First Word: The Dreamer of Dreams
“We are the music makers / And we are the dreamers of dreams, / Wandering by lone sea-breakers, / And sitting by desolate streams; / World-losers and world-forsakers, / On whom the pale moon gleams: / Yet we are the movers and shakers / Of the world for ever, it seems.
– “The Music Makers” by Arthur O’Shaughnessy
Welcome to our annual Business 100 issue. Congratulations to all our honorees. You are part of a mighty group of Irish who are world leaders on the national and global business stage.
You ply your trade in so many different areas of industry, and come from so many different backgrounds and skill sets – you are a wonder to behold.
From Irish-born to fifth-generation: our past and present is celebrated in your stories, in your quotes on your ancestors, and what your heritage means to you. It is heartening to see that the connection to Ireland is strong after so much time has passed.
One of our honorees, Peter Murphy, is the descendant of Thomas Addis Emmet, who together with his brother, Robert Emmet, led the United Irishmen Rebellion of 1798 – that’s how far back we go. While Robert was hanged by the British, Thomas escaped and became a well-respected New York lawyer and politician. We will not forget their contribution, nor those of your ancestors that made our future brighter.
We are pleased, at our upcoming Business 100 luncheon, to give our Dreamers of Dreams Award (named for the Arthur O’Shaughnessy poem), to an Irish-born builder, Mike Clune, who is based in Chicago. We honor Mike, not just for building houses that take low-income families into account, but for building dreams, and through the Irish American Partnership, helping kids back home achieve an education so that they too can dream big. He is the embodiment of generations of Irish who worked in the building trade. They were and are following in the footprints, or rather blueprints, of Louis Henry Sullivan, “The Father of the Skyscraper.” Louis, the son of Irish immigrants, forever changed the landscape of America. We are proud to bring you his story in this issue.
Turning to our cover story on Paul Boskind, we brings you a new kind of Irishman, one of the many who have discovered that they are Irish through a DNA test. Having grown up in San Antonio, Texas, knowing nothing about his O’Shea ancestors, Paul has already made a big contribution to Ireland. He bought, and is renovating, a 15th-century castle in rural County Galway. The castle once belonged to the O’Kelly clan, who had at one time 80 castles in Galway and its surrounds. Many of the clan left for Europe after the Siege of Limerick in 1691, as part of the Wild Geese. It’s wonderful that Boskind, with such a recent connection, has an appreciation for the history and beauty of the Clonbrock, and is bringing it back to its former glory.
The O’Kelly clan are still remembered in Ireland for the “Welcome of the O’Kellys.” They were good landlords and wonderful hosts. Centuries ago, in 1351, Chieftain Buí O’Kelly invited all the poets and writers in the land to his castle for a party that lasted a month. Given Boskind’s involvement in the arts, his social and political savvy as a fundraiser, and the legendary fundraisers he often hosts in his Manhattan penthouse, I believe that there will be many good times to come at Clonbrock Castle.
Boskind says that he finds Ireland “refreshing.” I had never heard anyone say that about my Ireland, unless they were referring to the weather – the “fresh” breezes blowing in off the Atlantic, perhaps – but it was good to consider Ireland from the perspective of a global human rights activist, and to acknowledge that our small island is embracing the question of what it means to be human over what it means to be Irish. We have come a long way – who ever anticipated that Ireland would become a gay wedding destination? Perhaps one day soon, having had our first gay Taoiseach of Indian heritage, we will see a female Taoiseach (the title, which means “chieftain,” I’m told, is gender-neutral).
In the meantime, we have many wonderful features in this issue that embrace the past and applaud the present. Happy reading!
Mórtas Cine – Patricia ♦