Juan Pablo Torrebiarte: Flying the Irish Flag High in Mayan Country
Our latest Member of the Week, Juan Pablo Torrebiarte, joined The Wild Geese community last month. Juan Pablo resides in Solola, Guatemala, our very first community member from that country. Juan Pablo traveled to Ireland for the first time in 2013. The Irish connection is in his mother's family. He descends from a notable 17th century surgeon named Theodore O’Kelly who immigrated to Guatemala from his native County Armagh. You can read Juan Pablo’s excellent profile of O’Kelly here. We welcome Juan Pablo to The Wild Geese, and hope to see many more Central-America-based Wild Geese join our community in the days ahead.
Members Previously Highlighted:
Dr. Jane Lyons: The Great ‘Grave Hunter’ of Ireland
Dr. Jane Lyons is an Irish genealogist who has spent an incalculable number of hours photographing and transcribing whole cemeteries, trade and city directories, public records, and the like in the interest of preserving history and bringing answers to people hoping to find the graves of their ancestors.
Dr. Lyons writes blog articles here in The Wild Geese community on a regular basis. You can find her collection of posts here.
Tommy Dullaghan: A Proud Son of Donegal
Tommy Dullaghan is a resident of Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.A. Tommy’s parents both emigrated from County Donegal. He travels to Ireland multiple times every year, and it’s clear he feels a strong connection to and passion for his Irish roots. Tommy has already written some excellent articles (check out his blog here), and we look forward to hearing much more from him.
Kathleen Concannon Maloney: Feeling the Pull of Lovely Leitrim
Kathleen Concannon Maloney hails from New Jersey, U.S.A., and has just recently joined the community. She has already contributed two wonderful blog posts, both of which are well worthy of your time. Kathleen’s family emigrated from County Leitrim, and she made her first journey to her homeland in 2013. She hopes to make a permanent move to Ireland some time in the future. As you will see, Kathleen is a gifted writer, and she’s looking to have her first book published. We look forward to hearing more from her in the days, weeks, and months ahead!
Eddie Stack: From “The Banner County” to “The Golden State”
Eddie Stack is a native of County Clare. He now resides in San Francisco, California, U.S.A., but still spends a great deal of time back in Clare. Eddie teaches at University of California at Berkeley. His main interests involve the arts, especially literature and music. Eddie is a writer and has published a number of books — short stories, novellas and a novel. In the next year or so Eddie hopes to publish a book about the traditional arts of Doolin in County Clare. Read Eddie’s latest short story here.
Dee Notaro: Helping Others With Her Passion for Genealogy
Dee Notaro is the daughter of an Italian father and Irish mother. A resident of Atlanta, Georgia, Dee is an avid amateur genealogist. Before using the internet for her research, she began with courthouse trips, writing for documents (some of these in Italian), and family tree magazines. Dee now teaches a genealogy and a computer program to seniors at a center and in her community. There are 12 to 20 participants every week and of all nationalities from Russia, Yugoslavia, Austria, Jewish, and those descended from slaves. Dee says: “It is extremely rewarding for me to assist them in their journey. It is great to know who you are!” Dee is part of the team of both amateur and professional genealogists who will be helping members of The Wild Geese community with our ancestry research.
Michael H.J. Kane: ‘Steel City’ Focus on Civil War
Michael H.J. Kane joined The Wild Geese community back in February of this year. Michael can trace his roots back to Counties Tyrone, Tipperary, and Galway. A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Michael is extremely well read and is a keen student of the American Civil War. Many devotees of the American Civil War turn to Michael for information on the Fenian Brotherhood, a subject Mike has researched extensively. He'd been a contributing editor for The Wild Geese for more than a decade, having contributed to our coverage of the Battle of Antietam occasioned by the battle's 140th anniversary, in 2002. You can read two of Michael’s most popular articles on the Civil War here and here.
Cindy Butler: A Wild Geese in the Green Mountains
Cindy Butler joined The Wild Geese community in September 2013. Cindy resides in Vermont, and is very interested in her ancestors’ homelands in Ireland. Cindy visited Ireland in 2007, and says she would like to go back for an extended visit. For now, she’s enjoying life in the Green Mountains of Vermont.
