The Irish in America

WHERE GENEALOGY COMES FULL CIRCLE


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Ireland Reaching Out to Middle America

Enjoy the latest press release from the folks at Ireland XO. It’s great to see them reaching out to the Irish communities in Chicago and Milwaukee!

Ireland XO reaches out to Mid-West Irish-American Diaspora

The Ireland XO Team in action at the Milwaukee Irish Fest: Mike Feerick, Dolores O’Shea, Rory O’Shaughnessy

Ireland Reaching Out began its first major outreach drive to the Irish-American diaspora with a busy and successful visit to Galway’s Sister City, Chicago and the Milwaukee Irish Fest 2012.

Loughrea, Co. Galway, August 27th 2012  The Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel has asked Ireland XO to trace the Irish roots of his wife who has Irish ancestry – this is just one of the many hundreds of requests that the team took home from their first major outreach to the Irish-American diaspora in the US Mid-West.

As part of a delegation which included both Galway City and County Councils as well as Fáilte Ireland, members of the Ireland Reaching Out Programme travelled last week to Chicago, en route to the 2012 Milwaukee Irish Fest. Supported by local volunteers from the Chicago area, the team “reached out” to the estimated 120,000 attendees at the Fest to sign up Irish-Americans interested in tracing their roots and one day returning to the parish of their ancestors. There was extraordinary interest shown by those engaged in linking to their Irish Heritage and the majority of them were planning a visit to Ireland for The Gathering 2013.

In Chicago, Ireland XO made presentations at the Irish American Heritage Centre and Gaelic Park in Chicago where Irish culture, language, music, dance and sport is celebrated by many thousands of members. In excess of 150 people attended both venues where Mike Feerick and Henry Healy of Ireland Reaching Out explained their work and  closer co-operation between the organisations is envisaged. In particular, the IAHC has an excellent library and archives as well as a monthly genealogy group which Ireland XO intends to leverage.

At the Chicago mayoral reception, John Mahoney, best known for his role in the TV hit comedy Frasier, and whose grandfather is from Co. Cork, praised the Ireland XO concept and encouraged both Diaspora and Irish parishes to sign up.  At Milwaukee, the ancestral details of over 600 Irish-Americans were signed up for the programme. These ranged from one Virginia State resident tracing his ancestor’s departure from the town of Ballina in Mayo in 1740 and now having 1,200 people on his family tree (all members of the Ballina, Co Mayo Diaspora!), to those who were finding out for the first time about the Irish origins of their grandfather.  Commenting on the feedback, Mike Feerick stated that “the immense opportunity for local communities in Ireland to connect with their Diaspora was starkly evident at the Milwaukee Irish Fest. We should not stop until all 70 million of the Irish Diaspora are reconnected!”

For further information on the Ireland Reaching Out Programme, or getting involved, please contactinfo@irelandxo.com  or telephone 091 842 013.

Bill Gaynor (Sister Cities), Henry Healy and Mike Feerick (Ireland Reaching Out), Austin Kelly (Sister Cities), Marian Ryan, general manager and John Devitt, President Gaelic Park Chicago.

 

Galway City delegation, members of the Chicago Sister Cities Committee, Ireland XO and Consul General Aidan Cronin with Mayor Rahm Emanuel

For further media information please contact:

Paula Kennedy, Press Officer,
Tel:               +353 (0)91 842013       / 086-069-5152

Email:               pkennedy@irelandxo.com

   

Mike Feerick, CEO of Ireland Reaching Out with Consul General Aidan Cronin

About the Ireland Reaching Out Programme
The Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO) project won the special award at the national “Pride of Place” Awards in Nov 2011 and in February 2012, was voted the “Best Community” initiative nationally by the Local Authorities Members Awards (LAMA).  The project was founded in South-East Galway by tech entrepreneur Mike Feerick in 2009 and has been funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Heritage Council, the Atlantic Philanthropies, the Ireland Funds, Galway County Council, Galway Rural Development (GRD), and Irish-American sources. Sponsors include Google, Guinness, An Post, and the National Library. In Dec 2011, the project launched a global partnership with the GAA, agreeing to link newly identified members of the Irish Diaspora to the network of nearly 500 GAA clubs worldwide. Well-known broadcasters and economists David McWilliams and George Lee have been prominent supports of Ireland XO pointing out the extraordinary economic potential of the project, which rises well beyond the immediate and obvious tourism opportunity. The Ireland Reaching Out project aims to connect over million people through the project by the end of 2013. It believes it can achieve a database of 10 million members of the Irish Diaspora, including delivering one million additional visits to the island of Ireland by 2016.

