Professor Al Gillespie in the Slate Yard – the site of Valentia Island’s “buried treasure.” Photo: Stephanie Buffum Field

Valentia Island’s Buried Treasure

Buried treasure on a remote Irish island, the descendants of a 13th-century Knight and a 19th century American entrepreneur – and the birth of the modern communications industry. It’s not the plot of some barely-believable potboiler, but the real-life back story behind a bid to have the small island of Valentia – off the coast of south west Ireland – recognized formally as one of the...

Mary Josephine McEvoy. Courtesy of Dermot McEvoy.

My Mother the Imposter:
A Roots Mystery

A search through Dermot McEvoy’s family history revealed an eye-opening secret. Here’s what he discovered, plus a guide to researching your own Irish ancestors. (This article has been updated since its original publication to reflect the most recent re-location of the General Registry Office.) Mary Josephine Kavanagh was born in Dublin on March 18, 1907. She was my mother, or so I thought,...

Seamus Heaney at the National Library of Ireland. Photo by Lar Boland.

Seamus Heaney Donates Papers to Library of Ireland

The National Library of Ireland has become the new home to Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney’s collection of literary papers. “I’m overwhelmed at the number of people that the library has brought in to celebrate this moment and I’m deeply indebted and deeply honoured,” said Heaney at a reception held in the reading room of the National Library on December 21. Among  those who attended the...

Muireann Arthurs, Queen of Puck Fair coronates a wild mountain goat as King Puck, with goatcatcher Frank Joy.

Puck Fair: Ireland’s Oldest Festival

Co. Kerry celebrates the 398th Puck Fair Every August since 1613 (or possibly earlier) the Co. Kerry town of Killorglin has given itself over to the idiosyncratic joys and celebration of the Puck Fair Festival, and this year was no exception. From August 10 – 12, Killorglin residents and visitors were granted the “Freedom of the Town” by the young Queen of Puck Fair and her goat companion,...


A Glimpse of Ireland Past

Sharon Ni Choncuir discovers that ‘Romantic Ireland’ is still alive. ‘Romantic Ireland is dead and gone.  
It’s with O’Leary in the grave.’ This was Yeats’ lament in the Ireland of 1914 and it was often repeated during the Celtic Tiger years. In our frantic quest for materialistic modernity, Ireland and its people were said to have forsaken the traditions of the past. But...