Letter from the Editor: Ohio Irish American News October issue

At Pittsburgh Irish Fest, I had a great auld conversation with a photographer I admire very much, for his skill, his passion, his perseverance. He and his wife have had numerous struggles, and I could sense his sense of peril, and wondering at the legacy he would leave. The conversation was great, because it will live on, like all true legacies do.

A week later, I went to the 12th Annual Cleveland Famine Memorial Mass, at the Famine Stone. The Famine Stone is a ten-ton, ten-foot high carved granite stone on the banks of the Cuyahoga River, just around the bend from Irishtown Bend, a place where many of the Irish who first came to Cleveland lived – often 3-4 or more families to a room, houses on stilts. Their legacy is proclaimed in the Stone.

It is an honor when we are asked to preserve the legacy of another. Like any wealth, it gains value, we are richer, when it is shared.

165 years have passed since Black 47. It’s legacy is alive today, and maybe even larger than life, because we not only actively remember, but we respect, what others gave. Maybe it’s in a stone, maybe in the respect for the fact that some gave all. It inspires us. Immigrants, soldiers, police, fire and all who walk on the edge of life are both honored, and haunted, by it.

Our cover features Patrick Campbell and Jason Salupo. Patrick is the owner of PJ McIntyre’s Irish Pub, and Jason, the owner of West Park Station. Their businesses are located a few doors apart – but they do not act in competition.

Each sponsors continuous sport teams, fundraisers, live music of every kind and fun events, often working together, with great acknowledgement of those who came before and impacted their lives; Patrick’s to the Irish heritage, Jason to the Police and Fire men and women so prevalent and impactful in his family and in the West Park / Kamm’s area, since the day the very first building opened – Oswald Kamm’s grocery store, in 1875.

That first building became a stage coach station, the first post office, on the dirt road that became Lorain Road. Much later, it found a renewed legacy in the Cleveland landmark, Tony’s Restaurant. I worked there as a busboy when I was in high school. The first time I drove a car on my own, was to work at Tony’s – my own little stage coach; I am still offering to drive people today.

That building now houses Panini’s, an amalgamation of food, sport, fun and friends – well representing the neighborhood, and way of life. I have seen very early pictures of the building, called Kamm’s stage coach station, and the building, though remodeled many times over, is easily distinguishable, even more than a century later.

I don’t know what Oswald Kamm dreamed of when he stamped “Kamm’s, Ohio” on letters, or even if he dreamed of a legacy. He was an innovator, an entrepreneur, a leader, a man of action. His efforts created a community, then a neighborhood, revitalized again, more than 140 years later.

As two of today’s successful community leaders, Pat and Jason don’t talk about legacy, they talk about love, for their heritage, and their neighborhood. Their generous spirits go far beyond conversation, and have not only fueled a legacy, but rebirthed a neighborhood, that was quietly fading from any borders.

Finding the balance between sharing a legacy, and creating one today, is often better enabled when we concentrate on others, not ourselves. Let our legacy be written by our own generosity of spirit, the joyful noise we live, as men for others.

The children of 1847 found a home and fashioned a legacy, began here in 1875. We have always been cops and firemen, guardians of a station where friends come, and find home.

What to Do this Weekend

What2Do: Fri: WalkingCane@TheHarp Cruisin ‪@pjmcintyres IslandDoctor@Sullys MattJohnsonDuelingPianos ‪@HooleyHouse LochErie ‪@WestSideIA

What2Do: Sat: gsHarper@TheHarp, VelvertShake @pjmcintyres DearJimmyBand @croaghpatricks VinegarHill @LogansIrishPub AbbeyRodeo @HooleyHouse

What2Do: Sun: ChrisAllen @StoneMad, KellyWright@Treehouse CraicBros @Sullys

Ohio Irish American News: A Story from this Month’s Issue: Talking to the Children, by Niamh O’Sullivan