P.J. Francis: From The Burren to 'The Frozen Tundra' and Back
P.J. Francis, grew up on a farm in The Burren region of County Clare. P.J. always had an interest in living in the United States. At 40 years of age, he felt it was a case of “now or never.” Illinois was chosen because P.J.’s wife, Helena, had relatives there. P.J. says one of his reasons for moving was to pursue his interest in motorcycle touring since the United States is a big country unencumbered by border crossings, ferryboat rides, or overly expensive gasoline. P.J. would like to visit Ireland on a regular basis over the next few years. P.J. is the publisher/editor of the Hometown Herald newspaper, based in Albany, Wisconsin. He also works at Midway Village Museum in Rockford, Illinois.
Tomás Ó Brógáin: Making Irish History Come Alive
Tomás Ó Brógáin of County Donegal is a professional historian and avid re-enactor of great Irish battles. You can read the discussion he started on Jacobitism, Rapparees, Tories or Bandits, and watch a video from various European events his group have done in the past few years. Tomás recently had one of his interactive maps depicting the events at Clontarf 1,000 years ago published by The Irish Times. We’re fortunate to have a enthusiastic historian of Tomás’ caliber within The Wild Geese community.
Mary Reed: A True Friend of Kylemore
Mary Reed is the NYC-based Director of Development for the Friends of Kylemore Abbey organization. In October 2012, a major program of development was launched in Ireland to strengthen and consolidate every aspect of Kylemore Abbey’s mission. Three months later, in New York City, a local campaign was also launched to help. The focus of the Friends’ local campaign is to raise funds for a new Education Center, the restoration of the castle at Kylemore, and the building of a new Monastic Church enabling guests to join the nuns in prayer furthering the community’s mission of outreach. If you’ve ever been to Kylemore in Connemara, you know what a special place it is. We’re pleased to have Mary and the Friends of Kylemore as a part of The Wild Geese community.
Tom O’Connor: Learning from the Fields of Athenry
Tom O Connor grew up in the green fields around Athenry (County Galway), where he learned the surprising archaic history of the surrounding Celtic landscapes, eventually authoring 'Hand of History' and, recently, 'Ireland's Queen Maeve.’
Kathleen Donohoe: Getting in Touch With Her Galway Roots
Kathleen Donohoe, joined The Wild Geese family back on July 3rd. Though she lives in Brooklyn, Kathleen’s Irish family hails from two areas in the eastern part of County Galway – Tuam and Ballinasloe. Kathleen has been to Ireland herself several times for visits. She is an avid reader, and she has just recently shared her impressions on Candance F. Ransom’s novel, “Kathleen.” We’re delighted to have Kathleen as part of The Wild Geese community and look forward to hearing more from her in the days and weeks ahead!
Gary Colcombe: Part of the Celtic Myths Tag-team
Gary Colcombe of Eastbourne, United Kingdom. Gary, with his “better half,” Ruthie, hosts the Celtic Myths Podshow. Both Gary and Ruthie are passionate about all-things Irish, and have been hugely supportive of The Wild Geese’s daily work exploring and celebrating the epic heritage of the Irish … worldwide.
Anne Flaherty: Hunting Justice for the 'Mollies'
Anne Flaherty has dedicated more than 10 years to research and writing about Pennsylvania's "Molly Maguire" conflict. Special prosecutors, then in the pay of railroad and coal interests, charged dozens of Irish Catholic men with capital crimes on evidence supplied by Pinkerton operatives. From June 1877 to October 1879, 21 officers or members of the Irish Catholic benevolent order known as the "Ancient Order of Hibernians" (AOH) died on gallows in five counties. Anne’s interest in her great-great-grandfather John Kehoe, hanged as the "King of the Mollies," first brought her to this work. Anne, it is our great and distinct pleasure to have you part of our growing family as you chronicle this ongoing quest for justice for ‘The Mollies.’
Mary C. Dolan: Back in the Land of Her Grandparents
Mary C. Dolan joined The Wild Geese community January 15th. Mary grew up in Brooklyn, New York. All four of her grandparents emigrated from Ireland to America. Her roots are in County Mayo, Belfast and Portadown. Seventeen years ago, Mary moved to the homeland of her grandparents (specifically County Leitrim), where she manages the Carrick-on-Shannon Local History Centre. She also serves on the boards of the Carrick-on-Shannon Heritage Group and the Carrick-on-Shannon & District Historical Society. Please welcome Mary to The Wild Geese family if you haven’t done so already. We look forward to hearing more of her unique ‘Irish story.’
