Playing the President

Brendan Gleeson as Trump on Showtime, and Martin Sheen’s West Wing Reunion on HBO Max. Irish actor Brendan Gleeson is widely acknowledged as one of the finest, most versatile performers of his generation. But it’s a safe bet that roughly half of his audience is not going to like him in his latest role. That’s because Gleeson is slated to play the most polarizing political figure of the...

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Keeping Children Safe

As a spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Sean O’Leary talks about the impact of coronavirus on school openings. In this interview with Tom Deignan, he also talks about his heritage and the traditions that helped shaped his identity. Dr. Sean O’Leary has vivid memories of lively family reunions from his youth, which took place in lesser-known Irish...

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From left: House Speaker Tip O’Neill, President Ronald Reagan, John Hume, senator Ted Kennedy and then Irish minister for foreign affairs Peter Barry, on Capitol Hill, Washington DC, in 1984.
Photo: Irish Times

Reagan Democrats, Biden Time, and The Irish Swing Vote

If things were never simple they are even more complicated now, when we talk about the “Irish vote” as the 2020 presidential election nears. A 2017 Newsweek headline put it bluntly: “Why are all the conservative loudmouths Irish American.” The short answer: Um, they’re not. The longer answer: It’s complicated. But 2020 may finally be the year we recognize the many shades of green out...

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Irish in Government 2020 Collage
U.S. Senator Susan Collins (ME), Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Senator Tom Kaine, former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan,
Former Vice President and Presidential candidate Joe Biden, retired U.S. Marine Corp Lieutenant Colonel and Senate candidate Amy McGrath (KY).

Crossing Over

Beginning in the 1930s, the Irish became more visible in the ranks of Republicans, disrupting decades-old loyalties writes Robert Schmuhl From the time of the Great Hunger through the early decades of the 20th century, the American Irish tended to be nearly as faithful to the Democratic Party as to the Catholic Church. Big-city political organizations worked with machine-like efficiency,...

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participants and crowd at the first inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln, at the U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. Lincoln is standing under the wood canopy, at the front, midway between the left and center posts. His face is in shadow but the white shirt front is visible.  (Wikipedia/Library of Congress).

Lincoln’s New Party, Anti-Irish and Anti-Slavery

An excerpt from “Lincoln and the Irish: The Untold Story of How the Irish Helped Abraham Lincoln Save the Union,” by Irish America publisher, Niall O’Dowd.

By 1856, the Whig party Lincoln belonged to had destroyed itself over slavery and the violence of the Know-Nothings, an extremist group of nativists with a deep hatred of immigrants and Catholics that existed as an independent force but who were much closer to the Whigs and later the new Republican Party.  Lincoln by then was well steeped in Irish culture, history, and politics. It was...

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