The Irish in America

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Summer Maths at Kylemore

A special to our Irish readers:

Our friend Kim Moran from The Connemara Maths Academy would like to share an exciting new summer maths program. See below for details…I can’t think of a better place in Ireland to brush up on my math skills, and have a little fun along the way!

Kylemore Abbey in 1995 (photo R. McCormack)

Kylemore Abbey in 1995 (photo R. McCormack)

This Summer become Fluent and Confident in Mathematics at the historic and stunning Kylemore Abbey through a unique residential programme of creative and outdoor pursuits.

Summer School Kylemore Abbey 2014

Dates: Sunday 22nd – Sunday June 29th 2014 (7 Nights)

The Kylemore Abbey Summer Residential programme (7 Nights) is open to Irish Senior Cycle students aged from 14 – 17 years old. There are a limited number of places for international students who must demonstrate an appropriate level of English. Students must fall within this age range before June 30th 2014 in order to be considered for the programme.

Accommodation arrangements: All lessons, rehearsals, media technology based projects and workshops will take place at the Abbey while the physical activities will take place at Killary Adventure Centre some minutes away. Girls will be accommodated in the Abbey while boys will be staying at the beautiful Killary Adventure Centre. The boys will be bused to Kylemore Abbey every morning for breakfast and will be taken back to the Killary Adventure Centre at 9.30pm at the end of each day.


Killary Adventure Centre, minutes from Kylemore Abbey,
where the physical activities takes place.


There are four main elements to the Curriculum:

1. Outdoor Activities:

Rock Climbing at CMA Klyemore Abbey Summer Residential

Rock Climbing at CMA Kylemore Abbey Summer Residential

Students will participate in a range of activities at the Killary Adventure Centre, a short distance from the abbey. The mathematics behind these activities are explored in the workshops, so for example, in the Zip Wire activity, students will discover how it works, including elements of trigonometry, geometry and algebra.

2. Mathematics: 

The fundamental concepts behind each of the 5 strands on the Leaving Certificate syllabus are dealt with in exciting, interactive and dynamic ways while students will have the opportunity to see these principles in action in real world scenarios, whether it be through one of the related physical activities or through one of the media technology based projects, so that a real, meaningful and long lasting relationship is formed between each concept and student.

Geometry of the Apple Logo. At CMA, Mac computers, iPads and apple creative software are at the centre of our mathematics core curriculum.

Geometry of the Apple Logo. At CMA, Mac computers, iPads and apple
creative software are at the centre of our mathematics core curriculum.

Regardless of whether a students is taking the Higher, Ordinary or Foundation level, the key fundament concepts are relevant to all levels. These courses are designed to reinforce understanding  while laying down sound foundations. Students will be organised in age appropriate and relevant levels in some of the classes, while having ample opportunity to  mix with their colleagues in the social programme and through the technology based projects.

Students with particular interests, hobbies and skills are encouraged to share these within the media technology and music projects, workshops and physical activities where relevant and productive to do so, and of course, only with the prior consent of these students.

3. Music and Media Technology Based Projects

Music Technology

mixing desk

Students will explore the maths of music technology from Sine Waves to Loudspeaker and Microphone design and will be able to apply their mathematical knowledge in the production of a piece of music. All mathematical concepts covered are relevant to the Senior Cycle syllabus while embracing the new Project Maths curriculum.

Visual Representation of a Sound Wave. The mathematics of sound such as Sine Waves and Trigonometry are explored in music technology based applications.

Visual Representation of a Sound Wave. The mathematics of sound such as Sine Waves

and Trigonometry are explored in music technology based applications.

Sine Wave Generator - a audio exploration of Sine Waves

Sine Wave Generator – a audio exploration of Sine Waves

Media Technology

Deciding what makes a good photograph through the application of mathematics while also exploring how digital technology works is part of the curriculum. Students have the opportunity to create digital visual media content with digital video cameras and SLRs and content can be edited in the Mac Mini suite with Final Cut and other Apple software packages. The finished products will be presented at an exhibition at the end of the week before the Sunday concert.

lights, camera, action

Students have access to a digital camera to create digital media,

to be edited on the Mac mini suite.


All students will receive a complimentary iBook packed with visually stimulating and interactive content including 3D animations, audio-visual rich media and tutorials of each of the key concepts covered during the week. This will be an invaluable resource for students when they return to school in September.

Students receive a complimentary interactive multimedia Key Concepts iBook.

Students receive a complimentary interactive multimedia Key Concepts iBook.

Students will also have the opportunity to build their own Multi Media Interactive Digital iBook which will include all their academic work including projects and other evidence based learning, while also including a visual record of their out door pursuits. Students will have at the end of the week’s programme, a completed and published iBook which they can share with their parents, family and friends and they can keep as a souvenir of their stay at the Connemara Maths Academy Kylemore Abbey Summer Camp.