I am honoured to be assisting Maurice O’Keeffe of the Irish Life and Lore Series on his 1916 – 2016 project of interviewing as many as possible of the surviving relations of men and women who took part in Ireland’s Revolutionary years. Maurice has been interviewing people throughout Ireland for the last twenty years on diverse projects, and has a wonderful way of drawing people out and recording their precious memories.
During my 24 years of working in the Museum in Kilmainham Prison, I had the great honour to meet with many families of men and women incarcerated there between May 1916 in the aftermath of the Easter Rising, through the War of Independence 1919 – 1921, right up to January 1924, when the last Republican prisoners were transferred out after our Civil War. We first met when Maurice appeared with an old poster signed by Thomas F Meagher, Kilmainham prisoner in 1848, and later Brigadier General of the Irish Brigade in the American Civil War.
This year on July 4th, I specially thought of both the American Revolutionary War and the American Civil War. I reflected on the roughly eighty years spread between the two, and the fact that if some American families gave their all twice over in these wars, then it probably was the grandfathers and the grandsons who paid the price for freedom. I was thinking on these lines because I had the great privilege on that day to be sitting in the different Dublin homes of two different Irish sons – men whose father’s had fought in Ireland’s troubled years, 1916 – 1923. Men whose fathers had to try to decide on which side of the Irish Civil War they would choose to fight within months of the end of the Irish War of Independence. The fathers of my two July 4th men did not choose the same side.
My mind brim-full of 1916 stories, from the nurse who held her dying comrade in her arms on the roof of City Hall, to the first man who entered the Four Courts building on Easter Monday, to the idea of scores being settled during our Civil War, I was considering how it was almost like having the privilege of interviewing, in an American context, the sons of perhaps General Hancock or General Longstreet – actually being able to sit in heir homes discussing incidents of the war with them…
Two weeks later on another rare sunny day in Ireland, driving home from another interview, I needed a whole half hour before I was ready to even turn on the radio, to force myself to re-enter the 21st century. We had just interviewed an elderly man whose father and uncle had been seriously involved in those seven tragic years. A man who told us that the killing of Sean Treacy in a Dublin street by British Detectives in October 1920, was possible because the getaway bike Treacy tried to use belonged to a much taller comrade; an elderly man who told us in weary and pain filled tones the days after the Civil War in Ireland were just too awful…
The men and women Maurice interviews mostly share deep feelings of pride in their 1916 – 1923 family members. A pride that is not without an equally deep sense of awareness of what precisely happened nearly one hundred years ago. These adult children have had to grow to maturity considering things many of us live our entire lives without ever having to contemplate at all – as evidenced clearly by one soft-spoken woman qualifying her sense of honour hoping that her wonderful father and grandfather, both of whom were out in 1916, both of whom endured imprisonment for their involvement with Ireland, had never used their guns to shoot a person…
Another woman with wonderful recall told Maurice in lighter tones of driving with her father and siblings in the early 1920’s in a car, joyously unrestrained by anything like seatbelts, sitting on a can of gasoline on the backseat. These cans were vital in those early days before petrol stations were as plentiful as they are today. But this woman also rendered one of the moist poignant verdicts on those involved between 1916 – 1923: she was only a child when her father was incarcerated, and so she had spent years thinking he must have been a bad man.
I believe that every person interviewed so far, and indeed every family member who visited me in my years in the Kilmainham Archives all share in a personal quest; whether worn lightly or with more weight, they all seem to have a need to work out why their relatives had become involved.
Some fascinating patterns are beginning to emerge from these discussions: at least three separate people at the very start of the interviews have asserted how, after the years of fighting together through the Easter Rising and the War of Independence, their fathers looked upon the Civil War with a growing sense of revulsion – a sense of the utter madness of it all; that they made a conscious decision to walk away from the horror.
The thought of taking up arms against former comrades whom they had literally erstwhile trusted with their lives was something they wanted no hand, act or part in. These neutrals may have been reproached then and since, but oh, the sheer humanity of their choice…
Working all those years in Kilmainham, I have frequently and in vain longed for a time machine to catch glimpses of the shadowed past surrounding me. I have finally fond one of sorts, listening to these interviews. Welcomed into people’s living rooms and kitchens, with only Maurice’s questions, a microphone and the gentle voices of descendants of participants – I have listened to responses laced with admiration and anxious yearning to do justice to beloved relatives, drawing us back into the terrifying and terrible beauty of those times.

Ohio Irish American News A Story from this Month’s Issue: Real Ireland:

Ohio Irish American News A Story from this Month’s Issue: Real Ireland: Real Ireland: IRISH INGREDIENTS…..THE SECRET TO TASTE

I have been living in the United States for sixteen years now and in all that time I have endured the jokes, sarcasm, ridicule, social media comments and even taunting from a FOX talk radio host during my interview one St Patrick’s Day about Irish food.

I do not think I will ever forget that interview. The host asked me to share some ideas with the listeners that they could experience when visiting Ireland. When I mentioned culinary tours, there was a giggle, followed by, “What do you learn – 100 ways to cook with potatoes?”

As an Irish woman, I am by nature a proud woman. I can say with some conviction that the island of Ireland has a pool of culinary talent. Famous chefs, before their time, include Myrtle Allen and Darina Allen.

