Friday, June 4, 2010

Bloomsday Celebrations

Bloomsday has become an iconic 
commemoration of a literary milestone, 
Ulysses, the great novel by James Joyce, 
was set on and transpires on 
June 16, 1904 in Dubln. 
The characters, the city and the story 
have attained mythical status in some 
literary circles and Bloomsday has evolved 
into a day that commemorates and savors 
that glorious fictional piece of time.

I was recently struck by the realization that reading James Joyce 
changed my life in many ways. My intent now is to spend a portion 
of my time promoting my belief that reading, enjoying and learning 
about James Joyce and his works can be a very expansive 
and positive endeavor. My first step was to start the 
James Joyce Colloquium and it has already opened doors and given 
my limited knowledge and understanding of Joyce and his writing 
a boost. I hope that my readers will check this out and consider 
joining the group. 
Here are links to the latest issue of the 
Irish E-Missive which has a brief feature  on the Joyce project 
and to our new FaceBook Group.


James Joyce Colloquium

More on James Joyce here soon.

Jim McDonough
Manhattan, Kansas

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Easter Rising of 1916---Monday, April 24

The Irish Uprising Remembered

When I was very young, my father,  Joseph Aloysius McDonough 
taught me a lot about Irish History. One of the things that I remember 
most vividly is his story of the failed Easter Rising of 1916. 
He told me that when he heard the news of the defeat,  
surrender and execution of the rebels that it was the 
most heartbreaking experience of his life 
and the saddest day of his life.  
Pop was a young man at the time and his family and the 
Irish community in Ohio were all keenly aware of the 
Irish Cause for Freedom and were strong Fenian Supporters. 
His distant cousin, Thomas McDonagh, had stayed with his family
when he had visited the States on speaking and fund-raising tours.

My Irish Roots go deep, my grandfather Patrick,
an immigrant to America, was a refugee 
from the Irish Famine of the 1840s. 
It is only in the past year or so that I have had the time 
(I always had the inclination) to start reading a lot more.
I am profoundly amazed and grateful that such great men 
of character and intelligence are drawn to the 
causes of revolution. 
American and Irish Heroes All
It happened in America with the likes of Washington, Franklin 
and Jefferson and it was also the case in Ireland. 
The seven signers of the Irish Proclamation were all great men; 
just not quite as lucky as the American Founders. 
I guess that Luck of the Irish skips around a bit.

All of these men were brave, committed, decent, thoughtful 
and willing to risk everything for what they believed was just and right.
We are all lucky that we share this wonderful common heritage.

The fateful events, the spark for Irish Resistance and Liberty
of Easter Monday, April 24, 1916, will live on in the
hearts of the Irish and the Pan Irish Diaspora for all time.
The  signers of the IRISH PROCLAMATION 
were all killed in the Rebellion or
captured and executed.
The signers were:
Thomas J. Clarke,
Sean Mac Diarmada, 

Thomas MacDonagh, Patrick Pearse, 
 Eamonn Ceannt, James Connolly,
and Joseph Mary Plunkett.

All of the patriots died heroically;

James Connolly who was considered the leader, had been wounded
in the Rebellion and captured. After a quick show trial he was tied to
chair so he could be upright when he was shot.

All of the signers were members of the Irish Military Council which
had planned the Easter Rising of 1916.The honor of signing first
was given to the oldest and most tested member of the group,
Thomas J. Clarke.At the age of 18, Clarke had joined the
Irish Republican Brotherhood. He was born in 1857 and had
served fifteen years in prison for his revolutionary activities.
Clarke fought at the GPO and was taken into custody after the
surrender on April 29. Clarke was held in Kilmainham Gaol
(then known as the NEW JAIL) until his execution by
firing squad on May 3.

Thomas MacDonagh, had surrendered and he regretted
that he had not fought on to the death or escaped. He wrote from
his cell in the last hours of his life to surviving members of his
regiment that
they should always try to escape and never surrender
future battles so that they might live to fight another day.

Padraig (Patrick)
Pearse  read the Irish Proclamation
aloud to a small crowd when the Irish Rebels were briefly
in control of the General Post Office. He was captured by
during the British counter attack. Pearse was executed

on May 3.

Sean Mac Diarmada (McDermott) is perhaps the least well known
of the signers. He was a great man and a credit to the Irish Race. 

MacDiarmada was born on February 28, 1883 in Kityclogher in
County Leitrim near the Donegal border, a monument stands there
in his memory. In Belfast, he joined the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH). 

He rose quickly through the myriad groups dedicated to 
Irish Nationalism and finally in 1910 to a position as managing editor 
of the newspaper "Irish Freedom"
He had met Thomas Clarke in 1908 in Dublin and the two worked
together for "THE CAUSE" till the end of their days.
He was captured at his station at the GPO on April 29 and after a
court-martial on May 9, Mac Diarmada was executed by firing squad
on May 12, 1916 at the age of 33.

Eamonn Ceannt
, was born Edward Kent in Galway in 1881.
At a young age, his family moved to Dublin where he joined the
Gaelic League. After joining the Irish Republican Brotherhood
in 1913, he quickly rose to a position of authority. As one of the
ounders of the Military Committee, he was on Secret British Lists
and was considered a threat. He was briefly held at the New Jail
after his capture at the South Dublin Union. He saw and
was responsible for some of the fiercest resistance and fighting
in the Rebellion but he followed order and surrendered when
ordered to do so. He was executed on May 8 in Kilmainham.

Joseph Plunkett  was an Irish Rebel. Mystic and a poet.
He was a devout Catholic and his deep faith was (and still is)
an inspiration to many and to the

justness of the Irish cause
for freedom.
Plunkett was born in Dublin  

and educated at Belvedere College
and Stonyhurst College. He was editor of the Irish Review and a
co-founder of the Irish Theatre in Dublin. Plunkett was a close
friend to both Thomas MacDonagh and Padraic Pearse,
also noted Irish poets.
He was captured and held by the British army in the Richmond
Barracks. In the morning of May 4, just before his execution
in the courtyard of Kilmainham jail, he married his longtime fiance,
Grace Gifford.  Plunkett was only 28.

Link to the Irish Proclamation:

I See His Blood Upon the Rose
by Joseph Mary Plunkett (1887-1916)

I see his blood upon the rose 

And in the stars the glory of His eyes, 

His body gleams amid eternal snows, 

His tears fall from the skies.
I see his face in every flower; 

The thunder and the singing of the birds 
Are but His voice
-- and carven by His power 
Rocks are His written words.
All pathways by His feet are worn, 

His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea, 

His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn, 

His cross is every tree.

About this poem by Plunkett.
One of the old Irish Priests at the Brother's of St. Patrick
taught this to my son Mark almost twenty years ago.
That was the first time I had ever heard it; 
it has been a boon
to my faith ever since.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Countdown To Saint Patrick's Day!!

 Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

A Wee Bit About the 

Great Saint Patrick...
Believe it or not; he did NOT invent GREEN BEER!
St Patrick, best known as the Missionary Apostle and patron
Saint of Ireland was born in Roman Britain around 387AD.
Captured as a youth and sold into slavery by Irish pirates;
he turned to his Christian Faith for solace and strength during
his years in captivity. When he finally escaped; he vowed to
return to spread the "GOOD NEWS".
The dates are murky in history but it is believed that he
returned to Ireland as early as 415. We know that he
worked faithfully as a zealous priest and bishop
for the rest of his long life.
(Some sources say that Patrick dies in 493AD;
other sources say 460 or 461. --Ed.)
One thing we know for sure; Patrick was a great man of
strong will and deep faith in the TRIUNE GOD.

Saint Patrick's Breastplate
A prayer and sometime hymn, written and preached by him
has come down to us in several forms;
it was written in Ancient Irish and translated into
Latin during the Middle Ages.
It demonstrates his Faith and Fighting Spirit.
St. Patrick prepared these words before his battles
and debates with the Druids.
He credits these prayers for his victory over Pagans
and his ability to build the Irish Church.

I bind myself today to God's Power to guide me,
God's Might to uphold me.
God's Wisdom to teach me,
God's Eye to watch over me,
God's Ear to hear me,
God's Word to give me speech,
God's Hand to guide me,
God's Way to lie before me,
God's Shield to shelter me...

Christ protect me today;
Against every poison,
Against burning,
Against drowning,
Against death-wounds...

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ at my right,
Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort...

This above excerpt is just a partial English translation;
the entire work can be found online. One source is:

Patrick Facts
Here are a few more items of interest about the
Great Saint and his Grand Day!
Did you know that GREEN is associated with the Irish
and Ireland because of the Shamrock and the great green
of the land itself but that Blue was the dominant color
of his vestments.
In Ireland you will often hear the reference
to "St. Patrick Blue"

The Shamrock is also associated with Saint Patrick's Day,
Ireland and the Irish because legend has it
that St. Patrick himself used the little plant, native to Ireland,
to explain how the Trinity or as he called it
THE TRIUNE GOD, could exist as a single entity. 
The Irish of the time of Patrick were very tuned into nature
and their surroundings; so it was a perfect metaphor.

Another legend that St. Patrick drove poisonous snakes
out of Ireland; often attributed to him as one of his miracles
is probably not true.  Evidence suggests that post-glacial
Ireland never had any snakes in the first place.

We know for sure that St. Patrick was born in Roman Britain
but it is not certain exactly where. Many scholars think
St. Patrick was born in Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton
in Scotland. There is another group that think the great saint
was born in present day Wales.
From his own writings,
we do know that Patrick was born to Christian parents,
that his given name was Maewyn Succat
and that he was kidnapped by Irish pirates at 16
and sold into slavery in Ireland.

At about the age of 20, Saint Patrick escaped
and sailors took him back to Britain.
In a dream he was told to leave Ireland by walking
to the coast and looking for a ship.
Dreams and visions came to him for the rest of his life
and he considered them Divine Intervention.
After studying for the priesthood,
Saint Patrick was ordained
by Saint Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre around 416.
In 432, Pope Celestine I consecrated him as a bishop.
It is not totally clear if St. Patrick was in
Ireland during all of this period or not.
We do know for sure that Saint Patrick arrived
back to Ireland to spread the Good News as a
new Bishop. It is written in many ancient texts
that he arrived at Slane on March 25, 433.
Patrick must have spent a lot of his life in good company.
Many of his disciples and converts were
also made saints for their work with him:
Auxilius, Beningnus, Iserninus and Fiacc ,
all were canonized by the early Church.

Most scholars believe that St Patrick died on March 17
in 461AD. It is a national holiday in Ireland
and also on the island of Montserrat in the Caribbean
which was founded by Irish refugees.
It is a bank holiday in Northern Ireland and a provincial holiday
in the Canadian province of Newfoundland.
There have been many failed attempts to make it a
National Holiday in the United States.
Should we be working on making it a legal Holiday?

And finally, here is a great traditional Irish Toast
for St. Patrick's Day;

 "May the roof above us never fall in, and 
may we friends beneath it never fall out."

Happy Saint Patrick's Day
to You and Yours!
Jim McDonough,
Las Vegas, New Mexico

Here is a link to last week's Irish E-Missive:

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Exploring Irish America

Exploring Irish America
By Jim McDonough

Happy New Year to all our advertisers, friends and readers! Without the response and support of our advertisers, there would be no Irish News and Entertainment or Irish News USA online; so please patronize them whenever possible.
The breadth of the Fourth of July Celebrations around the United States this past year started this writer thinking about the profound influence that Irish immigrants have had on America. We noticed that one of our great advertisers and also a fine establishment, Muldoon’s Pub in Newport Beach, was closed in honor of the holiday. Good on Muldoon’s; a nice gesture especially for their staff!
There was a time and not so long ago when almost every business was closed for the Independence Day Celebrations throughout America. A couple of years ago, we happened to be in Cincinnati and the old fashioned feel to the day got me thinking back to the various ethnic and civic contingents that marched in the local parades held throughout the city when I was growing up there. There were Paddys galore in all the groups from various churches, the Hibernians, City and County Workers, the VFW, to all sorts of unions and enterprises, Masonic Lodges and even with the Italians who ran the Knights of Columbus We did a brief story on it then.
Now that the first issue of a new year is upon us; it is a good time to talk about our plan for 2010 and remembering those Paddys from long ago got me to thinking about the Irish in America.
We’re still here just a lot quieter and a lot less hyphenated.
The abundance of Irish named towns, counties and roads throughout the US is evident all over the country.  It is also evident of the origins of the early settlers:  Murphy,  Murfeesboro and even the city of  McDonough in Georgia! We once visited Dollywood, a great Amusement Park located in the heart of the Smokey of the most popular stores at Dollywood is the Irish Shop, loaded with imported gifts from Ireland and a great variety of Irish Shirts, a whole line of Genealogy items that can be customized with almost any Irish Surname. The Irish and Celtic roots of American bluegrass and country music are well documented and worthy of a series of features too.
This new feature will serve as a tour through Irish America and our reports will highlight our visits throughout and comments on Irish America.
I’ll lend a hand as I’ll be on the road a lot with the paper and my duties, our regular writers are excited about it too. Barbara Singer did a nice feature on the Irish history of Cleveland in our last issue. You can almost always find a decent Irish Pub in every urban center and college town and we want to explore that also. We are also going to accept submissions from our readers and freelancers; so if you are out there Exploring Irish America, please consider sharing your story with us. Call the office or E-mail us to work out details.

The latest Irish News USA E-Missive 
is posted. 
We will have a website up with links 
to all the back issues later this month.
Please have a look:

http://archive./Irish News USA January2010Week1

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Jim Sheridan In America!

Happy New Year to Everyone. It has been a great year
for me and McDonough Media.
Thank you all for your continuing support and readership.
We just got this information and thought we might pass it on.
We just missed the cut-off for the
Irish News USA Irish E-Missive
and the event is in early January.
Here is a link to the latest E-Missive #11: #11



Co-presented by the Irish Film Board 
and the L.A. Irish Film Festival
January 8 & 9
At the Aero Theatre
1328 Montana Avenue, 
Santa Monica, CA
Six-time Academy Award nominee Jim Sheridan burst onto the international film scene with his 1989 masterpiece MY LEFT FOOT, which announced him as a major talent. He continued to move audiences with powerful dramas set in his native Ireland (IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, THE BOXER) as well as America (IN AMERICA, GET RICH OR DIE TRYIN'). All of his films are profoundly character-driven yet broad in scope, examining the geographical, cultural and economic factors that influence how we live.
The Cinematheque will present some of Jim Sheridan's best films alongside his latest powerful work, BROTHERS, with Mr. Sheridan live in-person.
Series compiled by Grant Moninger and Gwen Deglise. Program notes by Jim Hemphill.

Friday, January 8 - 7:30 PM                              JIM SHERIDAN
Jim Sheridan In Person! Double Feature: BROTHERS, 2009, Lionsgate, 110 min. Dir. Jim Sheridan. When Sam (Tobey Maguire) is reported dead in Iraq, his brother, Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal), pitches in to help Sam's widow and high school sweetheart, Grace (Natalie Portman). Their mutual mourning brings Tommy and Grace closer together - a situation that becomes extremely complicated when Sam returns from Iraq, alive and well (physically, if not mentally).
IN AMERICA, 2003, Fox Searchlight, 103 min. Dir. Jim Sheridan. To begin all over again is a classic American dream, Irish émigrés Johnny and Sarah (Paddy Considine and Samantha Morton) discover it’s hard to do when they hit the streets of modern-day Manhattan, their two spunky young daughters in tow, and emerge into a realm as comical and adventure-filled as it is strange and terrifying. Discussion in between films with director Jim Sheridan.
Saturday, January 9 - 7:30 PM                                   JIM SHERIDAN
Double Feature: MY LEFT FOOT: THE STORY OF CHRISTY BROWN, 1989, Miramax, 103 min. Dir. Jim Sheridan. In an Oscar-winning performance, Daniel Day-Lewis plays Christy Brown, a painter with cerebral palsy who can only control his left foot. In spite of his disability, Brown becomes an important writer and artist in this heartbreaking yet profoundly inspirational tale.
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, 1993, Universal, 133 min. Director Jim Sheridan and Daniel Day-Lewis reunite for the true story of the Guildford Four, a group falsely convicted of an IRA pub bombing.  Pete Postlethwaite and Emma Thompson co-star in this drama that beautifully combines character study and political history to create a modern classic. 

Monday, December 28, 2009

Looking to the New Year!

Goals and Dreams and Morbid Reality
or the IRISH Life Tour Continues...
for the next week, I will be writing about and expanding
on three topics of Irish Interest;

I think it is my Irish Catholic fascination
with the Shamrock that makes me think of
THREE things in clusters at one time.
I like to come up with three of everything!
To get your year off to a great start, may I suggest a variant
that suits you of my idea.
Sit down and write down some goals of a personal, family
and business nature.
Think of some of your dreams or loftier ambitions for your life;
put them on paper; tell someway; make them real!

Then throw in a balance---
consider the world and what part you play in it and
what small course correction that you might take to make it a better place;
volunteer, donate some money or time or both and maybe just be nicer...
something positive.
If a large number of us would think in these terms; the aggregate
effect would make a difference for the common good.

Riverdance is on its final tour.
One of the stops is 16 performances at the
Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles.

The Chieftains are coming to the states and this wonderful group,
known as Ireland's Musical Ambassadors to the world will be palying at the
Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Southern California.

Finally,  this is a great year to go to Ireland!
The recession has lowered rates a bit and there are some good deals on airfare.
We will be expanding on this a lot over the next few weeks.

More soon:
meanwhile we invite you to sign up fr our FREE
Weekly Irish E-Missive.
Here is a link:
http://archive.IrishNewsUSA #9

Your comments and questions are always appreciated.
See Box Below...
Jim McDonough
Manhattan, Kansas

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas to All!
First Up...Here is a Link
Good stuff here on 
Irish Christmas Traditions
and A Christmas appeal 
for Wells of Life.
Please have a look...

This is shaping up to be a great 
Christmas Season for me and 
I am exceptionally blessed and lucky.  
It is amazing how much
more energy and focus I have. 
I give myself high marks for finally getting 
into the habit of long walks, 
a lot less drinking, 
no smoking and slightly improved diet.  
My renewed faith in God and
my own strange allegiance to my
Irish Catholic heritage has
helped a lot too. 
The biggest blessing I have is my family. 
My son Mark has also been a great help 
to me. He is big in the moral support area
and he has helped a lot with the business
by running errands and helping  
with the books. The other incredible turn 

of tides is that I am also living an almost stress 
free existence thanks to my son Matt 
and his wife, the best daughter-in-law 
in the world, Chasity.

Last year at this time, I was so ill and miserable 
that I thought it was probably going to be 
my last Christmas. 
I was seemingly old, stressed and worn out.
The biggest stress that I now have is publishing 
the Irish News & Entertainment.  
My paper has not been a financial success for many years 
and my son and his wife think I'm nuts
and stupidly stubborn for doing it still.

Stress is a killer and it appears that the correlation to 
being a publisher of an Irish paper and stress is high! 
Unless, I can fix that fairly soon, 
my print publishing days are numbered. 
Any input from any of my readers on this 
topic will be appreciated. Now back to Christmas!!

I've had time this year to send out a few cards, a few gifts 
and have actually bought a few presents for my sons early; 
first time ever for that. 

The so called War On Christmas amazes me.
What the heck has happened
in America that makes people so snide and
cantankerous. I am all for Christmas in all 
its many forms and traditions.
I think Bill  O'Reilly and his
WE SAY Merry Christmas slogan
is not just silly but obnoxius.
Say Merry Christmas by all means,
but for God's Sake don't
do so in a pugnacious manner.
The other idiots who complain about the 
separation of religion and the state are 
even higher on my Eat Coal list! 
In the words of that wonderful and 
often misunderstood American, Rodney King,
"Can't we just all get along!"
Hope you all are enjoying the 
Winter Solstice with your
Glorious Christmas!

Jim McDonough,
Manhattan, Kansas