Mike McCormack's Blog (44)

The 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 demonstrates courage and fortitude dating back to 16th century Ireland, when the Penal Laws forbade the practice of the Catholic religion. Not only was their…

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Added by Mike McCormack on December 13, 2022 at 11:30am — No Comments

Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore: America's First Superstar

A TV documentary on the St. Louis World Fair mentioned how John Philip Sousa and his band dominated the entertainment, which included a young John McCormack singing at the Irish Pavilion. It brought to mind a forgotten era when American superstars were not individuals with a current hit record but band…

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Added by Mike McCormack on November 26, 2022 at 2:00pm — 1 Comment

'Remember Mullaghast!'

The Pale (a word taken from the Latin meaning fence) was a strip of land along Ireland’s east coast, stretching from Dundalk, County Louth in the north to Dún Laoghaire, south of Dublin City. It was the base of English rule in Ireland since the Norman invasion of 1169. The Normans increasingly…

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Added by Mike McCormack on November 6, 2022 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Rivals Who Became Friends

On October 30, 1963, Cahirsiveen, County Kerry, Ireland, saw the largest outpouring of grief in more than a century as Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty was laid to rest. Although born in County Cork, he grew up in Killarney, where his father was the steward of the old Killarney Golf Club. Hugh retired to…

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Added by Mike McCormack on October 1, 2022 at 2:00pm — No Comments

An Irish-American Hero

Edward Hand was born in Clyduff, County Offaly, Ireland, on 31 December 1744 and was baptized in Shinrone.  His father was John Hand, a descendant of the Mag Fhlaithimh family which translates: Hand.  Edward completed his schooling with a medical certificate from Trinity College,…

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Added by Mike McCormack on September 4, 2022 at 1:30pm — No Comments

Key Dates in August

Welcome to August a significant month in Irish history. Here are a few examples, August 1 is the ancient feast of Lugnasad – the Gaelic festival marking the beginning of the harvest. Begun by the De Danann god, Lugh, in honor of his foster-mother Tailtiu, it included religious…

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Added by Mike McCormack on August 1, 2022 at 3:30pm — No Comments

Irish in America's Military

Ireland's sons were outnumbered and outgunned in their native land by those who would impose the chains of bondage on them. Though Ireland meant much to them, freedom meant more and they fled their homeland for the far corners of the world bringing with them the traditions of a warrior race. Sadly, warfare has been part of Ireland's existence throughout…

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Added by Mike McCormack on May 28, 2022 at 12:30pm — 1 Comment

The Mass Rock

Rocks and stones have always been special to the Irish. The Stone of Fal, reportedly brought to Ireland by the Tuatha de Dannan, was said to have the power to roar – but only when a man fit to rule Ireland stood upon it. The Rock of Doone, similarly only roared out under one fit to be a Chieftain of the…

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Added by Mike McCormack on May 1, 2022 at 9:00am — 1 Comment

Kathleen Daly Clarke

On April 11, 1878, a baby girl was born to Edward and Catherine Daly in Limerick. They named her Kathleen; she was the third daughter in a family of nine girls and one boy. The boy, Edward junior (Ned), was born in 1890, five months after the death of his father, and his 12-year old sister helped raise her…

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Added by Mike McCormack on April 1, 2022 at 8:30am — No Comments

St. Patrick -- Fact, Not Myth

Each year around March 17, the name of St. Patrick appears in every major publication in the civilized world, sometimes with honor and sometimes with scorn due to the conduct of those who celebrate at affairs that bear his name. Many things are written about this holy man; some are true, some misleading,…

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Added by Mike McCormack on March 1, 2022 at 10:00am — No Comments

Thomas 'Broken Hand' Fitzpatrick

On February 7, 1854, America lost one of her greatest adopted sons; his name was Thomas ‘Broken Hand’ Fitzpatrick. Born in 1799 in Killeshandra, County Cavan, into a Catholic family of eight, he had some education which he later showed as a skilled writer. However, at 17 he left home to seek his fortune in…

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Added by Mike McCormack on January 26, 2022 at 4:00pm — No Comments

The Patriot Game

by Mike McCormack, NYAOH Historian Emeritus

On New Year’s Day in 1957, an event occurred that is remembered in song to this day. It all began after World War II brought change to Northern Ireland as Loyalists and Nationalists shared the same bomb shelters breaking down the barriers of prejudice erected to keep them divided. The war also created a small measure of prosperity that satisfied many grievances. After the war in 1945,…

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Added by Mike McCormack on December 26, 2021 at 4:00pm — No Comments

The Anglo-Irish Treaty

One hundred years ago, on 6 December 1921 a treaty was signed with the British government that was to end Ireland’s 3-year war of independence and grant a measure of autonomy to Ireland. It was to be fully implemented by March 31, 1922, and the fighting would end; it had…

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Added by Mike McCormack on December 8, 2021 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Irish at Washington's Crossing: A Historically Unforgettable Christmas

Some ‘historians’ ignore facts in order to downsize their presentation. What is most egregious is when the contributions of the Irish are thus ‘written out’ as inconsequential. Take Washington’s Christmas crossing of the Delaware for example. The Irish around Trenton, like Paddy Colvin, who ran a Delaware…

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Added by Mike McCormack on November 29, 2021 at 4:30pm — No Comments

Four Who Fell

by Mike McCormack

Across the racing current of the Shannon river stands many a bridge, but few as notable as the 13-arch bridge that connects the towns of Ballina, Co. Tipperary and Killaloe, Co. Clare. It was built in the early 1800s at a spot on the Shannon near Brian Boru’s ford. The ford was a shallow spot in the river where a man on horseback or a cart could easily wade across the river. It is called Brian Boru’s ford since High King Brian situated his royal palace of Kincora at…

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Added by Mike McCormack on October 31, 2021 at 10:23am — No Comments

Sligo's John Patton: Revolutionary War Hero

Many Irish who contributed significantly to this nation have been undeservedly excluded from the pages of our school’s history books and their stories remain untold. One such is John Patton. Born in 1745 in County Sligo, John immigrated to Philadelphia about 1765. He met and married Jane Davis on 7 March…

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Added by Mike McCormack on October 1, 2021 at 10:00am — No Comments

Two of America's Irish Heroes

In September 1862, two Irish-born men were about to put their lives on the line for their adopted American nation.  One was Dennis Heenan from Borrisokane, County Tipperary who arrived in Philadelphia in 1839.  He joined one of the many Irish militias defending Irish neighborhoods from the bigoted…

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Added by Mike McCormack on August 30, 2021 at 12:30pm — No Comments

The Galloping Hogan

After Cromwell’s conquest of Ireland, more than 40,000 Irish were relocated west of the River Shannon by the end of 1654. Those who weren’t were press-ganged into the British Navy or sold as indentured servants to the colonies. There was one group, however, who refused either. They eluded capture in the…

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Added by Mike McCormack on July 31, 2021 at 2:30pm — No Comments

The Sing Sing of the IRA

During Ireland’s War of Independence from 1919 to 1921, the people supported the patriot cause and the new, if not British approved, Irish parliament – Dáil Eireann and its administration. Part of that administration was a system of Courts to hear and adjudicate legal issues. The…

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Added by Mike McCormack on July 16, 2021 at 10:30am — 2 Comments

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

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