Now, their daughter in law, Rachel Allen, is a firm favorite too. A visit to Ballymaloe House & Cooking school in Cork is a must. You can attend cooking classes, eat in the restaurant, stroll the gardens or have lunch in the cafe. Clodagh McKenna is one of Ireland’s darlings. She has hosted many a cooking show, has an expanding line of products, penned a few books and has her own cooking school at the Village at Lyons, located outside Dublin.

At the heart of this lies one crucial element for these chefs – ingredients. The ingredients in Ireland are among the best in the world. Every culture has its share of bad cooks; it’s as simple as that. The ingredients are just waiting for someone to work their magic. When you sample the ingredients in Ireland, then working a little magic is not very difficult at all.

The simplest of flavors are often the best. Next year marks the year of ‘The Gathering’ in Ireland. “It’s about asking anyone who has Irish blood, a link to Ireland, or even just a love of our country- to join us for a series of amazing and diverse events throughout 2013. The Gathering is a powerful grass-roots movement. By reconnecting with our global community, it will be like completing an electrical circuit. Energy will flow and our community will light up and sparkle with its own vitality”

There’s an old saying “Actions speak louder than words” so in April 2013, I will be taking a group of culinary professionals to Ireland to celebrate ‘Irish Ingredients, the secret to Taste’. We will visit farms, cooking schools, farmers markets, fishing ports and villages, foraging for seaweed, learn about Irish farmhouse cheeses, snack on Galway oysters and sample the finest oats in the world. It will be a time to celebrate – to celebrate the land and sea, but more importantly to celebrate each other.

Follow me on Twitter: @RachelGaffney or www.Rachelgaffney.blogspot.com

Ohio Irish American News: A Story from this Month’s Issue: Owens Sports

Ohio Irish American News: A Story from this Month’s Issue … Owens Harpo’s SportsCafe

Owens Sports
Katie Brings Home the Gold
Ireland’s Katie Taylor was everyone’s favorite to win the gold medal in her Olympic boxing event. It was hers to lose. She did us all proud in winning the grandest prize of them all and she quickly became Ireland’s golden girl, if not Ireland’s golden person. The Bray woman beat Russian southpaw Sofya Ochigava at the ExCel arena in London to become the second Irish boxer in the 101-year history of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association to win Olympic gold.

Taylor, who beat Ochigava in the 2012 AIBA World final in China and in the 2011 European final in Holland, won a 10-8 decision amid joyous scenes by the banks of the Thames. The victory bridges a 20-year gap since Michael Carruth won welterweight gold at the 1992 Games in Barcelona. Women’s boxing made its Olympic debut at London 2012 in three weight categories – flyweight, lightweight and middleweight.

The newly crowned Olympic champion said: “I dreamt of this moment so many times before. I just can’t believe it. Thank you Jesus for such a great victory today. I was the most nervous I’ve been before a fight. I had a knot in my stomach all day. Sofya is a fantastic boxer. Thanks to Sofya for a fantastic fight. It was such a close contest. I thought I landed the cleaner punches. Thank God for such a great victory.”Tommy Murphy, the President of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association, said: “Katie is a fantastic ambassador for the sport and she now has an Olympic gold medal to add to all the other honors she has won. She totally deserves this for all her hard work and dedication to the sport. This is a proud, proud day for Irish amateur boxing.”

Dominic O’Rourke, IABA Director of Boxing, added: “This is a proud day and a fantastic result for the clubs and the coaches and female boxers in Ireland. They will be inspired by this win and they are capable of doing the same because of the systems we have in place.” Pat Hickey, the President of the Olympic Council of Ireland, presented Taylor with gold at the medals ceremony.

Gaelic Football All-Ireland Football Final
September brings upon us the Irish Super Bowl, otherwise known as the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final. I will go out on a limb and say Donegal will win it all. If Dublin wins I can only imagine the kind words that one of Cleveland’s favorite Dubliners, Bob Foley, will have for me when he reads this or better still the cold shoulder I’ll get from all the Mayo fans (there are a few in Cleveland apparently) for not predicting a victory for the Green ‘N Red.

So what is the history of this Gaelic Football extravaganza? The first All-Ireland championship was played in 1887; the competition was played on an open draw knockout basis. The first two finalists were Limerick and Louth, with the former coming out as the first Champion. The game was played at Beech Hill, Clonskeagh, on the ground of St. Benburb’s Football Club. From 1888, the provincial system was introduced, whereby the counties in each of Ireland’s four provinces would play each other on a knockout basis to find provincial champions. These four champions would meet in the All-Ireland semi-finals. The structure was changed in 2001 to allow more games to be played but still retain provincial championships and the knockout structure.

