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Boston Irish Commentary

Ireland’s population surges to highest level in 150 years

By Joe Leary, Special to the BIR, special to the BIR, July 29, 2011

By Joe Leary
Special to the BIR

The population of Ireland before the famine was a little over 8 million people. Many thought this was an over-population that was at least partly responsible for the tragedy.

Now there are predictions that, despite the impact of the recession, an 8-million population number on the island of Ireland is within the foreseeable future. Read more

My big brother is turning 70

By Tom Mulvoy , special to the BIR, July 29, 2011

Mark (left) and Tom MulvoyMark (left) and Tom MulvoyBy Tom Mulvoy
Reporter Staff

My older brother, first in a line of the five children of Tom and Julia (Harrington) Mulvoy, turns 70 next month, the patriarch of an American Irish clan whose gritty founders lived in smoky huts far from any mansion’s candles, working the stubborn land in villages named Moycullen, Rosscahill, and Oughterard, and fishing the nearby waters of Lough Corrib some 20 miles outside Galway City.

From this milieu and over the Atlantic to Somerville, Massachusetts, emerged my father, then 12, only son of a widowed mother and big brother to three sisters. For all four of the immigrant Mulvoys, a strong commitment to the values of family life brooked no exceptions. “When you are older and need a hand, or maybe get in trouble,” my Dad used to preach to his four sons and his daughter from the head of the dinner table,” the only ones who will care will be your family, especially this one. Don’t ever forget that.”

Given that background, I want to take up the relationship of big brother/little brother that has obtained between the one-time Skippy Mulvoy and his brother Tommy since 1943, the year the latter joined the former in the back bedroom on the first floor of 22 Lonsdale Street, a two-decker in the heart of Dorchester. Read more

‘Luck of the Irish’ abounds tee to green: Northern Ireland is now 'world capital of golf'

By Peter Stevens, special to the BIR, July 29, 2011

By Peter F. Stevens
BIR Staff

“Darren Clarke – the first Northern Irish golfer to win a major in almost four weeks.” The words were those of Graeme McDowell, the gifted Northern Irish golfer who won the 2010 U.S. Open, on Twitter following Clarke’s stunning triumph at the 2011 British Open.

From Rory McIlroy, the 22-year-old Holywood, Co. Down, native who stormed to victory in June at Congressional in one of the most dominating performances in U.S. Open history (all done in the wake of a final-round collapse that cost him the Masters in April), came the jubilant proclamation that Northern Ireland has become the “world capital of golf.” Read more

Overheard at the Eire Pub

By Anonymous, July 5, 2011

By James W. Dolan
Special to the Reporter

“The Republicans want to cut spending to reduce the budget deficit,” says Michael, “but they refuse to consider tax increases.”

“You can be sure the reductions will affect the likes of us,” says Rory, “they’ll be going after Medicare, Social Security, public works projects, research, and education.”

“It’s a mess. Four years ago I took the family back to the old country to ride the Celtic Tiger; figuring we’d be better off there. Then the tiger turned into a mouse that roared; the bottom fell out and here we are back in the USA. Try to figure.”
“Well, Rory, at least we’ve got the old Eire, where a man can share a pint and a story or two with friends.” Read more

BELFAST POWER STRUGGLE: Violence Surprises Leaders

By Joe Leary, special to the BIR, July 5, 2011

Masked loyalists attack Belfast neighborhood in late June / PhotopressbelfastMasked loyalists attack Belfast neighborhood in late June / Photopressbelfast Read more

Make No Mistake: Torture Degrades Everyone Involved

By Anonymous, June 3, 2011

With the death of Osama bin Laden, the debate about “enhanced interrogation” techniques has heated up. I wonder whether the Gestapo referred to it as the German equivalent of enhanced interrogation when they tortured prisoners during World War II. Read more

McAleese Hails ‘Renaissance Man’ Garret FitzGerald: Fine Gael Prime Minister dead at 85; Helped Set Stage for ‘98 Peace Accord

By Shawn Pogatchnik, Associated Press, special to the BIR, June 3, 2011

Garret FitzGerald: AP PhotoAP PhotoDUBLIN — Garret FitzGerald, a beloved figure who as Ireland’s prime minister in the 1980s was an early architect for peace in neighboring Northern Ireland, died on Thurs., May 19, in a Dublin hospital, the government and his family announced. He was 85. Read more