Kevin Gleeson: A Proud Son of New York's Laurel Hill
Kevin Gleeson, lives in Astoria, Queens, New York. Kevin was born and raised in the Laurel Hill section of Queens (now called West Maspeth). You can read Kevin’s excellent two-part series where he describes his early years in that part of town. His father was from County Tipperary, and his mother was an Irish-American who spent most of her early life in County Tyrone. Kevin has already written some great pieces at The Wild Geese, and we look forward to hearing more from him in days to come.
Susan McWilliams Lev-Yadun: A Wild Goose in ‘The Holy Land’
Susan McWilliams Lev-Yadun, lives in Ramat Hasharon, Israel. Originally from America, Susan joined The Wild Geese community back in November when searching for information on Robert Emmet. She is a film lover, as evidenced by her frequent contributions to The Wild Geese Cinema, a group for movie buffs. Susan is a talented writer – check out her piece on the romance between Joseph Plunkett and Grace Gifford. We thank Susan for her contributions to The Wild Geese community to date, and we look forward to more!
Annette Counihan: Playing Cupid on Tour
Annette Counihan, has made it her mission to show single folks around Ireland via her touring company, Cupid’s Crusade. Originally from Ireland, Annette now lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and takes groups of single men and women to Ireland on what she calls “upscale singles adventures.” The highlight of the Cupid’s Crusade tour is meeting Willie Daly, matchmaker from the world famous Matchmaking Fair in Lisdoonvarna, County Clare. We salute Annette for her innovative and fun way of introducing people to the wonders of Ireland!
Danny Alexander: American Veteran with Built-in Irish Pride
Danny Alexander, joined The Wild Geese community this past November. A Vietnam veteran now based in Asheboro, North Carolina, U.S.A., Danny is clearly passionate about his Irish heritage. You can read the discussion Danny started back on the 22nd of January regarding the Irish character and the common stereotypes associated with the Irish around the world.
Sarah Nagle: ‘Forging’ Ahead in the Golden State
Sarah Nagle, is a proud Irish-American who makes it her family business to produce historically inspired Celtic art and fashion pieces. Nagle Forge & Foundry is a traditional American casting company that specializes in designing and crafting historically inspired and limited-edition jewelry and clothing fasteners. It’s apparent from Sarah’s blog posts and comments within the pages of The Wild Geese community that she is an avid reader, film devotee, and student of Irish heritage and history. Be sure to visit Sarah’s profile page and scroll through her contributions to date. Truly, The Wild Geese “flock” is home to some of the most talented and well-rounded individuals in the global Irish community.
Eamon Loingsigh: Telling the Story of the Brooklyn Irish
Eamon Loingsigh, is a NYC-based Irish-American writer who is preparing for the release of his first book, ‘Light of the Diddicoy.’ The book follows fictional character Liam Garrity's immigrant’s journey to New York and Brooklyn's dock gangs. This will be the first book in what Eamon calls the Auld Irishtown trilogy. The book is being published by Three Rooms Press and will debut on Paddy’s Day, appropriately enough.
Jean Kaniecki: 'Steel City' Irish Film Enthusiast
Jean Kaniecki lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and joined The Wild Geese community in September 2013. Her passion for Irish films has been quite evident based on her activity in The Wild Geese Cinema, our community’s new members group dedicated to discussing and reviewing Irish-themed and Irish-produced movies. We’re so pleased to have a membership with such diverse range of interests and passions. … Let us know how we can assist you in exploring your own areas of expertise and interests today.
Matthew Morris: Gaining Inspiration To Write From the Old Country
At the age of 15, Matthew McCafferty Morris traveled to Ireland with his grandmother for her first trip home since she immigrated to America. It was a profound trip that sparked a lifelong love of Ireland, its history, and its people. Matthew has just recently released his first novel, “The Pirate Princess” – no doubt inspired by his teenage pilgrimage to his grandmother’s homeland. Matthew lives in Norwalk, Connecticut, with his wife and three children, to whom he dedicated “The Pirate Princess.”
Margaret M. Johnson: Love of Food + Love of Ireland = A Life’s Work
Margaret McGlew Johnson grew up in Massachusetts in a typical Irish-American family. Both sets of grandparents and great-grandparents were born in Ireland, so talk and tastes of “the old country” always played a major role in her life. She finally visited in 1984 and was, as she admits, “beyond smitten.” From that year forward, the former English/Journalism teacher decided that her love of cooking and her passion for Ireland would be her life’s work.