Complimentary Customised iBooks are given to students who also have access to iPads as part of the technology based learning environment.

Complimentary Customised iBooks are given to students who also have access to iPads

as part of the technology based learning environment.

Students will have access to an iPad which they will use during workshops and project work, and on which they will be able to view and use the customised ‘CMA Key Concepts iBook’. When they leave, they will be able to download this iBook to their own personal devices.

Music Performance:

Music Performance at CMA

All students will participate in a whole school choir and ensemble, and rehearsals will take place everyday in preparation for a concert on the final Sunday afternoon, to which all parents and friends are invited to attend. There will also be an exhibition of the media technology based projects prior to the concert. Students who play an instrument, dance or have any other performance related skills are very welcome and encouraged to take part in the ensemble.


Pricing Table

For more information please visit Connemara Maths Academy.

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Introducing…Connemara Language and Cultural Centre!

Connemara's Twelve Bens , courtesy of CLCC

Connemara’s Twelve Bens , courtesy of CLCC

I studied the Irish language for a few years and have family ties to the Gaeltacht of Connemara, so when I first saw Connemara Language and Cultural Center (CLCC) on Twitter, I assumed it was an organization promoting Irish language. I was only partially correct. CLCC is doing much more, and I can’t wait to share this innovative venture with you.

The folks at CLCC are energetic, positive, supportive people who are bringing something new and dynamic to education, tourism, culture, and leisure in Ireland. And it is all happening in the gorgeous Clifden, County Galway. I will let them explain it to you – keep reading for the latest CLCC press release, or click here to download the pdf version.

Connemara Language and Cultural Centre

Connemara Language and Cultural Centre (CLCC) is a newly formed educational tourism destination located in Clifden, County Galway. Clifden is the capital town of the geographical region of Connemara world renowned for its rugged and unspoilt beauty where the wild Atlantic Ocean has etched a landscape only Mother Nature could create.

CLCC_PR_photoCLCC is a unique venue combining an existing holiday village, Clifden Glen, located within a safe and fully self-contained 80 hectare site 1.5 km from Clifden town with an English as a Foreign Language School catering for families, groups and individual students. The site contains a licensed clubhouse, restaurant, laundry, 85  detached 3 bedroom lodges, children’s playground, 3 tennis courts, mini-golf course and nature walks, all bounded by the Owenglin, a prolific wild Atlantic salmon spate river. The site is set off the main road with no through traffic and is a haven of tranquility and safety adjacent to Connemara National Park with the magnificent backdrop of the Twelve Bens Mountain range.

CLCC in its initial stages is providing English Language Tuition for non-native English speakers with classes in the morning and adventure activities in the afternoon and cultural events hosted in the clubhouse in the evenings. Our professional, friendly and experienced staff including our qualified native English speaking language teachers are here to meet all our clients’ needs, whether customizing an English language course or providing specific activities to suit individual clients or families.  Our educational ethos is centered on interesting, enjoyable and creative lessons delivered by thoughtful and caring professionals while embracing the latest educational and technological tools available.

It is the introduction of educational services within the pre-existing site that makes CLCC innovative and we aim to meet all our clients’ needs on the one site with no commuting required from accommodation to classes or for entertainment or meals.

CLCC is currently developing Gaelic language classes for those wishing to improve their Gaelic or indeed complete beginners and Connemara is home to Ireland’s largest Gaeltacht, a region where Gaelic is still commonly spoken. CLCC

Synergy is a major factor underpinning the development of CLCC with each element of the business enhancing the other. Integration between native speakers is vital for language learners and with Irish families using Clifden Glen and Connemara for their annual holidays as well as local native Gaelic and English speakers’ integration is assured. Our activities and cultural activities enhance the learning experience with a focus on experiential learning and we strive to create a unique and memorable Connemara experience for each of our client’s.

We are justifiably proud of our culture and heritage in Connemara and we showcase this at our cultural events hosted in our clubhouse at CLCC. Connemara is unique both in Ireland and Europe with its own identity, heritage and culture and untouched by the excess of the 20th and 21st centuries.  It has inspired countless artists and embraced royalty with its captivating raw beauty, ever changing light and the un-spoilt  landscape abundant with wildlife, epitomized by the magnificent wild Atlantic salmon to be seen leaping through its many rivers and lakes. Its essence is perhaps encapsulated best by its roads and fields bounded by stone walls, hand built without mortar and aged with  lichen and moss over centuries yet perfectly preserved and withstanding the forces of nature and time. These roads promise unrivaled vistas to the traveler who ventures throughout their length and evoke memories and emotions, even in those who have never visited previously, and truly represent the road less travelled both in terms of spiritual journey and travelers met along the way. These walls speak of an era when time meant something different than it does today and when, despite or perhaps because of hardship in everyday life, few were the people who could be referred to as poor because all they had was money. Neighbors, community and friendship are still the essence of Connemara and visitors always remark on this warmth and hospitality and it is this and the landscape that draws them back year after year.

