Mike McCormack's Blog (25)

It's a Celtic Feast

Like their economy, which was based on planting, growing and harvesting, the Celtic calendar was centered around the Sun and agriculture and determined by a lunar calendar. The four major feasts were…

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Added by Mike McCormack on October 30, 2016 at 11:30am — 1 Comment

A Sincere Reply Regarding 'America's Birthday and the Irish'

It been a while since anyone held my feet to the fire over what I wrote, but Patrick O'Toole questioned some of the facts in my 7/5/16 blog America's Birthday and the Irish. I can assure you that none of the information I…

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Added by Mike McCormack on August 4, 2016 at 4:30pm — 2 Comments

Bridie Halpin: Irish Patriot

Fifteen days before Christmas 1988, "Aunt" Bridie Halpin died. At 85, she had lived a good life, but it was still sad for the Halpin family for their Bridie was the beloved matriarch of the clan in America. The first to come over, she had emigrated to New York in 1946. In turn, she…

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Added by Mike McCormack on March 5, 2015 at 12:30pm — 6 Comments

The Women of Erin

During a 1986 interview with 1916 patriot Sam O’Reilly for the Irish Echo newspaper, Sam excused himself to retrieve some notes.  At that point, his wife Mary whispered, "Mike, would you ever tell our story?"  I said, "Sure, you mean you and Sam?"  She replied, "No, I mean the…

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Added by Mike McCormack on February 28, 2015 at 1:30pm — No Comments

'The Great Hunger' -- How Many Died?

The Great Hunger was a natural calamity which was made into an appalling disaster by a selfish lack of assistance on the part of the British Parliament. Their disregard for large-scale human suffering in the land that they had made part of their empire only 44 years earlier bears…

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Added by Mike McCormack on January 20, 2015 at 3:30pm — 4 Comments

Irish-American New Year's Traditions

New Year’s eve had been celebrated with cheerful noise for many years, but in New York City on December 31, 1888, that all changed with the formal addition of music to the annual celebration and it took an Irishman to do it. In those early days, the tiny triangle of land at the…

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Added by Mike McCormack on December 24, 2014 at 2:00pm — 1 Comment

George Washington's Irish Christmas Present

As Christmas approached in 1776, George Washington and his…

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Added by Mike McCormack on December 16, 2014 at 4:00pm — 1 Comment

Special Yuletides in Irish History

In 1587, the English inside the Pale (a fortified district around Dublin) were concerned about the Irish whom they had not yet brought under their control – especially in Ulster. The Ulster clans were an independent lot, and something had to be done to insure their non-interference…

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Added by Mike McCormack on December 8, 2014 at 2:00pm — 1 Comment

Lights From Christmas Past

There are more than just Christmas lights illuminating the darkness as the sun rises on the Winter Solstice in Ireland. On December 21, a marvelous event occurs at Bru na Boinne. On a hill in the Boyne Valley of County Meath stands a complex of three monuments to the early…

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Added by Mike McCormack on December 5, 2014 at 9:30am — 2 Comments

The Irish Christmas Wreath

The modern Christmas wreath demonstrates the spirit of the season, but to some it is also a reminder of another spirit – a spirit that demonstrated courage and fortitude dating back to 17th century Ireland, when the Penal Laws forbade the practice of the Catholic religion. Not only…

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Added by Mike McCormack on December 1, 2014 at 12:30am — 15 Comments

The True Story of Thanksgiving

History, as written, is not always accurate. Revised versions of past events are often presented to support conclusions already reached - political or otherwise. Sadly, many of these revised versions are presented as fact in our school books like the discovery and conquest of…

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Added by Mike McCormack on November 21, 2014 at 3:00pm — 14 Comments

Halloween: It's a Celtic Feast!

May I respectfully add my…

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Added by Mike McCormack on October 14, 2014 at 2:00pm — 3 Comments

The Irish in Labor

by Mike McCormack, AOH National Historian

In 1913, William Martin Murphy fired all his employees who had joined the Irish Transport and General Worker's Union led by James Larkin and James Connolly and urged other Dublin…

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Added by Mike McCormack on August 30, 2014 at 10:00am — No Comments

To Commemorate or Not

One hundred years ago was a great time to be in Ireland to paraphrase Thomas J. Clarke who had been sent by Clan na Gael leader John Devoy to revitalize the dormant IRB.  Clarke was, of course, talking about the rising nationalist sentiment…

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Added by Mike McCormack on August 21, 2014 at 3:00pm — 1 Comment

America's Birthday and the Irish

At the dawn of what was to become an age of rebellion, Thomas Jefferson said, Rebellion is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government. The American revolution of 1775 to 1781 was the inspiration for rebellions across the world from France in 1789 to Ireland in 1798, again…

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Added by Mike McCormack on July 4, 2014 at 9:00am — 6 Comments

Count George Noble Plunkett -- A Special Father

On Fathers Day we remember our own, and other special fathers. There are also special fathers in Irish history. In fact, if you examine the background of many of Ireland's patriots, you will find the strong influence of a nationalist father. But there is one, in particular, who did…

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Added by Mike McCormack on June 1, 2014 at 8:00am — 2 Comments

St. Patrick's Relics

For generations, the sacred remains of Saint Patrick, the great Apostle of Ireland; Saint Brigid, the renowned Virgin; and Saint Columcille, the illustrious missionary, lay far distant from each other. When St Patrick died at Saul in 493, a question arose over where to bury him.…

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Added by Mike McCormack on February 27, 2014 at 10:00am — No Comments

The Story of the Claddagh Ring

by Mike McCormack, AOH National Historian

The Claddagh Ring, designed and worn in Ireland since the late 1600s, has enjoyed a growing popularity with Irish exiles the world over. The modern Galway Jeweller, Stephen…

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Added by Mike McCormack on February 9, 2014 at 3:00pm — 5 Comments

Great Irish Romances: Robert Emmet and Sarah Curran

by AOH Historian Mike McCormack

The bold Robert Emmet was a man with two loves: His love for Ireland and…

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Added by Mike McCormack on January 28, 2014 at 3:00pm — No Comments

Saint Valentine in Ireland



by AOH NY State Historian Mike McCormack

In ancient Rome, February 14th was a holiday to honor Juno – the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses and the Goddess of…

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Added by Mike McCormack on January 28, 2014 at 2:30pm — No Comments

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