Ireland XO in the Press 2011/2012
TV3 Morning Show – Ireland XO wins Arthur Guinness Fund Award

RTE George Lee – The Business – The Irish Diaspora
New Tech Post (David McWilliams): Ireland Reaching Out Launch 2012
New York Times: In tough times; the Irish call their Diaspora
RTE Nationwide: The Obama Visit – Linking to the Diaspora
Irish-American Magazine; Bring them all Back Home

Ireland XO Press Section 


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The Emerald Isle Classic 2012: Notre Dame vs. Navy

Wanted to get an expert opinion for this post, so I called on Matt McCormack to share his thoughts on the history of a great college football rivalry, eighty-five years in the making. Notre Dame and Navy meet for the Emerald Isle Classic on September 1st at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Who will you be rooting for?

Often times, great rivalries in sport are predicated on a certain doubt as to the outcome of the game.  This has not been the case when the University of Notre Dame and the United States Naval Academy take to the gridiron.  Since the series began in 1927, the Fighting Irish and the Midshipmen have met a total of 84 times with Notre Dame on top at the final whistle of 72 of those games.  This September 1st, when the two teams face off, it will not be a run-of-the-mill game.  With a strong tradition behind it, the Notre Dame v. Navy game is always a highlight for both teams, but this season there is a little something special – this year the teams, and their fans, will cross the Atlantic for the Emerald Isle Classic at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland.

Ahhhhh, Ireland – Notre Dame will clearly have the “home field” advantage.  I mean, they are the “Fighting Irish” after-all.  Pull out your Gaelic-English dictionary for a translation of “Notre Dame” and you’ll find… nothing.  Wait – nothing?  Isn’t Notre Dame in Irish University?  Trinity College, American Campus?

The University of Notre Dame du Lac is actually a centre for higher learning founded in 1842 by Father Edward Sorin, a French priest of the Holy Cross Congregation.  The name, which translates to The University of Our Lady of the Lake, pays homage to the Virgin Mary.  So if it’s a French school – why not call them the “Fighting Francs” or the “Fleur de Lis”?  Well, first off – I don’t think that Fleur de Lis t-shirts would sell very well – but they weren’t thinking about merchandising rights back then.  Early in the history of the athletic programs at the university, they were known as the “Catholics” or the “Ramblers.”

According to the Notre Dame Athletics website, there are a few different stories regarding the origin of the Fighting Irish moniker.  The story I like best is this:

 Another tale has the nickname originating at halftime of the Notre Dame-Michigan game in 1909. With his team trailing, one Notre Dame player yelled to his teammates – who happened to have names like Dolan, Kelly, Glynn, Duffy and Ryan – “What’s the matter with you guys? You’re all Irish and you’re not fighting worth a lick.”

Notre Dame came back to win the game and press, after overhearing the remark, reported the game as a victory for the “Fighting Irish.”

- http://www.und.com/trads/nd-m-fb-name.html

So what makes this game so special?  Well, I think that the Irish Board of Tourism will find the 35,000 Americans attending the game special.  The Gathering 2013, a yearlong celebration of Ireland, its people and its connections, is sponsoring the game.  TheGatheringIreland.com puts it this way:

The Gathering Ireland 2013 is about the people of Ireland throwing open our arms and inviting anyone with a connection to our country to come and visit.

In other words – we’re going to do what ever we can to get anyone to come to Ireland for his or her vacation.  And it’s working.  It is estimated that the Emerald Isle Classic could mean $100 million to the Irish economy.  Of the 50,000 fans that will be in attendance in the sold-out Aviva Stadium 35,000 will be American, up from 10,000 when the same two teams played in Dublin in 1996.  The day after the game will be the busiest day ever at Dublin airport.

So, in just a few days the 2012 NCAA College Football season will kick off for Notre Dame and Navy, the 85th meeting in the longest continuous inter-sectional rivalry in college football.  Regardless of the outcome, at the final whistle, one of my favorite moments will take place; you see, not only is this a great & fierce rivalry, but it is a rivalry built on respect.   When the game is over, the Midshipmen will gather in front of their classmates for their alma mater, and standing right behind them will be the Fighting Irish – showing respect and support to the young men and women who have committed to serve and protect their country.

Matt McCormack has worked in collegiate and professional sports for twelve years. He is currently Director of Brand Marketing and Communication with the Minnesota Swarm of the National Lacrosse League, where Matt oversees all external operations. Before the Swarm Matt worked for three years at the University of Notre Dame.


