tragic murders into a stronger unity and continue on their path of creating a prosperous and peaceful Ireland.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Famous Irish Quotes

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Irish playwright and essayist

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Personal Ramblings - Dracula an Irish Tale

I just came across an interesting story that was news to me. Bram Stoker was born in Ireland and "Dracula" was based on his experiences growing up in Ireland. I'm sure many folks are aware of this but I think a lot of people would be as suprised by this information as I was. Fascinating story. For more info check out this website.....

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Irish Writers - March

Oscar Wilde 1854-1900

"Yet each man kills the thing he loves, by each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look, Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss, The brave man with a sword."

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday's Irish Music #1 - Paddy's Lament

Personal Ramblings - "Falling Upward"

A friend of mine Duff Duggan invited me to a play he's in. So I invited a friend and his wife anr surprised my wife with a night of Irish theatre,

We saw a great production of "Falling Upward". Ray Bradbury was there to introduce his play that he wrote in 1988. The night was extra special because we got to hear Ray describe why he wrote the play and how it is his favorite. It was a great night of theatre, Irish music and fun. The story is about a bunch of guys sitting in a pub in 1950's Ireland talking about nothing. it's about a lot of storytelling, some craic and some singing and dancing.

It will be running for another 5 weeks at the El Porto Theater in NoHo, Los Angeles. I highly recommend you check it out...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Jeanne

Happy Birthday to My Better Half. Thanks for all the great years together. .

Monday, February 23, 2009

A little bit of blarney..... Some books

I got a few Irish and Irish American books I'm reading or planning to read. I will review them after I finish. They are:

Are You Somebody? - Nuala O'Faolain
All Souls - Michael Patrick MacDonald
How the Irish Saved Civilization - Thomas Cahill
Fables of the Irish Intelligentsia - Nina Fitzpatrick

Write a comment and suggest other books I should read......

Monday, February 2, 2009

Irish Writers - February

"On Pembroke Road, look out for my ghost,
Dishevelled with shoes untied,
Playing through the railings with little children
Whose children have long since died"

Patrick Kavanagh 1904-1967

Friday, January 23, 2009

Happy Birthday Cousin Tony O'Donnell

May you always be blessed; with walls for the wind, a roof for the rain, a warm cup of tea by the fire, laughter to cheer you, those you love near you and all that your heart might desire.

March 2008 I met my cousin Tony for the 1st time in Ireland for our O'Donnell family reunion. We have spent many hours since then talking, raising a glass of Guinness and having a good craic. So here's a toast to you Tony on your birthday many wishes until we meet again. Happy Birthday and Sláinte

Monday, January 19, 2009

Irish Writers - January

I received the Irish Writer's Calendar 2009 from my brother and sister-in-law for Christmas. A nice gift. So I share each months writer ....

"Come away, O human child! To the waters and the wild
With a faery hand in hand
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand."

William Butler Yeats

Friday, January 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Cousin Sharon

With the first light of sun, ...Bless you. When the day is done, ...Bless you. In your smile and in your tears, ...Bless you. Through each day of all your years, ...Bless you

Happy Birthday Cousin Sharon,

You are truly a miracle. You reunited the O'Donnell clan from Glanduff to America and all over the world. All our love on your special day for truly a special person. May your life be filled with many more miracles.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Irish- American - Resource

Here is a resource for information on all things Irish-American. It was posted by a reader of my blog. So thank you to the reader for the posting. Check it out....

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Higher Education in Ireland

Just read a fascinating article about Dr John Hegarty provost of Trinity College in Dublin. Dr. Hegarty is from Claremorris, Co Mayo.. The article covers the challenge of leading third level education in Ireland. Read the article from the Irish Times at

Friday, January 9, 2009

Personal Ramblings - Immigration, Ellis Island and Birthdays...

I share a funny little tale of Birthdays, immigration, Ellis Island and family.

Yesterday Jan 8th was the day we used to celebrate my deceased mother Ann O'Donnell's birthday. The reason we celebrated it on Jan 8th was long forgotten until we were discovered and contacted by our cousin Sharon in England.