It was not until 1913 that the Final was first played at Croke Park, Dublin – the present day headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association. Every final since has been played there except for one. In 1947 in an effort to help commemorate the 1847 Famine and the mass emigration to America, finalists Cavan and Kerry played at the Polo Grounds in New York City. Cavan ran out 4 point victors. Going into the 2008 season Kerry has won the most All Ireland titles, with 35; their most recent was 2007. Dublin is the only other team with double digit victories with 22, the last coming in 1995.

The trophy that each county plays for is named after Sam Maguire, who was a very important and influential figure in GAA circles in London who died in 1922. A group of friends raised enough money to have a trophy named after him to celebrate his dedication and efforts in promoting Gaelic Football. Kildare were the first county to actually win the Sam Maguire, when they beat Cavan in 1928.

All-Ireland Football Final September 23rd – Live Coverage
The final 2 teams for this year’s All-Ireland Football final will between the winner of Mayo-Dublin and Cork-Donegal, either way it will be sure to be a great game. A big question I get this time of the year is when’s the final? Who is showing it? Well if you are reading this prior to September 23rd then you are in luck, PJ McIntyre’s Irish Pub will be showing both the minor final and the men’s senior football final. Games will start around 9am and the pints will be flowing early along with one of the finest Irish breakfasts you’ll get this side of the Atlantic. There will be a nominal cover charge for admission.

Local Gaelic football club, Cleveland St Pat’s GFC, will also be holding a 50/50 drawing at half time along with a chance to win a signed Mayo jersey. Let’s hope Mayo make it to the final for one heck of a crowd. Check out www.pjmcintyres.com closer to the game for more details, or just show up at 9 o’clock on Sunday September 23rd

First last month’s question: Ireland will begin their campaign to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil in September, but when was the last time Ireland qualified for the World Cup and where was it held? 2002, when the Irish played at the games that were jointly hosted by Japan and South Korea. This was the World Cup when then captain Roy Keane famously argued with manager Mick McCarthy about their preparation and was subsequently sent home. The Irish would tie their first two games 1-1 with Cameroon and Germany and beat Saudi Arabia 3-0 to progress to the last 16 where they lost a heartbreaker to Spain 3-2 on penalty kicks.

This month’s question: When was the last time Donegal, Mayo, Dublin and Cork each won an All-Ireland Football Final?

*Mark Owens is originally from Derry City, Ireland and has resided in the Cleveland area since 2001 where he is employed by State Farm Insurance Companies. Mark is the Chairman of the 2013 North American Gaelic Games Finals to be held in Cleveland. Send questions, comments or suggestions for future articles to Mark at: markowens@ireland.com.

Ohio Irish American News: A Story from this Month’s Issue … Illuminations: Tory Island and the Wasp By: J. Michael Finn