Of Torture and the Problem of Good and Evil: Congressman Peter King’s Selective Memory Speaks for Many in Boston and Beyond

By Peter F. Stevens, Reporter Staff, special to the BIR, June 3, 2011

Peter King / AP Pool PhotoPeter King / AP Pool PhotoWaterboarding, sensory deprivation, beatings, and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” – are these viable and morally justifiable means to an end in the struggle against terrorism? Does a nation’s ongoing struggle against those who unleash terrorist attacks against civilians justify torture to stop such unbridled evil? A great many people I’ve spoken to in these parts agree with Long Island Congressman Peter King, whose answer is a strident “yes.” Read more

A Queen and a President Leave Irish Eyes Smiling

By Joe Leary, special to the BIR, June 2, 2011

It was remarkable, really. Both visits, Queen Elizabeth’s and President Obama’s, were triumphant victories for the Irish people. What small country has the power to attract as much investment, tourism, and attention as Ireland? This magical island and its people deserve all the good fortune that the United States and the United Kingdom shower upon it. Read more

No Relaxing in Northern Ireland; Trouble Continues to Haunt Region

By Joe Leary, special to the BIR, May 6, 2011

BY JOE LEARY
SPECIAL TO THE BIR
After nearly ninety years, so many deaths, and so much anger and sorrow, the tragic partitioning of Ireland in 1922 and the violence it created remain the chief causes of deep community hostility across Northern Ireland.
For the casual visitor, the tension is not so apparent, but at night, otherwise healthy communities, both Catholic and Protestant, live behind 12- to 30-foot high walls to protect themselves from the other side. Fear rules the streets after dark, especially in areas where the two communities live close to each other. There are now 140 of these walls, perhaps as many as 60 more than was the case before the “Good Friday” Peace agreement was signed. The walls are encouraged and paid for by a Government anxious to keep peace regardless of the cost. Residents welcome the walls for the feeling of security they provide. Read more

It was a Bitter Cup of Tea Then, and the Same is True Today

By Peter Stevens, special to the BIR, May 6, 2011

I’m begging anyone in these parts with green bloodlines to please put down the “tea.” Every time anyone in or around Boston, or the rest of Massachusetts, imbibes the Tea Party brew, a historical fog envelops him or her. The lessons of the past evaporate, the concoction’s residue a soggy, sorry blend of simplistic bromides, cultural, racial, and ethnic epithets, and distortion of the past. Read more

Blessed ‘Bongo’ – Man, Priest, Teacher

By Ed Forry, May 6, 2011

BY JAMES W. DOLAN
SPECIAL TO THE REPORTER
This is the season of acceptances and rejections when high school seniors experience the joy of victory or the agony of defeat when the dreaded envelopes arrive.
My oldest grandchild, a senior at BC High, applied to about 10 colleges and, unlike me, got into most of them. It looks like he will be studying engineering at Notre Dame next year. Read more

A Look on the Bright Side for the Future of Ireland

By Ed Forry, April 2, 2011

By Joe Leary
Special to the BIR
Even before the recent elections, there were abundant signs that the people of Ireland are surviving and doing well. Media stories in Europe and the United States portray Ireland as a stricken country. It isn’t!
A recent trip to Dublin found the city streets full of busy people hurrying along, getting on with their normal lives. Read more

As the lingering winter eases off …

By Ed Forry, April 2, 2011

By James W. Dolan
Special to the Reporter
The snow lingers. Will this winter ever end?
This year Mother Nature took a swipe at global warming by sending us a blast from the past. Winter wrapped around us with an intensity that shouted: “Not so soon, I’m still around.” Read more

The Tale of My Left Foot

By Ed Forry, March 1, 2011

By James W. Dolan
Special to the Reporter
My left foot greets me from the end of a cast that stretches from my thigh to my heel. I can see it, feel it, and even wiggle my toes, but it might as well be on the moon should I try to reach it.
A skiing accident might give my condition some style; but no such luck. I went down on ice as I exited my back door to feed the birds. While I was able to get up and hobble on my right leg, I knew I had injured something. Read more

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