We were contacted through the Internet as it appeared my mother's youngest sister was still alive in Ireland. Well we began to compare notes and try to confirm if we were the missing O'Donnell kids. The first problem that arose was they believed my mothers birthday was Aug 8 not Jan 8. As that was told to me by my niece it triggered the memory of how we came to celebrate my mother's birthday on Jan 8.

Well the story begins when I was maybe six years old and together with my nine year old brother we were on a treasure hunt in the back room of our apartment. We were searching through my mother's trunks. Great stuff for budding pirates. My mother was out shopping for food. Well we discovered my mother's passport for Ellis Island and we started to read it and they had her birthday listed as Jan 8. We had always celebrated it in Aug up until that point. Anyway when my mother returned we showed it to her and argued with her that she most be wrong and the passport right. I guess she decided it was easy to placate her two hard headed sons and give in to celebrating in on Jan 8. So this long forgotten fact helped clarify that we were the long lost O'Donnell kids and helped to reunite us. So now I remember my mother's birthday as August 8th but she will always have two birthdays and I will always smile on Jan 8th and remember how she dealt with her two hard headed boys.

Airport at Knock - Miracle of Knock Ireland

Here is a fascinating video about the building of the Airport at Knock Ireland.

I visited Knock this July with my cousins from Ireland, England and Germany. It was because of Knock that my family was reunited.

Knock is known for the appearance of Mary and her appearance is known as the Miracle of Knock. It appears the building of the airport was a miracle as well.......

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Irish Networking Resource - Irish Abroad & Live Ireland

Here is another Irish Social Networking group that I belong to. It's another great source of information and connecting. Check it out...

and one more.....

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Irish Networking Resource - Friends of Ireland

I just joined the "Friends of Ireland" group on Linkedin. If you are already on Linkedin, go there and join the group or go to this link and join if you are interested. it's another source to make connections with folks who are friends of Ireland....

Monday, January 5, 2009

Irish Movie Review - "Southpaw" 1999

"Southpaw" is a documentary about an Irish boxer Francis Barrett from the Galway area who fought for the Irish Olympic team in Atlanta in 1998. It's a great story of an underdog who made good. The story has a special twist because Francis was a "Traveller"
(Irish gypsy) and the story touches on how it was a first for the Traveller's to have someone in the Olympics.
The movie while touching on the issue of second class citizenship of the Traveller's remains focused on a personal story of Francis Barrett who overcame the odds to achieve his dreams. It is especially moving to hear Francis remarks about carrying the Irish flag for his team at the Olympics.
The movie is also about the special relationship of Francis and his trainer Chick who is a barber in Galway who went out of his way to train "Traveller" kids in boxing.
The only thing I wish there was more if was the personal life of Francis and his family. We do see him get marry and move to England but it is too short a sequence.
Francis went on to win the prestigious ABA of England and is fighting professionally in England. Francis Barrett's story is an inspiration for what is possible when you go for your dreams. A special small film worth watching.....

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Irish & Irish-American Films

A good list of Irish & Irish themed films and a great web site..... Check them out....

Abbreviated on Jan 9th. Click for full list of all films......

Year Title

1952 Quiet Man, The
1983 Dempsey
James Joyce's Women
1989 Dear Sarah
Look Back in Anger
My Left Foot
1990 Field, The
Fools of Fortune
Hidden Agenda
Miller's Crossing
Mountains of the Moon
State of Grace
1991 Commitments, The
Cutter's Way
Hear My Song
Miracle, The
Only the Lonely
1992 Crying Game, The
Far and Away
Passed Away
Patriot Games
Playboys, The
When Ireland Starved: An Gorta M?r, The Great Famine
1993 December Bride
Finn McCoul
In the Name of the Father
Into the West
Railway Station Man, The
Tyfoid Mary (Nova)
2006 48 Angels
Black Irish
Departed, The
Tristan and Isolde
Wind That Shakes the Barley, The
2007 Gone Baby Gone
James Joyce's Dublin - The Ulysses Tour
Stength and Honour
2008 In Bruges

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year- New Books

It's 2009 and I started off the New Year reading two books about Ireland and the Irish-American experience. I will review them after I finish them.