Margaret is the author of 10 cookbooks — all centered on authentic Irish cuisine. She has also contributed food and travel articles to publications in both the U.S. and Ireland, including Intermezzo Magazine; Cooking Light; Cara, the in-flight magazine of Aer Lingus; Dublin’s Food & Wine Magazine. She frequently appears at Irish food and cultural events, and when she’s not visiting her ancestral home in Ireland, she lives in Westhampton Beach, New York. Visit Margaret’s fine website at www.IrishCook.com.
Brian Nolan: Showing the Best of ‘The City of the Tribes'
Brian Nolan, is the owner of Galway Walks – a tourist service providing unique, interesting, entertaining walking tours of Galway City. Check out his website at GalwayWalks.com. Brian has written some captivating pieces here at The Wild Geese. … Check out his profile page to see what he’s been up to already. We’re looking forward to drawing more upon Brian’s wealth of knowledge on Irish history and heritage.
Peter Stranney: A Passionate Visionary on the Irish Language Scene
Peter Stranney, exudes an obvious passion for Gaeilge. Peter currently resides in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, but is originally from Enniskillen, County Fermanagh. Peter earned his M.A. in the Irish language from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. With his passion for and his education in the language working in strong tandem, Peter has set-up a crowd-fund campaign via Indiegogo with a goal of raising $7,000 to get LearnIrish.com off the ground. Peter clearly has innovative ideas through creative use of technology to help anyone anywhere learn the Irish language at their own pace and in a very practical way. We commend him for this. Let’s support our fellow “Wild Goose” in this worthy initiative to add to the growing momentum of a language still very much endangered. For all who have Irish blood in our veins, it’s the language of our homeland … let’s do what we can to contribute to its revival!
Ruthie Colcombe: Bringing Celtic Myths and Irish Recipes to the Table
Ruthie Colcombe, has been wonderfully active since joining The Wild Geese community. Ruthie is part of the team who run The Celtic Myth Podshow. Ruthie has shared several authentic Irish recipes in “The Irish Kitchen” group, and she has written quite a few interesting blogs. Be sure to visit Ruthie’s profile page, and scroll down her page to view her contributions to date. We’re pleased to have Ruthie with us, and we hope to hear even more from her in the future!
Vincent Kennedy: Inspiring Through Music
Vincent Kennedy, is a widely acclaimed musician and composer. He is a member of the Association of Irish Composers and a founding member of the Irish Film and Television Academy. He has written for orchestral, chamber, instrumental and vocal combinations. His music has been performed by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ Concert Orchestra, and the Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra among others. Most recently, Vincent’s “John Fitzgerald Kennedy – The Torch Still Burns Brightly” was performed at a ceremony by the eternal flame on the Quayside in New Ross, County Wexford. The music was commissioned by New Ross Town council and was the final part of their JFK ceremonies this year. Vincent was the Contemporary Music Centre’s Composer of the Month for January 2008. We’re so pleased to have an individual of Vincent’s ability and renown here in The Wild Geese community. You can listen to some of Vincent’s pieces on his SoundCloud page.
Michael Quane: A Son of Killarney
Michael Quane, is a resident of Hempstead, New York. Michael’s mother was born in Killarney, and he also has roots in Tipperary. Mike, a travel writer of long experience, has shared on WG articles on a wide range of topics including Irish pubs around the globe and what the worldwide Irish community can do to help the folks in The Philippines. Michael is a tremendous addition to our “flock,” so please give him a warm welcome!
Jim Goulding: An Irish-American-Colombian
Jim Goulding, is the Irish-American son of Irish immigrants. Raised in the Bronx, Jim married his Colombian wife many years ago; after years of trekking back to Colombia for visits to his wife’s homeland, they finally made the decision to take up full-time residence in Pereira, Colombia several years ago after retiring. Jim is a bit of an amateur historian, focusing especially on the Irish influence in Latin America. Jim was the special guest for a Live Community Chat with that very focus which you can read here.
Margaret Whittock: Waking the Ghosts of Gallipoli
Margaret Whittock, has lived and worked in Northern Ireland, London, Istanbul, Accra, and the Turks and Caicos Islands, and has travelled around the world. Margaret has published two eBooks on Amazon: the first, “Ghost of Gallipoli,” her debut novel, and part of a planned trilogy, was inspired by the chance discovery of her great-uncles’ headstones at V Beach Cemetery in Gallipoli. Margaret is currently working on Billy Blitz, the second novel in the Mallaghan Trilogy, due for publication in 2014.
