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...