People and Politics by Patrick Roberts
Innisfail, site of massive Australia cyclone, has deep Irish roots
Posted on Wednesday, February 02, 2011 at 07:22 PM
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Innisfail is the Queensland, Australia town that has taken the brunt of the biggest ever hurricane to hit Australia.
The tropical town near Cairns has a fascinating Irish history. The name Inisfail comes from the Tuatha De Dannan , the magical tribe who once ruled Ireland. According to legend they called Ireland Inisfail.
Inisfail was often referred to in romantic ballads and nationalists songs down the centuries.
Innisfail,(different spelling),in Australia also has Irish roots.
Wikipedia notes that late in 1879, Irishman Thomas Henry FitzGerald arrived in the area to help establish the sugar industry.
He was accompanied by large numbers of Kanaka South Sea Islanders workers with smaller numbers of Irish laborers.
The house FitzGerald built and consequently the first establishment in the area was called Innisfallen; the romantic name for Ireland, and after the largest island in the Lakes of Killarney, Ireland.
From 1879, settlement was named Geraldton after FitzGerald, but in 1912 was renamed 'Innisfail' to avoid confusion with the town of the same name in Western Australia.
And now of course it is in the world headlines again
Wonder what Thomas Fitzgerald would make of it ..
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