So whether to learn English or Gaelic or have an activity holiday come and stay at CLCC and experience this for yourself whilst creating your own Connemara Experience.


     Click here to follow CLCC on Twitter! I think they would love to meet you!

Some content on this page was disabled on August 6, 2019 as a result of a DMCA takedown notice from Dennis Flaherty. You can learn more about the DMCA here:


DAY 23: Clonmacnoise

Clon 5

I visited Clonmacnoise for the first time in 1988. I stayed with the Walsh family of Ballinasloe, County Galway for the “family stay” part of my summer study program. They brought me to the monastic ruins on the River Shannon in nearby County Offaly.

ClonLater that summer when I had returned home from Ireland, I remember my Grandma McCormack asked me to name my favorite thing about my trip. I told her Clonmacnoise. I didn’t realize it was my favorite until she asked. There is just something about the place, something more than the round tower and chapel ruins. Those are a dime a dozen in Ireland. Clonmacnoise is very special, and I have been back many times in the past twenty-five years.

Regan has taken some really cool photos at Clonmacnoise over the years, but sadly most were captured before she entered the digital age, so they are relegated to photo albums. Compiling this series of my favorite things has proven to me that I must scan all of our old photos! That might be a great project for next month.

Photos by Regan McCormack


DAY 10: Gorumna Island and the McDonaghs

Gorumns_RMcCormackI find myself saying “One of my favorite…” a lot when I talk about Ireland because it is impossible to have just one favorite anything, especially in Ireland. How could you say you prefer the soaring sea cliffs of Donegal’s Slieve League to the gorgeous patchwork fields of Tipperary? It proves as pointless as comparing apples to oranges — or Ulster to Munster. Each is stunning in its own special way.

With that in mind, Gorumna Island in Connemara, County Galway is one of my favorite places in Ireland. The rocky and desolate landscape should encourage quiet introspection. That is, until you meet Michael and Joseph McDonagh. The brothers aren’t loud, but they are full of questions, stories, and opinions. They are as knowledgeable about current events in Ireland and the world as they are about family lore and genealogy.


I am related to the McDonaghs through my great-grandmother Mary Agnes Hannon, who emigrated from this part of Connemara in the late nineteenth century and married Andrew McCormack. Click here to read my post about our 2009 visit to the McDonaghs.’

Gorumna_RMcCormackI smile when I remember Michael McDonagh that afternoon we visited. He kept disappearing into the other room and coming back to with a book, newspaper, or photograph to show us.

It seems like the McDonaghs are related to everyone, and they are very proud of their connection to the diaspora. At one point, Michael snuck out and returned, beaming, holding up a Joe Mauer (Minnesota Twins) baseball jersey. Apparently a relative of Joe’s had visited and gave the brothers the jersey as a present. Even Joe has connections to the McDonaghs, on his mother’s side.

Gorumna is absolutely gorgeous, but the McDonaghs are what make it an Irish fave.

Photos: Regan McCormack


Gathering Spotlight V


The Gathering is hitting its stride with this week’s featured events. Take a look at what’s happening and book your tickets to Ireland! As usual, there is a little something for everyone – peat, art, traditional music… Continue reading

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Irish Workhouse Centre

Wondering what’s been happening at the Irish Workhouse CentreClick here for the very latest on the Portumna, County Galway, Ireland workhouse restoration and redevelopment.

I first learned about the Irish Workhouse Centre on Loretto Leary’s fantastic website, Breise! Breise! Loretto has written several articles on the project, as well as conducted interviews with the folks involved – see it all here.

The inaugural newsletter of the Irish Workhouse Centre is full of great information, including an article on the Female Orphan Scheme which sent orphaned girls from the workhouse to Australia.

As an introduction to Irish workhouses, the following historical tidbit appears in the newsletter:

Did you know that 163 workhouses were built in
total in Ireland? 112 were built from 1839 to
1842. It must have been a strange sight at the
time to witness all these huge, foreboding
buildings springing up in the main towns.
All the workhouses were designed by George
Wilkinson. The workhouses were built by private
contract and would have taken about two years to

Psst…if you haven’t read it yet, the September issue of Irish Lives Remembered Genealogy Magazine is available (and free!) online. Click here to view and be sure to check out the article on page 26.

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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  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



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