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.