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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Irish Groups Honoring Dave Burke at Memorial Ceremony on November 7 in Lawrence Massachusetts


Local Irish-American leaders are honoring the late David R. Burke (1940-2009) at the Immaculate Conception Cemetery in Lawrence, Massachusetts on Sunday, November 7, 2010 at 1:00 p.m.

The Ancient Order of Hibernians will dedicate a plaque to Mr. Burke at the An Gorta Mor Memorial in the cemetery, which Burke was instrumental in building in 2006. 

Raymond L. Flynn, former US Ambassador to the Vatican and former Mayor of Boston, is the keynote speaker.  He is being joined by Irish officials and by leaders of the AOH and other Irish organizations in the New England region.

A national leader in Irish-American issues for over forty years, Burke dedicated much of his adult life to peace and justice issues in Northern Ireland.  He also advocated for the preservation and study of Irish-American history.  He helped organize the Irish Collection at the Lawrence Public Library, and received numerous awards for his work.  He was a member of the AOH, Division Eight in Lawrence, and founder of the Irish Foundation of Lawrence.

Following the ceremony, there is a reception for family and friends at the Claddagh Pub and Restaurant in Lawrence.

For more information on Irish activities in Massachusetts and New England, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Boston Celtics : The Story Behind Their Irish Green Theme



Many people wonder why the Boston Celtics wear shamrocks on their green uniforms and have a giant leprechaun smoking a cigar as their team logo. And why the team mascot is a guy named Lucky who looks like he stepped out of a box of Lucky Charms?

According to the Boston Celtic’s official web site, the name came about in 1946 when owner Walter Brown started the team. He and his public relations guy, Howie McHugh, were throwing out potential nicknames, including the Whirlwinds, Unicorns and Olympics.

It was Brown who had the epiphany, saying, “Wait, I’ve got it – the Celtics. The name has a great basketball tradition from the old Original Celtics in New York (1920s). And Boston is full of Irishman. We’ll put them in green uniforms and call them the Boston Celtics.”

Red Auerbach, the now legendary coach of the early Celtics, then commissioned his brother Zang, a graphic designer in the newspaper business, to come up with the famous Celtics logo in the early 1950s. The logo manages to include all of the iconic depictions of the Irish in America that were standard in the 1950s: a leprechaun covered in shamrock clothing and a bowler hat, smoking a pipe, holding a shillelagh and sporting a mischievous grin!

The logo is said to have brought the Celtics good luck, since they won their first championship in 1957, so it has remained.  

For more information on Irish-American history and heritage, visit IrishMassachusetts.com

Find details on The Shamrock Foundation, a charitable organization run by the Boston Celtics. 

For more about the Boston Celtics, visit NBA.com/celtics/

Friday, October 22, 2010

Date in History: Annie Sullivan, Teacher Extraordinaire (1866-1936)

Helen Keller, Annie Sullivan & Alexander Graham Bell

Annie Sullivan, known in her life as the Miracle Worker for her work with the blind, especially Helen Keller, died on October 20, 1936.

The daughter of impoverished Irish immigrants, Annie was born in Feeding Hills, Massachusetts in 1866.  Partially blind herself, she attended the Perkins School for the Blind in South Boston where she learned to read, write and spell. 

After graduation, she was sent to Tuscumbia Alabama to teach a six year old blind child named Helen Keller.  An epiphany came for Helen one summer day when Annie splashed water on Helen's hand, then spelled out the word 'water' over and over until Helen realized that everything had a name that could be spelled out.

Keller, who later attended Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, became a nationally renowned leader for women's rights and a founder of the American Foundation for the Blind.  Annie remained Helen's teacher until Annie's death in 1936. 

Their lives together were made into a film called The Miracle Worker, staring Ann Bancroft as Annie and Patty Duke as Helen.

In 1960, Keller placed a plague in Braille and English at Radcliffe, next to a small fountain, that reads, "In Memory of Annie Sullivan, teacher extraordinary."

For more about women in Boston, visit the Women's Heritage Trail here.

For more information on Irish heritage in Massachusetts, visit IrishHeritageTrail.com.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Irish Music Gathering in Braintree on October 23 features accordionist Colm Gannon and Comhaltas Musicians



Irish traditional musicians from the Boston area are gathering together this Saturday, October 23, 2010 for a night of music and dancing at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Braintree Massachusetts. 

Special guests of the evening: Colm Gannon, button accordion champion; fiddle player Jessie Smith; and John Blake, flutist and guitarist.  The trio from Ireland is launching its new CD, The Ewe with the Crooked Horn. 

They'll be joined by members of the local Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann (Irish Musicians Association), led by fiddler Larry Reynolds.  

The hall is located at 875 Washington Street in Braintree. See directions here.  The event starts at 7:30 p.m. and admission is $15.  For more information call 781 534-3919.

