Peace at last in Northern Ireland?

Though political tensions linger, the Northern Ireland Assembly is up and running and both communities are working together for the future. The Reverend Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Gerry Adams, president of Sinn Féin, sat down together before the world’s media on March 26 to announce that they would form a power-sharing executive at Stormont. The fact that a...

Niall O'Dowd, Founding Publisher of irish America magazine

Bliss to Be Alive

Belfast: “Bliss it was to be alive” the poet William Wordsworth once wrote. It felt like that in Belfast on Tuesday, May 8th. What the world thought was once impossible was suddenly live before my very eyes. The Reverend Ian Paisley, the paragon of hardline Protestantism, and Martin McGuinness, the former IRA leader, were walking down the ornate stairway of Stormont Castle together, flanked...

Photo by Laura Beitman

The Old Sod Blooms at Philly Flower Show

It wasn’t merely the classic ‘bit of the auld sod’ when the Legends of Ireland commanded center stage at the Philadelphia Flower Show in early March. It was an attempt by North America’s largest garden showcase (and at 178 years, the world’s longest running) to mirror the Irish landscape as well as polished gardens in an indoor setting. Some 258,000 visitors (up 18,000 from 2006) were...

Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Henry VIII with Omagh-born Sam Neill as Cardinal Thomas Wolsey in Showtime's Tudors

Irish Eye on Hollywood

The Tribeca Film Festival opened in late April, and Cillian Murphy’s latest effort was among the films featured. Watching the Detectives, which teams the Cork-born Murphy with Lucy Liu, was screened several times during the two-week fest, which closed May 6. Watching the Detectives is a romantic comedy directed by newcomer Paul Soter, who also wrote the script. Murphy – whose increasingly...

October 15, 1919: Eamon de Valera prepares to plant the short-lived “Tree of Liberty” at Notre Dame.

De Valera’s “Tree of Liberty” at Notre Dame

Captured in May 1918 and imprisoned in Lincoln Prison, England, Eamon de Valera, Ireland’s future president, escaped in dramatic fashion on February 3, 1919. Fearing the propaganda boost his re-arrest would provide England, the IRA dispatched de Valera to the United States. His mission was to acquire official U.S. support for Irish independence, and raise funds. He traveled through the States...