Friday, August 28, 2009

Irish News and Commentary: Tempus Fugit

From Seattle to Cork, Special memorials and Masses have been held or are being planned in honor of the late Senator Ted Kennedy. It is fitting that we pause and remember this man and the time in which he lived. For me, it is the span of my entire adult life. His reach was broad and long in time and effort. He will be remembered not just for his legislative achievements, especially in education and children's health care but for being a staunch, proud liberal.
As an Irish-American, I always appreciated his love of Ireland and the Irish. Kennedy was one of the first American politicians to see and voice his thoughts that
"The Troubles" in the north of Ireland were civil rights issues. In the Senate in 1971 Kennedy pointed out that "Ulster is becoming Britain's Vietnam" and called for a united Ireland. After Bloody Sunday 1972, when British soldiers killed 13 civil rights marchers in Derry, Kennedy called for a British withdrawal from Northern Ireland. All through the 1970s and 1980s, he kept the Irish Civil Rights agenda alive and led a group that was to become known as the "Four Horsemen".
The four were Ted Kennedy, Tip O'Neill, Hugh Carey and Sen. Patrick Moynihan.
U.S. ambassador to Ireland, Jean Kennedy Smith and Senator Kennedy were very influential in allowing Gerry Adams into the US against the wishes of the British government in 1994. That bold change in policy was the catalyst, that with the guidance of Senator George Mitchell, finally led to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. So we owe the peace in Ireland today thanks in large part to the late senator.

Yesterday, Ireland's Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Brian Cowen, said: "In good days and bad, Ted Kennedy worked valiantly for the cause of peace on this island."

Micheál Martin, Ireland's Foreign Minister, said that the former senator "knew and loved Ireland - its people, its music and its culture", adding that "his special dedication to the peace process was unrivalled and deeply held".

Our colleague Trina Vargo sent us the following to share with our readers. Vargo served as Foreign Policy Adviser to Senator Kennedy from 1987-1998 and was heavily involved in the Northern Ireland peace process. She subsequently founded, and is president of, the US-Ireland Alliance.

"Senator Kennedy s commitment to Ireland and Northern Ireland spanned forty years and no one has contributed more to the strengthening of the relationship between the US and the island of Ireland. He encouraged me to create the US-Ireland Alliance and everyone at the Alliance is grateful for the continuous support he gave to the organization and the Mitchell Scholarship program. Personally, he gave me, at a very young age, an incredible opportunity to be a part of making a difference in a way that few people get. I told him when I left his employ that, no matter what I did with the rest of my life, the way that I see things would, to a very great extent, be shaped by the way that I learned to see things by working with him. And for that I feel honored and privileged -- but most of all I feel incredibly lucky -- that he allowed me to be a part of his work."
August 26, 2009

OnGoing Irish Calendar...

The Friends of Ireland in Orange County California will gather for their Monthly Breakfast Meeting on
Tuesday, September 1st at 10:00am. We will meet, as usual, at 10 A.M. on September 1st at the Starting Gate Restaurant, 5052 Katella Ave., Los Alamitos (across from the race course).
The move to a new location is NOW set for the October 6 meeting.

If you plan to attend, please respond to by e-mail to, by Monday, August 31. Anyone living in Southern California is invited to join these great folks for the Breakfast Meeting. Speakers and Entertainment vary but the craic is always great!!

My great source for many things Irish is Adrien Rain Burke, the current chairperson of the Celtic Arts Center in Los Angeles. Adrien just gave me a new look for my blog. Both her talent and good work are very much appreciated. She also just let us know that there is a grand Youtube segment of the All Ireland Uilleann Pipes Championships.

Special Offer,
thanks to Sean Gunning for sending this to us.
In a first for WWMPC, we would like to offer you a truly unique gift! With each online DVD purchase, we will include several authentic film frames that our editors have cut directly from an official 35mm release print of Red Roses and Petrol. You can literally ‘Own a Piece of the Film’ that was projected in cinemas during the US theatrical engagement!

This very special DVD 'Collector's Offer' is available for order now through Monday, September 14, 2009, while supplies last.  Orders can be placed online at

The soundtrack CD is also available for pre-order from Warrior Records at the following site:
A brief synopsis of the film:

Amid a haze of cigarette smoke and uneaten food, the family of Enda Doyle (Malcolm McDowell -- A Clockwork Orange, NBC’s ”Heroes”) gathers in Dublin for his wake. A university librarian, poet, and rascal, Doyle has left behind a trail of unresolved issues, a dysfunctional family, and a disturbing mystery. A cache of self-recorded video diaries sheds light on who he really was and the secrets he was never able to share. Based on the acclaimed play by Joseph O’Connor, Red Roses and Petrol explores the complex dynamics of family relationships with sharp humor and surprising turns, taking us on an intense emotional journey into the depths of what is truth and what is love. Also starring Max Beesley (BBC’s “Hotel Babylon”), Susan Lynch (Waking Ned Devine), and former Miss Ireland Olivia Tracey, with songs by Flogging Molly and Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Keep Yer Irish Up 24/7

I have been asked a lot about the fate of the Irish News & Entertainment newspaper.
There is no definitive answer to the question yet; the best that I can say is to please be patient. I published the paper for 16 years. I would like to see it continue but in a down market, changing demographics in Southern California and some health issues; I had to suspend publication.
In the meantime; please start reading this blog and our E-mails through Constant Contact. The Celtic Arts Center in Los Angeles is planning their SIXTH ANNUAL CONCERT in September. We will be doing an E-mail with details of that and other Irish/Celtic events soon. To be added to our list for Irish/Celtic information and to receive updates on the Irish News; please send your E-mail address to
For tips and news that you want to share through this blog; please E-mail me at

Also you are always invited to visit our: site.

Adrien Burke was kind enough to send us the information and link below.

LISTEN to Radio ACS - music of The Celtic Arts Center: 24/7

CD: "Ceiltis - 20 years on" a compilation of Celtic music for every mood on the occasion of An Claidheamh Soluis/The Celtic Arts Center's 20th year.

All profits benefit The Celtic Arts Center, a small non-profit,
501[c]3 corporation dedicated to promoting Celtic Arts & Language, award-winning theater, fabulous concerts, and home of the longest-running traditional music session in Southern California.

Hear it at
For more about An Claidheamh Soluis:
Tara. ancient seat of the Kings of Ireland, is in danger of being
surrounded by a freeway, while many other ancient sites in the vicinity are under threat, or have already been destroyed.

Supporters of Tara
have released a compilation CD to raise funds for their effort. You can help by purchasing their record: