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Breaking News
Aug. 29, 2014

In what is expected to be a triumphal return to the birthplace of his parents, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh will head for Ireland this month. It will be his first out of country visit since his election last November.

The mayor leaves Boston for Shannon on Thursday night, Sept. 18 for a ten-day visit to the Emerald Isle. His itinerary includes five days with his Irish relatives in Connemara in his parents’ home villages of Rosmuc and Carna. Walsh plans visits to Dublin, Donegal, and Derry, and will make a presentation at a Belfast conference on September 25.

Around Town
Aug. 1, 2014

Mayor Martin Walsh, IFest Boston founder Rachel Kelly and chef Barabara Lynch are key players in bringing September’s three-day festival to the Seaport/World Trade Center on Boston’s waterfront. Photo by Dan WatkinsMayor Martin Walsh, IFest Boston founder Rachel Kelly and chef Barabara Lynch are key players in bringing September’s three-day festival to the Seaport/World Trade Center on Boston’s waterfront. Photo by Dan Watkins

IFest Boston — a three-day festival that will gather the “Best of Ireland” in the heart of the city’s Seaport district —will take place at Boston’s Seaport World Trade Center from Sept. 26 to Sept. 28. The first-of-its-kind event is expected to draw big crowds to the waterfront venue to showcase the best of Irish food and drink, top musicians, and entertainers— all in an effort to draw more tourists back to Ireland and re-energize cultural and business ties between Boston and Ireland.

Here and There
Aug. 1, 2014

First-Ever Minister for the Diaspora – Enda Kenny’s coalition government has answered the hopes and aspirations of the Irish living abroad by appointing to the cabinet the first minister of state for the diaspora. The new position has been the goal of the overseas Irish for decades, and is viewed largely as an ombudsman post for the Irish abroad and an activist voice for voting rights and immigration reform.

Arts and entertainment
Aug. 1, 2014

Sharon ShannonSharon Shannon

Sharon Shannon has played with the likes of The Waterboys, Christy Moore, Jackson Browne, Frankie Gavin, Michael McGoldrick, Sinead O’Connor, and the RTE Concert Orchestra, among others, while taking her masterful Irish accordion playing (not to mention fiddle and whistle) on excursions through Appalachian, country, rock, hip-hop, reggae and Portuguese music. She has performed for Bill Clinton and Lech Walesa, and appeared in a charming music video frolicking with her dogs.
This month, the Clare native will be stopping in the Boston area for shows on Aug. 6 and 7 at The Burren in Somerville as part of the pub’s Backroom series, and on Aug. 8 at the Irish Cultural Centre of New England in Canton. She recently spoke with the BIR’s Sean Smith.

Traveling People
Aug. 1, 2014

By Judy Enright
Special to the BIR

Every year, the Irish Tourist Board chooses a special theme to promote the many plusses of this stunning country. One year, the focus was on spas, spa treatments, and places that offered spa packages. Last year it was “The Gathering,” and this year, the emphasis is on “The Wild Atlantic Way,” a recommended driving route that skims along the glorious Western seaboard for 1,600 miles from the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal to Kinsale in Co. Cork.

Jul. 30, 2014

GAA North American Championships come to Canton this monthGAA North American Championships come to Canton this monthBoston’s Northeast Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) has been a focal point for the Irish community in the area for years. Offering locals the opportunity to play a variety of Gaelic sports including Gaelic Football and Hurling, the GAA has numerous teams in the Boston area in addition to teams who come from as far as Maine, New Hampshire, and Connecticut to participate in the Boston Northeast division.

The Northeast GAA season runs from April to Labor Day weekend, with between 140 to 170 games played each year. All games are played live on the grounds of the Irish Cultural Center in Canton and are very well attended by folks looking to connect with a piece of Ireland here in Massachusetts.

Publisher's Notes
Aug. 1, 2014

An Irish bicyclist who suffered severed head injuries in a collision with a van on Cape Cod last summer has entered a second year of therapy, and his family is hopeful that he will one day resume a measure of independent life.

BIR History
Aug. 1, 2014

“They” might have wondered whether five male judges sitting on the United States Supreme Court of 2014 are wearing black robes or cassocks. “They” were the Know-Nothing Party of the 1840s-1850s America, the driving force of a Nativist movement that loathed not only the Irish and other immigrants, but also, and especially, all things Roman Catholic. They feared that if too many Catholics flooded “Anglo America,” the pope would soon be calling the shots in the United States on political, religious, cultural, and social matters. Perhaps historical irony doesn’t fit the question neatly, but a historical playback does offer food for thought: How would the anti-Catholic Nativists of yesteryear grapple with the fact that some 160 years after their heyday high court justices who are both conservative and Roman Catholic are laying down the law of the land – literally so?

From the Bench
Aug. 1, 2014

Will evolution keep pace with the challenges we face, or will inequality, global warming, population, and pollution overwhelm us? Right now it seems we are losing the battle.

There is ample evidence that evolution is an ongoing process. The advances in science, technology, and production over the last century are obvious. Some progress is also evident in civil rights, tolerance, and social justice. We are getting smarter, but are we getting better?

Jul. 21, 2014

Mayor Martin Walsh: Will visit Ireland for 10 days in September.Mayor Martin Walsh: Will visit Ireland for 10 days in September.Confirming plans reported on last spring, Mayor Martin Walsh says he will make a ten-day visit to his parents' homeland in September – his first visit to Ireland since his electoral victory last November made him the city's first Irish-American mayor in two decades. Walsh’s visit will have a heavy Galway accent, including a side trip to Connemara to see cousins, with stops in Donegal, Derry, Belfast, and Dublin also on the schedule. He is tentatively scheduled to leave Boston on Sept. 19.

“The overall goal of this trip is to support Boston's economic development through building relationships and strengthening our commercial and cultural link with Ireland,” said Kate Norton, a spokesperson for the mayor.

The visit will certainly come with ceremonial trappings, including meetings with local officials. But Walsh will also schedule "down-time" for private visits with relatives at both the beginning and end of his trip. The journey was initially planned for the spring, but Walsh decided to wait until he was settled into office for a longer period of time.