Tory Island and the Wasp
By: J. Michael Finn

The sinking of the British warship HMS Wasp just off the south coast of Tory Island has never been solved. It occurred on September 22, 1844 and remains a mystery today.
First, a little background: Tory Island is one of Ireland’s least visited islands, and lies just nine miles off the north western coast of Donegal. Even in the best weather it is difficult to get to, and bad weather can often make it difficult to leave.
You will find Tory Island first mentioned in Irish Mythology. As the ancient tales relate, the island was the home of the Formorians, a race of giants (supposedly, a very rough bunch), who were ruled by King Balor of the Evil Eye. Balor had one eye in the middle of his forehead and the other one directly opposite in the back of his head. One glance from his evil eye meant certain death.
A prophesy dictated that Balor could only be killed by his own grandson. To prevent this prophesy from being fulfilled, Balor imprisoned his only daughter, Ethlinn, in a crystal tower on the eastern end of Tory Island so that no man could get to her. Despite his efforts at shielding Ethlinn from the world, Cain mac Cainte of the Tuatha de Danann, managed to reach the island and enter the tower. Through their union Lugh Lamhfada (Lugh of the Long Arm) was born. Lugh escaped Balor’s attempt to murder him as an infant on Tory Island and became a member of the Tuatha de Danann. He would become the chief god of the Celts.
In the second and final battle of Mag Tuireadh in County Roscommon, Lugh managed to smash out Balor’s eye with a sling and Balor fell dead. This battle marked the end of the Formorians and ushered in the rule of the Tuatha de Danann.
Later in history we find the island being Christianized by St. Colmcille. Local legend says that Colmcille stood on a hill in County Donegal with his companions Saints Fionán, Dubthach and Begley. As they stood there they discussed who would have the task of converting the Tory islanders to Christianity. They decided to resolve the question by throwing their crosiers. Whoever threw his crosier as far as the island would carry out the conversion.
Colmcille’s crosier landed on Tory Island, winning him the reward of converting the island. His crosier is said to have formed a crater on Tory’s northeast cliffs.
Colmcille founded a monastery on Tory in the 6th century. The monastery dominated life on the island until 1595, when it was plundered and destroyed by British troops, waging a war of suppression against local chieftains. The monastery’s round bell tower was built in the 6th Century and is the largest structure to survive. Parts of the tower and a unique stone Tau Cross are still in place.
The HMS Wasp was a Banterer-class 465 ton composite screw gunboat of the Royal Navy, built in 1880. She was commissioned on December 1, 1881.
The mystery of the Wasp began on an early September morning in 1844 when the she left Westport in County Mayo with instructions to sail up the coast to Moville, to pick up a party of police, bailiffs and court officials. Their orders: to conduct tenant evictions for non-payment of rent on Inishtrahull Island just off Malin Head.
The crew of the Wasp was familiar with the passage and the trip was going well. Disaster occurred at 3:45 am in the morning of September 22, 1844. The Wasp hit the rocks at Tory Island, near the lighthouse, and sank with the loss of fifty-two of the passengers and crew. There were only six survivors.
One of the surviving crewmen indicated that the Tory light had been seen from quite a distance prior to the tragedy. But, it seems that all was not well on board the Wasp. First, her boilers were shut down and she was only going by sail (this limited her ability to maneuver quickly). The reason for this has never been explained. Second, her course was set to take the ship between Tory Island and the mainland, when most captains would have gone around the outside of the island. Third, her senior officers were asleep with junior men at the helm in what was considered a potentially treacherous stretch of water.
How could a sound ship, in familiar waters and in good weather conditions, be lost on rocks at Tory Island? Afterwards, a Royal Navy inquiry found that HMS Wasp was lost “in consequence of the want of due care and attention…” No one was ever cited for blame, but other more bizarre rumors were circulating on Tory itself.
One story suggested the islanders turned Tory’s famous Cursing Stone against the vessel, thereby releasing sinister forces that doomed her to hit the rocks and sink.
It is true that Tory had a Cursing stone. The Tory cursing stone, Cloch na Mallacht, is believed to be linked to St. Colmcille and a pilgrimage route around the island called An Turas Mor. On the pilgrimage, islanders would stop at the various holy sites on Tory.
At the end of their walk, they would turn the stone upside down; an act intended to bring good fortune. However, a curse was invoked if the walk was done in a counterclockwise direction. Many believe the islanders used the Cursing Stone against the HMS Wasp for fear that Tory Island would be its next destination for tax collection and eviction. Oddly enough, no evictions ever took place on Inishtrahull or Tory in the years to come.
Fuel was added to the cursing theory when the Cursing Stone was reported to be missing shortly after the night of the Wasp tragedy. Many theories also abound as to the Cursing Stone’s whereabouts. It may have been buried locally or thrown into the sea, but all that remains today is its stone pedestal, known as Cloch Arclai.
But despite its mysterious mythological and historical heritage, the people of Tory Island are keeping alive the Irish traditions of language, music, storytelling and hard work. There are easier and safer places to live in Ireland, but the folks on Tory would not trade their remote island home for anywhere else.

*J. Michael Finn is the Ohio State Historian for the Ancient Order of Hibernians and Division Historian for the Patrick Pearse Division in Columbus, Ohio. He is also Chairman of the Catholic Record Society for the Diocese of Columbus, Ohio. He writes on Irish and Irish-American history; Ohio history and Ohio Catholic history. You may contact him at FCoolavin@aol.com.

Ohio Irish American News: A Story from this Month’s Issue: Commemorative Jersey & the All-Ireland Final Sunday.

The 2013 Cleveland Gaelic Games Commemorative Jersey
The North American Gaelic Games Finals will be held in Cleveland over Labor Day weekend 2013. To mark this special event the local organizing committee, led by IAN Ohio columnist Mark Owens, has released a special edition jersey, produced by the Irish sports company O’Neill’s, who have been a longtime supporter of the GAA. The jersey is a one of a kind, created to mark the Games being held in Cleveland. The front of the shirt features the name of Skylight Financial Group, who has given huge support to the games, in their position as the official title sponsor. The official logo of the 2013 Games is woven into the fabric, in a watermark style, making it even more unique.
If you would like to get your own jersey, details can be found on www.facebook.com/gaacleveland or markowens@ireland.com. The jersey is priced at only $50 (any size, from Kids 5/6 years to men’s XXXL. Christmas is coming, what a perfect time to get that special someone a special jersey. Proceeds from sales of the jerseys help offset costs in bringing the Games here next summer.