Colm, an all-Ireland champion on the button accordion, is the son of Irish parents from Connemara.  He grew up in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood, and learned to play the accordion from his dad, John Gannon, and his brother Sean. 

For year round Irish activities in Massachusetts and throughout New England, visit IrishBoston.org.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Irish Music Duo Begley and O Raghallaigh Performing at Boston College on October 21

Coaimhin O Raghallaigh and Brendan Begley

The Gaelic Roots music series at Boston College is featuring a concert by fiddler Coaimhin O Raghallaigh and accordion player Brendan Begley at the Connolly House at Boston College on Thursday, October 21, 2010 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  Admission is free.

The Irish Times recently referred to the duo's new album - A Moment of Madness - as  "freewheeling and head-spinningly audacious."   Begley is from West Kerry and O Raghallaigh from Dublin.

BC's Gaelic Roots music series is directed by All-Ireland fiddle player Seamus Connolly, originally from County Clare.  The series brings to Boston some of the world's best traditional musicians operating in Irish as well as Scottish, Cape Breton, Appalachian and other folk genres. 

For more information on Irish Studies at Boston College, click here.

For year round Irish music, dance, theater, culture and other activities in Massachusetts and the New England states, visit IrishBoston.org

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

PEI Fiddler Roy Johnstone Performing at Worcester Hibernian Hall on October 17


Fiddle master Roy Johnston and guitarist Steve Sharrett are performing an afternoon concert at the Hibernian Cultural Center in Worcester this Sunday, October 17, at 2:00 p.m.  Tickets are $15 and children under 12 are admitted free.
 
Considered one of Prince Edward Island's great fiddlers, Johnstone has traveled around the world playing his distinct style of fiddling that is rooted in PEI and the Canadian Maritimes.  Sharratt is considered one of PEI's finest guitarists.  Originally from Ontario, he has lived on PEI since 1980.

After the performance, a music session is taking place, so local musicians are invited to bring their instruments.

The Hibernian Cultural Center is run by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division 36, and is a year-round center for Irish music, dance, lectures and related cultural activities.

For other Irish and Celtic cultural activities in Massachusetts and throughout New England, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Riverdance on Ice Coming to Lowell on Saturday, October 16


The artistry and musicality of Riverdance and the grace and athleticism of Olympic figure skating have been melded together in a unique new show called Riverdance on Ice, which is coming to the Tsongas Center at UMASS in Lowell for one night only, Saturday, October 16 at 7:00 p.m.

The Boston Irish Tourism Association is raffling off a pair of tickets to this show.  To enter the contest, click here.

Tickets to the show range from $20 to $125 and you can order them online or by calling 1 866 722-8780.

Some of the skating stars in this show include Olympic Silver Medalists Sasha Cohen and  Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, as well as Todd Eldredge, Shae-Lynn Bourne and more.

For a full schedule of events at the Tsongas Center, click here.  For details on Riverdance, click here.

For year round Irish cultural events in Massachusetts and the New England states, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.  

For tourism information on Massachusetts, visit MassVacation.com.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Boston's Irish Film Festival Now Accepting Entries for Its March 2011 Festival




The 12th annual  Irish Film Festival Boston is currently accepting entries in the following categories: Best Feature, Best Short/Animation and Best Documentary.  The festival takes place March 24-27, 2011.  

Deadline for submission is Tuesday, November 30, 2010, and entries can be submitted online

Winners in each category receive air transportation and hotel accommocations, and prizes at their film's public screening. 

Co-founded in 1999 by Irish film scholar Peter Flynn, Irish Film Festival Boston has welcomed some of Ireland's top actors and filmmakers to the annual event, including John Boorman, Aidan Quinn, Brendan Gleeson, Fionnula Flanagan, Gabriel Byrne and Jim Sheridan.

For more information, contact festival co-director Dawn Morrissey at info@irishfilmfestival.com.

You can also follow Irish Film Festival Boston on Facebook.

For year round Irish cultural activities in Massachusetts and the New England region, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Rory Kennedy's Documentary, The Fence, Premiers at JFK Library in Boston on October 15


Filmmaker Rory Kennedy is coming to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum on Friday, October 15, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. to screen her new documentary, The Fence.  Following the screening is a discussion with Kennedy, moderated by Jason Beaubien, NRP's Mexico City correspondent.

The Fence, which aired on HBO in September, looks at the plan by the US Government to construct a 700 mile fence along the US-Mexico border as a way of preventing illegal immigration to America.  The filme interviews border patrol officials, smugglers and Mexicans trying to cross the border.  American historian Douglas Brinkley is also featured.

The film concludes that a comprehensive immigration reform bill is needed in Washington DC to correct the many issues of immigration afflicting the United States. 

The John F. Kennedy Library is a year round facility with exhibits, lectures and educational programs.

For more stories on the Kennedy family, click here.

For year round cultural events in greater Boston, visit IrishBoston.org

For tourism information on visiting Massachusetts, go to MassVacation.com.