Irish News of Interest - June 2018

§     The American movie industry wouldn't be the same without the Irish.  There have been 14 Irish Oscar Winners. George Bernard Shaw is the only person to win a Nobel Prize and an Oscar.  Daniel Day Lewis is the only three-time Best Actor Oscar winner.  Peter O'Toole was nominated 9 times but never won the award.

§    U.S. seeks to abolish the position of Special Envoy to Northern Ireland.  This position played a key role in the success of the Irish peace process.  Senator George Mitchell held the position and chaired the talks which led to the Good Friday Agreement.  It has been 20 years since the Good Friday Agreement was signed in Northern Ireland.

§      Ireland has announced Project 2040 which is a vision for developing the country from now through 2040.  The development plan costs total $145 billion for strategic growth in the years ahead.

§      Spike Island in Cork Harbor was originally built as a military fortress.  It was turned into a prison in the 1800s.  At one point 2.5 thousand prisoners were incarcerated there making it the largest prison in the world.  A network of tunnels have been found on the island dating back to 1848.

§    Conor McGregor, who lost to Floyd Mayweather by a TKO in the 10th round in Las Vegas last August.  He revealed his plans to launch his own brand of whiskey.  He predicts "Notorious Irish Whiskey" will take over the Irish whiskey market.

§    Pierce Brosnan stars in a new movie "The Fugitive" about an IRA bombing which kills the daughter of a man who was refused help in identifying the killers and decides to seek justice by himself.  The film was released on October 13, 2017.

§   Kevin Vickers was the Sergeant at Arms at the Canadian House of Commons when he killed the gunman who attacked in 2014.  Vickers now serves as Canada's Ambassador to Ireland.  He claims his Irish residence is haunted by Patrick Pearse.

§      Loyalists burned an effigy of Martin McGuinness on a bonfire in East Belfast on July 12.  This is the day that Loyalists celebrate the victory in the Battle of the Boyne.

§      The White House plans to end J-1 visas which allow graduate students to study in the U.S. for a year.  The program has been in existence since 1966.

§      After 37 years a towering peace wall between a Loyalist area and a republican area in West Belfast was torn down in September 2017.  It is a sign of reconciliation in Northern Ireland society.

§      The cost of the average house in Dublin is $472,000.  The average house nationally costs $245,000.

§    An ancient Irish ring fort has been discovered near Newbridge, County Kildare.  It is located on private property so further study is limited.

§    Mary Lou Mac Donald is the new Sinn Fein leader who replaced Gerry Adams.  She predicts the party will see a united Ireland soon.

§      The Aran Fisherman Sweater is making a comeback this winter.

§      Father Flanagan's Boy's Town was established in 1917.  It recently celebrated its 100-year anniversary.

§      The Canary Islands are the most popular vacation destination for retired Irish citizens.

§   Divorce did not become legal in Ireland until 1995.  Previous attempts to legalize divorce were rejected.

§      In Northern Ireland, 11% of the population is born outside the country.  In the Republic, 17% were born outside the country.

§      The 2018 Milwaukee Irish Fest Summer School will occur on August 13-17.  Check website for class schedule.