Margaret now lives in London with her husband, and, when she isn't writing, she's painting, walking, cooking and eating, or exploring the endlessly fascinating city of London. Or simply taking time out with her family in Ulster.
Lisa Fortin Jackson: A Photographer with Big Plans
Lisa Fortin Jackson, is a paralegal and part-time photographer originally from Boston and now living in Dallas, Texas. Her ties to Ireland run deep. All four of Lisa’s maternal great-grandparents were born in Ireland, and emigrated to the U.S. in 1903. Her grandfather's side is from Kilshanane in County Kerry, and her grandmother's side is from Counties Sligo and Roscommon.
Lisa took her first trip to Ireland in 2003, and returned for a second visit earlier this year. In the long term, Lisa and her husband plan to purchase property and relocate to Ireland within the next few years, where she will attempt to pursue photography full-time.
Says Lisa about The Wild Geese community: “I'm not sure how I stumbled upon this site. I'm just really thrilled that I did. I love the blogging feature, as well as the social networking. And I love the idea that it feels like I'm getting in on the beginning of something that has the potential to be a massive success. I absolutely love this site.”
Visit Lisa’s profile page to see some of her photographic work. It’s always gratifying to see folks like Lisa who exude passion for all-things Irish, including the burgeoning community at TheWildGeese.com!
Niall McArdle: From Booterstown to the Ottawa Valley
Niall McArdle, is a native Dubliner who emigrated across the Atlantic in 2002 and settled down in Ontario, Canada. He is a gifted writer (as has been evidenced by the two blogs he’s posted here and here already. Niall runs his own blog site, which he has entitled Silence Cunning Exile … Maple Syrup. Give Niall a shout and ask him about that choice of moniker. Glad to have you aboard, Niall!
Fran Reddy: 4th Generation Irish-Canadian
Fran Reddy, is from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Fran recently won the Waterford Gathering trip to Ireland on Facebook. She and her husband took the trip in June of this year, and she says her “main goal in life now is to plan another trip back there!” Fran says she left a piece of her heart and soul in Ireland. You can read about how she won the trip and a bit of how the trip went HERE. She is an administrator on a Facebook page for helping to unite all Irish and those who love Ireland in Ontario. Fran says, “I look forward to making friends here, so please say hello!”
John Mooney: Passionate Belfast Blogger
John Mooney, is a relative newcomer to growing Wild Geese community based near Belfast. It’s already become clear that John has much to say, and that he is passionate about his values. We, as a community, are fortunate to have John in our midst as he is a seasoned blogger with much to offer in terms of passion for Ireland. While John has indicated he’s taking a hiatus from his earlier blog site, you can pay a visit John’s blog on The Wild Geese to read some of his thoughts. Welcome aboard, John!
Aine MacAodha: Inspiration from Omagh
Aine MacAodha, is an Omagh-based writer, poet, and photographer. Aine has discussed her opportunity to meet with the late Seamus Heaney, an honor which has clearly impacted her own creative career. Aine has a great interest in Celtic Myths and the beauty in the Irish landscape. She has two published poetry books -- “Where the Three Rivers Meet,” and “Guth An Anam (Voice of The Soul).” You can visit Aine’s blog here.
Jim Bartz: Proud Strawberry-Picking Yellowbelly
We’re so pleased to now have the enthusiastic Jim Bartz as part of The Wild Geese community. Jim is a proud resident of Gorey, which is in north County Wexford (Wexford folks have fondly been referred to as Strawberry pickers and Yellowbellies). Jim has jumped right in to the action at TheWildGeese.com with several photos and some good comments on discussions. When you have a minute, please welcome Jim to the community!
Kelly O'Rourke: Connemara-Based Artist and Avid Book Reader
Our latest member of the week, Kelly O’Rourke, is a Connemara-based artist who is also an avid reader. She has been active here in The Wild Geese Community since joining our ranks this past spring. You can read her recent book review of “Blood From a Shadow” here. You can also find the listing for her art business in The Wild Geese Green Pages here.
