Salt Spring Island:
The Land of Fairies

British Columbia’s oldest working farm, founded by Irishman Henry Ruckle in 1872, has turned into something of a fairy land. ℘℘℘ Between a visionary immigrant farmer and an unknown planter of “fairy doors,” Salt Spring Island has liberal lashings of Irish magic, and that’s not counting a coastline that would put you in mind of Ireland’s rugged west. Henry Ruckle, who left Ireland...

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The Celtic Heart of North America

For nine days in October, Cape Breton Island is home to a unique celebration of music and culture, with the finest of storytellers, musicians, and dancers from around the globe taking part in the festivities. John Kernaghan was there, awash in nostalgia. ℘℘℘ The estrangement ran for more than 45 years, but when a vagrant Irish heart landed on the shores of Cape Breton, love was restored....

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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