I had the pleasure of hearing Globe columnist and author James Carroll at a BC High lecture recently. The former Paulist priest's latest book is Practicing Catholic in which he explores the history and development of the institutional church and his concerns about the failure of renewal started at the Second Vatican Council. Read more
By Joe Leary, special to the BIR, November 1, 2009
Though the general economy in Ireland is causing severe problems today, two to three years from now we may be looking at a far stronger country than would be the case if the Irish had not gone through these difficult times. Read more
By Robert P. Connolly, special to the BIR, November 1, 2009
It could be, as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown puts it, "the final piece in the jigsaw" puzzle. And, in this case, it is a rather expensive piece, indeed. If it is, however, the piece that makes the whole Northern puzzle knit together, then it will be well worth the cost. Read more
By Greg O'Brien, special to the BIR, October 9, 2009
In a perfect world, one might assume that when he was growing up, the celebrated Boston Globe sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy played catch with his dad every summer day and went to Fenway Park so often that the crease in his pants ran sideways. But Shaughnessy does not live in a perfect world, and never did, in spite of a career and celebrity for which many of us, in a weedy moment, might consider a Faustian pact. Read more
By Peter F. Stevens, special to the BIR, October 1, 2009
Michael Lonergan, Ireland's new Consul General to Boston, began his tenure here in a way none of his predecessors in the post had experienced. In an interview at the Consulate, he sat down with the BIR to talk about his memorable first days on the job, his first impressions of his new post, and his goals in the months to come. Read more
Irish citizens faced a critical choice early this month and they bolstered the country's status in the European Union with a resounding vote in favor of accepting the "Lisbon Treaty" amendments to the European Union Charter just 16 months after rejecting the proposition and putting that status in peril. Read more
By Thomas Keown, special to the BIR, October 1, 2009
It wasn't supposed to happen. It was by accident, or maybe providence. Truth be told, I never liked children all that much. Or, more to the point, they never liked me. But it all started with something I like enormously: a holiday. Read more
By Tom Mulvoy, BIR Staff, special to the BIR, September 1, 2009
These are parlous times in the news profession, print division. No one is sure where things are headed as newspaper proprietors work at fashioning a 21st century business model that will link news gathering and advocacy, advertising, circulation/readership, and the marvels of the World Wide Web to remake the profitable entrepreneurial approach that sustained the golden era of ink-on-paper journalism for most publishers over the last 100 years. Read more
By Robert P. Connolly, special to the BIR, September 1, 2009
For more than a quarter of a century, the Irish republican party, Sinn Fein, has had a clear and undisputed leader, Gerry Adams.
To be sure, Adams has had a leadership partner, Martin McGuinness, but fundamentally, it has been understood that Adams received top billing – he was the party president, the thinker, the charismatic speaker, the international media star. Read more
I am at an age where a few of my friends have lost their wives. The period of adjustment appears deeper and longer than for wives who lose their husbands. But then I've always believed that women alone are more independent and self-sufficient than men.
Women play a much larger and important role in extended relationships than men are inclined to publicly acknowledge. Most men also believe it is in the natural order of things that they will be the first to die, so they don't prepare for the loss of a spouse.
Coming home to an empty house in the weeks following a loss is depressing. Even worse is not having something to do and someplace to go; the important distraction that work can provide for a few hours.
Work provides a comforting routine and the opportunity to focus on things other than that all- pervasive sense of loss. Without the defenses that work, family, and activity provide, one can sink from loneliness through depression to despair.
Women are more resilient. They are more comfortable talking about their feelings and sharing their experiences. Male blustering notwithstanding, we need them more then they need us.
Daughters sense this more than sons and normally take the initiative in circling the family wagons around their father after the loss of their mother. That coming together, rallying to support one another in time of loss, is one of the more compelling expressions of love.
For older men, the loss of companionship is subtle. Just knowing that the one you have shared so much with in life is there can be an enormous comfort. That familiarity does not require much conversation or attention. Call it history or routine; it is an important component of mature love.
I feel better when my wife is home. Given that we have shared so much of our lives for so long, just knowing she is there is enough. It would be more of a struggle for me to fill that void. She is more resourceful.
I have observed a close friend who lost his wife a year-and-a-half ago go through this process. He is now at the difficult stage of trying to partly fill the void by identifying a companion with whom he could enjoy some of life's simple pleasures: going out to dinner, taking a trip.
It isn't easy. His wife set the bar very high and he is not inclined to lower his standards. Having made those inevitable adjustments over decades that make for a successful and happy relationship, the idea of beginning again must be daunting.
My father lost my mother 14 years before he died. I wish he had found someone to fill the many lonely hours he experienced in the years following her death.
The blending of two histories can be awkward; a lot of baggage is accumulated over the years. It is not the same as starting early and sharing the same experiences. Read more
By Greg O'Brien, special to the BIR, September 1, 2009
An old Irish proverb graces Bridget Shaheen's modest office in Lawrence: "It is in the shelter of each other that the people live." In the shelter of Lazarus House Ministries on humble Holly Street, executive director Shaheen, who walks the Christian talk on how to love, oversees the provision of immediate support, food, training, shelter, and medical and dental care to those who have none in this working class city of immigrants that ranks the poorest in New England. Some 84 percent of its public schoolchildren live below the poverty line, 53 percent of its high school students are classified as dropouts, and half the adults in the community have no secondary school diploma, perpetuating the distressing cycle. Read more
By Robert P. Connolly, special to the BIR, August 2, 2009
While the season has not taken Northern Ireland to brink of civil war, as happened all too often during the turbulent 1990s, this summer certainly illustrates that many tensions, sectarian and otherwise, continue to bubble in the Northern cauldron. Read more
The old man sits at the window looking out as the rain traces patterns as the drops glide across the pane. This has become his world.
Once he inhabited the land beyond the glass but time and infirmity now confine him to a small apartment. Far removed from what once was a full and active life, he sits alone most days with his memories and the slice of the outside world framed by the window. Read more