Irish News of Interest - April 2017

§       Martin McGuinness, a Northern Ireland leader, died on March 21, 2017 at the age of 66.  McGuinness was an IRA commander who fought British soldiers in the streets.  He sought to unify Ireland through violence. McGuinness became a peacemaking politician who went on to serve as Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister.

§       Ireland was officially declared the Republic of Ireland and left the British Commonwealth on April 18, 1948.

§       The election for seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly took place on March 3.  Sinn Fein has shown a surge in support as ballots were being counted indicating solid gains for Sinn Fein.

§       A mass grave has been found containing the remains of young children at a former Catholic orphanage in Tuam.  Excavations at the site found an underground structure containing human remains.  The Tuam home closed in 1961.  Nearly 800 death certificates were located but only one burial record.

§     Pope Francis has plans to visit Ireland in August 2018.  He will visit Mountjoy Prison or Our Lady's Hospice.

§       Scientists at Trinity College are believed to have made a breakthrough as to the cause of autism.

§       Undocumented Irish in the U.S. are worried about President Trump's immigration policies and fear the worse. Many have been driven further underground.

§    Homelessness in Ireland has reached its highest level since the Great Famine.  It is estimated to have reached 25,000.

§     A houseboat from Canada washed up on Ireland's west coast near Ballyglass, County Mayo on November 13, 2016. The houseboat broke loose from its mooring a few months earlier.  It was last seen in Portugal Cove, Newfoundland.

§       Kerrygold butter is produced and packaged in Ireland.  It is prohibited from being sold in Wisconsin.  It is available in Illinois which brings back memories of purchases of oleo in years past.  The current law does not affect the sales of Kerrygold cheese. 

§       An Irish pilot was the first to fly across the Atlantic Ocean from east-to-west.  James Fitzmaurice took off from Dublin on April 12, 1928.  He flew through harsh weather and had compass issues.  He crashed on Canada's Greely Island on April 13. The plane was slightly damaged and everyone was safe.  The plane is now owned by the Henry Ford Museum but is on display at the Bremen Airport Museum in Germany.

§       It is estimated that as many as 400,000 Irish citizens served in the British armed forces during World War II.  Many were recruited into the Royal Air Force and Churchill actually ordered that a Shamrock Wing be formed.  Volunteers of the Irish Free State won more decorations for valor than those of Canada.

§       The Pfizer drug Viagra is produced in a small village called Ringaskiddy in County Cork.

§       A street in Queens, New York City was renamed "Easter Rising Way" in November 2016 in honor of the revolution in Ireland 100 years ago.  The street is in the heart of the Irish community and a short distance from Celtic Park.

§       Ireland had to endure 20 years of non-stop rain back in 2345 BC - about the time of Noah’s biblical flood.  It was caused by a large volcanic eruption which filled the atmosphere with dust reflecting the sunlight way from the earth.

§       A waterfront retreat on Mermaid Isle in southern County Kerry might be a property you dreamed of.  It has 4000 feet of shoreline and a guest cottage.  It includes 25 acres of forest, a private island, two outdoor hot tubs and an atrium. The asking price is $3.4 million.

§       Actress Jane Russell and football star Bob Waterfield adopted a child from Derry.  Both Russell and Waterfield are deceased and the adopted son lives in Arizona.

§   John Brennan had a 25-year career with the CIA as a spy serving both Republican and Democratic presidents.  He speaks fluent Arabic.  His parents emigrated from County Roscommon.

§       "Black 47" is a movie based in Ireland and set in 1847 during the years of the Great Famine.  Filming began in Connemara, Kildare and Wicklow in December 2016. 

§       Sean Hannity is a descendant of poor Irish grandparents who immigrated from Counties Down and Cork.  Forbes estimates that Hannity earns $29 million from Fox News.