Sandy Boyer: Struggling for Irish Freedom
Sandy Boyer, is the co-host and producer of WBAI's Radio Free Eireann which covers the Irish freedom struggle from an Irish Republican point of view. He has taught Irish history at the Irish Arts Center in New York, lectured on Irish politics and history at numerous colleges and universities, and contributed articles on the Irish struggle to publications in Ireland and the U.S.
Neil O'Dwyer: Painting Ireland, One Mural at a Time
Neil O’Dwyer, is an immensely talented and in-demand mural painter from County Tipperary. His evocative scenes can be admired on walls all over the country, and even beyond the shores of Ireland. Neil’s work has been featured in the press and on national television, in documentaries about renowned sports personalities such as Micheál O Muircheartaigh and the late great Moss Keane. You can see some of Neil’s murals by viewing his profile page, and by visiting his website.
Richard Strathern: Derry Roots Planted in the Pacific Northwest
Richard Strathern, is an active member of The Wild Geese who has shared with the community some captivating photos from his family history in Ireland. Richard’s father emigrated from the area of Bellaghy in County Derry. Richard lives in Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A. which is part of the greater Portland area. Be sure to visit Richard’s page to have a look at those, and the colorized one from 1912 in particular.
Bernie Joyce: Living the Traditions of Connemara
Bernie Joyce, lives in the Connemara region of County Galway. Bernie immigrated to England from her native Ireland, but returned home where she maintains many of the most noted Connemara traditions. She and her husband founded a currach rowing club. In addition to her passion for the Irish language, Bernie is also a capable knitter – something passed down by her grandmother. Bernie is quite a talented painter as well. Be sure to visit Bernie’s profile page and check out the photos of her paintings she’s already posted.
Kimberly Wanzer: Proud Daughter of Tyrone
Kimberly Wanzer, is a member so recognizable that she limits her profile here to just her given name! :-) Kimberly has been quite active in The Wild Geese community since joining on June 20th. She has shared some wonderful photos from her visit to Ireland back in 2012. Kimberly’s grandmother was born in Killen, County Tyrone. Kimberly is now writing a book about her life, her mother’s life, and her own life. She has researched her family history extensively, and she says, “You'll have to read my book to find out the rest. :-)”
Greg Lynch, Jr.: Acing Irish Imagery
Greg Lynch, Jr., is the newest winner of our community photography competition, "Picture Perfect." A resident of Los Angeles, California, Greg won the competition with his haunting closeup of a lamp on the O'Connell Street Bridge in Dublin, complete with a Poe-inspired bird perched atop. Greg has also shared an evocative, fun video from the 20-day tour he took in 2009 with his nephew and his father, both thoughtful and engaging commentators. The trio landed in Dublin and did a loop through Northern Ireland, and then down through Galway to Limerick. Greg is clearly passionate about his Irish ancestry and Irish heritage, and we're glad to have him in The Wild Geese community!
Rónán Gearóid Ó Domhnaill: Passionate About Teaching and Guiding
Rónán Gearóid Ó Domhnaill is a teacher and tour guide from Dublin, Ireland. Rónán's passion comes through clearly in his blog posts and comments here on TheWildGeese.com. When he isn't teaching or writing, Rónán enjoys swimming and hiking the hills of Ireland. He's done a fair amount of writing via his own personal blogs, and has even had articles published on various subjects. One of Rónán's areas of focus is old Irish legends and myths. We're glad to have Rónán amongst the "flock" here at The Wild Geese!
Thomas Besore: A Proud Descendant of ‘The Kingdom’
Thomas Besore is a Chicago native and a proud third-generation descendant of County Kerry – “The Kingdom.” He secured his Irish citizenship by virtue of his grandparents’ birth on Irish soil. Thomas has recently undertaken vigorous genealogical research, which took him to Ireland in 2012 for the first time. Thomas aspires to develop his talent to become a professional writer, and judging by the submissions he’s already made here at The Wild Geese, he is more than capable of making his way in that field. We’re glad to see folks like Thomas applying their talents for the betterment of Irish heritage worldwide, and he clearly has a passion for encouraging others to do the same. In his own words: “Take a look at my photographs that I've shared from my first visit ‘back home.’ Maybe it will inspire you to begin or take further your own family research!”