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Lovely Laois

Erke, Co. Laois (R. McCormack)

I am extremely excited for my trip to Ireland next month. We have quite a bit on the agenda, but will be wrapping the trip up with a week in the heart of Ireland, County Laois.

My great-grandfather Andrew McCormack came from Ballyedmond, County Laois in the late 1880s and settled in Minnesota. My father has done extensive research on his McCormack lineage over the past fifteen years.

I had no hand in this research, but I have enjoyed all the fruits of my father’s labors. Click here and here to read about the fun we have had connecting with our McCormack relations.

My dad won’t be along on this trip, so I may need to don the family historian cap – if only to keep my sister straight on who’s who! I had better review my dad’s printouts…

While in Laois I am planning a visit to the County Archives and Local History Department in Portlaoise. It may have taken a while, but I have learned that a good first step when looking into the history of your Irish ancestors is to go to the County Council website.

The council website for any given county in Ireland will have all the information necessary to live in that county – from where you should dump your trash to the operation hours of the local branch of the library. But they are a great resource for visitors as well. Often these websites provide extensive history and heritage information, including details on genealogy, archives, and special collections.

A couple of clicks into the Laois County Council site, I landed on the Local Research page. Once there I found these useful links: 

Like any good researcher, I plan to do my homework before showing up on the archive’s doorstep in September. It looks like they have quite a bit to offer. Maybe I will even find some emigrant letters in some of the personal collections listed on the Laois Archives page.

The Local History Online link brings you to the Ask About Ireland website. This is a very cool site, a must-visit for anyone interested in what the libraries, museums, and archives of Ireland have to offer.

AskAboutIreland and the Cultural Heritage Project is an initiative of public libraries together with local museums and archives in the digitisation and online publication of the original, the unusual and the unique material from their local studies’ collections to create a national Internet resource for culture. (from http://www.askaboutireland.ie)

Ask About Ireland also features Griffith’s Valuation, the first valuation of property in Ireland, published from 1847 to 1864. You are able to search the Valuation, and of course the more information you have, the better.

Returning to the Local Studies Department, we find an extensive collection of newspapers, cemetery records, photographs, maps, local files, and folklore. All are available to view by appointment. Bridget told me that the microfilm machine is a much sought-after appliance, so set your appointment early to ensure you will have access to the newspapers and records available on microfilm.

I am definitely looking forward to my visit to Portlaoise and the Laois County archives and local studies department. Can’t wait to see what I can dig up!


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Irish Lives Remembered

Great-grandmother Annie Regan with her geese, 1920.

If you have not yet checked out Eileen Munnelly’s genealogy website Irish Lives Remembered, you really should. And I am not just saying this because I wrote an article for the August 2012 issue of the Irish Lives Remembered Genealogy Magazine!

Irish Lives Remembered is a fantastic site for anyone researching their Irish roots. The website says:

Irish Lives Remembered is a FREE to join Genealogy Community to help you locate your Irish ancestors.

Based in Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland, our business is dedicated to preserving the memory of deceased people of Irish heritage globally by providing a social media based Genealogy website and digital magazine.

The site hosts groups and discussion forums for each of the thirty-two Irish counties and additional special interest groups created by members. For example, I joined the groups for each of the counties from which my ancestors originated, as well as a few specialized groups (Irish in Philadelphia, Irish in the NYPD, Irish in New York). I even started my own Irish in America group.

But there is much more to Irish Lives Remembered than discussion forums. What sets Irish Lives Remembered apart from other Irish genealogy sites is the great attention to detail throughout the site, which results in a truly comprehensive approach to Irish genealogy.

The monthly genealogy e-magazine I mentioned earlier contains useful and entertaining information on a diverse selection of Irish genealogy topics. The August issue alone features articles on Irish convicts in Australia, Huguenots in Ireland, and Irish Jewish heritage, in addition to spotlights on Mayo and Antrim.

The Irish Lives Remembered site also features a section devoted to memorials – biographies on influential Irish individuals in history. The memorials include famous writers, activists, musicians, explorers, politicians, and more. Corresponding memorials appear on the group page for their county of origin. Eileen has included a list of upcoming anniversaries and birthday remembrances, which further connects us to Ireland’s history on a very personal level.

Genealogy is about more than filling in the blanks on your family tree with names, dates, and places. It is about remembering our ancestors as individuals, and when we remember them, we honor them. Eileen and Irish Lives Remembered makes doing both a little bit easier and much more enjoyable.

Check out the latest issue of Irish Lives Remembered Genealogy Magazine here. You can also view and download past issues here.

August 2012 Issue: Irish Lives Remembered Genealogy Magazine

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