Gerard Cappa: Bringing Peace through Language
Gerard Cappa, was born in the late ‘50s into a Catholic family in the Protestant town of Lisburn, just eight miles from Belfast. Gerry studied politics at Queen’s University in Belfast amid the chaos of the Hunger Strikes. About these days, Gerry says: “Bobby Sands' funeral was taking place a few miles away, while I was at a revision class for my Irish Politics exam ⎯ surreal mix of theory and practice!” Gerry Started the ‘90s as an accountant, but became involved in community work and assisted community groups to work through the evolving Peace Process. This took him into communities in all corners of the six counties, working with all sorts of groups, including Republican and Loyalist ex-prisoners. In addition to his work as an author, Gerry works with Ciste Infheistíochta Gaeilge, which was set up as part of the Peace Talks and seeks to redress the imbalance resulting from the previous less-than-enthusiastic attitude of the establishment towards Irish language activities.
Kent Williams: Proud to be Irish ... and German
Kent Williams is of mixed Irish and German ancestry (like many Americans), and he displays an equal love for the heritage of both. He grew up in San Francisco, California, but his Irish roots are in Cavan. Both of Kent’s grandparents on his father’s side were born in that county, and he has visited several times. His father was a musician, playing in the U.S. 6th Army Pipe Band during the Korean War. His Dad was very interested in Irish writers and literature, and he passed this tradition on to Kent and his siblings. Music and dance remain important for Kent’s family, and music is played in his home daily. He especially loves the older accordion music of Ireland and the worldwide Irish diaspora. Kent loves to learn about Irish culture and people in all parts of the world. He says, “I see us globally connected through our common ancestry and connection to Éire. We are really a family, but don't always realize it!” It’s rewarding to have members of such obvious enthusiasm like Kent in The Wild Geese community. WG
DJ Kelly: Exploring the Dark World of the Reviled 'Tans'
Denise Beddows, who uses the nom de plume DJ Kelly, has joined our discussion the past few weeks about the "Black and Tans," the proverbial bete noir of modern Irish history. In the process, she's provided invaluable insights, challenging some stereotypes of the men in the force created to replace the Royal Irish Constabulary during the Irish War of Independence. DJ has worked on four continents during a long career in government service. After retiring, she returned to the United Kingdom and settled in "leafy Buckinghamshire" (as she calls it). In 2012, she published her first full-length novel, "A Wistful Eye: The Tragedy of a Titanic Shipwright," and has followed this up with her newest novel, "Running with Crows: The Life and Death of a Black and Tan."
Strike Up the Band!
Jarlath MacNamara wears quite a few hats. In addition to his duties as a piano teacher, Jarlath is working on a full-length biography of legendary Galway-born bandleader, Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore, whose public adulation garnered him the sobriquet "America's First Superstar." Jarlath is one of our top five posters here on The Wild Geese, providing a wealth of information about Gilmore and insights into Irish history. He lives in Leixlip, County Kildare, and will be be a a presenter at The History Festival of Ireland this weekend in County Carlow.
John Hurley is a published author with a very interesting focus -- Irish Faction Fighting. John has a long record of support for preservation of Irish heritage. John's grandfather served in World War I, the Irish War of Independence, and, during Ireland's Civil War, with the anti-Treaty IRA. John has written a book on Irish stick fighting, and was a member of the Irish Brigade Association (IBA), now defunct, which was committed to exploring the military heritage of the Irish worldwide. Click here to see a series of articles John penned for The Wild Geese several years ago.
Felicity Hayes-McCoy - In addition to her latest release, the critically acclaimed, "The House on an Irish Hillside," Felicity has written for television, radio, documentaries, and plays -- and for The Wild Geese! You can read her latest offering here. Felicity is currently working on a novel set in contemporary inner London and wartime Bosnia. It's great to have a writer of Felicity's caliber as a member and contributor. Let's welcome her to The (New) Wild Geese!
George Gannon - A filmmaker from County Leitrim now based in Dublin, our latest Member of the Week, George Gannon, is the Irish part of an international group (also including an American and a Brazilian) who will cross the U.S.A. from Los Angeles to New York City (3,282 miles/5,283km) beginning June. They will do this on a “Y Fliker” push scooter, passing through many American cities on the way to “The Big Apple.” The aim of this project is to raise as much money for charity as possible. On the Irish side, George and his team will be fundraising for Barretstown Camp for Children with Cancer and other rare blood diseases. On the American side, they will be fundraising to donate equipment to schools to help tackle obesity. The trip will take place over three months. Please join us in welcoming George, and let’s get behind this great effort.
John Walsh - As a result of our coverage of the recent Cúirt International Festival of Literature, a new friend has been brought into the fold at The Wild Geese -- our latest Member of the Week, John Walsh. John is a poet, fiction writer, and publisher who lives and works in Connemara, County Galway. John was born in Derry, and also lived in Germany before moving to Connemara in 1989. John is co-director and editor of Doire Press (www.DoirePress.com). You may also wish to visit his personal website (www.JohnWalshPoet.com). John has much to offer the community here at The Wild Geese, so please take a moment to welcome him and encourage him to share some of his creativity here on our pages.
Jane Sherry Gardner - Already contributing to the wonderful community we’re building here on The Wild Geese, Jane Sherry Gardner, is clearly passionate about her Irish roots. A resident of Sturbridge, Massachusetts, Jane’s family comes from the townland of Ballinaboy, County Roscommon, locale, by the way, of an early Christian site. She still heads across the Atlantic every other year to visit her family in the area. Jane also studies the Irish language and paints seascapes of the west coast of Ireland in oils. Fáilte, Jane, to the WG family. We look forward to hearing (and seeing) more of your own Irish 'story' over the coming months and years!
Sheila Lucy Hemmings - Sheila Lucy Hemmings is exploring the heritage of her father’s hometown of Ballina, County Mayo. Although Sheila has lived all her life in England, she has always regarded Ireland as her home. Sheila returned to Ballina last year after 30 years, and was able to learn a great deal more about her family history. Welcome, Sheila, and thanks for joining us here at The Wild Geese!
Kath Gallagher has been often the past few weeks thoughtfully and incisively commenting on discussions, as varied as former Young Irelander Thomas McGee’s abandonment of revolutionary politics to the near rock-star status acquired by James Joyce’s “Finnegan’s Wake.” Kath, go raibh maith agat for supporting WG, fellow members and our collective efforts to explore and celebrate the epic heritage of the Irish worldwide.
Frances O’Neill - A Melbourne-based singer and composer, Frances has created “The Last Torch,” a musical drama set in the west of Ireland, launched with the wreck of dozens of ships from Spain’s vanquished Armada off Ireland’s rugged western coast. Many of the survivors were taken in by the Irish, despite a threatened death-sentence to any harboring ‘the enemy.’ Thirty days ago, Frances launched a just completed, successful crowdfunding campaign, raising $30,695 from 82 supporters, to mount the production in 2014. Read more about her effort on WG, and welcome her to our most supportive community of true believers.
Jim Curley - From Beach Haven, NJ, Jim has ecumenical, and clearly Irish interests. Jim, as he’s made clear in his numerous posts, is the son of a Mayo dad. Whether he is responding thoughtfully about Irish ‘rebel songs’ or about the shockingly assertive image of Sheela’s genitalia, Jim is proving to be both a friend and proud exemplar of The Wild Geese. Thank you, Jim, for helping The Wild Geese soar!
Oisín Ó Conail - As elusive as the historical character he blogs about, that is, William Lamport, aka Guillèn de Lombardo, the legendary, and reputedly Irish, "Zorro." Oisín may hail from County Wexford but has been spotted recently in Mexico in areas associated with Zorro, masked no longer!
Riocard Ó Cruimín - Riocard hails from Lexington, Kentucky, where his family’s moonshine formula has its roots, we suspect, in the poteen stills of old Ireland. Riocard has blogged on The Wild Geese on a wide range of topics, including ‘An Appalachian Mother's Love,’ the family journey from Ireland to Appalachia, and topics of historical note.
John Throne - Author of the Irish best-selling novel “The Donegal Woman.” A native of Lifford, County Donegal, John resides in Des Plaines, Illinois. John recently posted about how a discarded newspaper prompted recalled the wit of James Joyce, or how blues, ballads and bikers surprisingly blended one St. Patrick’s Day.
Yvonne Healy - Yvonne does a lot of research on Irish culture and history and spreads it through oral storytelling and one-person shows. She hails from Howell, Michigan. You can see her in action here in this video. Please check out Yvonne's profile and her work, and say Hi!
Pamela Boyd Shields has hit the proverbial wall in her search for her ancestors in and near Belfast, County Antrim. Please contact her with advice or encouragement.
Bit Devine - Our inaugural Member of the Week. Seen in her trademark cowboy hat on her extensive travels through Ireland, Bit resides in Phoenix, Arizona. Check out her blog and striking photos.