Tom Carty takes over the reins at the Eire Society
Thomas W. Carty became the newly elected president of the historic Eire Society of Boston in June of this year. The Society was founded in 1937 to promote the awareness of Irish heritage and culture in greater Boston through the encouragement of study in the arts, sciences, literature, language and history of Ireland. The members are a diverse mix of individuals of all ages and backgrounds, both American and Irish-born. The Irish Emigrant caught up with Tom to learn more about the society and his plans for the future.
Originally from Roxbury, Massachusetts, Tom describes himself as a “Boston kid born and bred”, having lived in several neighborhoods including South Boston, Mattapan, Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury before eventually settling with his wife Patricia in Dedham, Massachusetts. Tom’s family connections to Ireland are strong, with his father’s parents both hailing from Drumshanbo, a small town situated in the heart of County Leitrim, while research on his mother’s side of the family suggests heritage from Cork. Patricia's parents are both from Ireland, her father from Cork and her mother from Mayo. It wasn’t until his late high school years that Tom formed a true appreciation for Irish culture. At that time he became enamored with the music of the Clancy Brothers and that kick-started an interest in all things Irish.
Nowadays Tom is an avid reader of Irish literature and history, which he says he “devours” at every opportunity. He is a member of Cumann na Gaeilge i mBoston (Irish speaking society), the Charitable Irish Society of Boston, the Irish Cultural Centre of New England, where he has performed in several Irish plays as part of their drama group, and he holds a Masters in Irish Studies from Boston College.
An attorney by profession, Tom’s association with the Eire Society extends to over 15 years. As the primary goal of the Society is to continue to promote Irish heritage and culture, it offers “specific events for its members and also events open to the public,” said Tom. Upcoming events include a performance by the New England Irish Harp Orchestra on September 27th at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton and a presentation on October 25th at the Milton Public Library by Professor Thomas O’Grady, Director of Irish Studies at UMass Boston, on the Irish in World War I. Both events take place at 2pm.
The highlight of the year for the Society is the Gold Medal dinner and award ceremony. Each year the Society honors a person or persons who exemplify the best of Irish culture and ideals. Some former prestigious members and Gold Medal honorees include John F. Kennedy, Seamus Heaney, The Chieftains, John Hume, Siobhan McKenna, Sean McBride, George Mitchell, John Huston, William Bulger, 'Tip' O'Neill and Maureen O'Hara. Earlier this year the 78th Gold Medal was presented to Catherine Shannon Ph.D., Professor Emerita of Westfield State University and acclaimed scholar in Irish and Irish American History.
Recently, as part of their annual elections, the Society increased the number of its board members from 5 to 12. The new board members come from different backgrounds and hold varying interests. Tom believes the increased board membership will allow the Society to increase its presence and extend its membership. All of the work undertaken by the Society is done on a voluntary basis. The Society currently has around 200 members that include regular, family and discounted student memberships.
The day I was “Sworn-In”
By Siobhan Gallagher
Pictured at Hennessey's of Boston (located on the Freedom Trail) after the naturalization ceremony are newly minted citizens: Siobhan Gallagher (Skreen, Co. Sligo), Noel Moynihane (Innishannon, Co. Cork), Dermot Corrigan (Belcoo, Co. Fermanagh) and Brian Boyce (Carrigart, Co. Donegal)
On Wednesday August 23, 2015 I finally became an American citizen after many years of procrastination.
I arrived in New York City on July 23, 1985 for a six month visit and, as the saying goes, the rest is history. School, work, marriage, kids – the years have just breezed by in what now seems like the blink of an eye. Despite a busy life, as we all have, one item always loomed in the back ground and that was to become a citizen and year after year I would put it off. Most, if not all, of the people that I have known since 1985 have done it but not me. I held out until the last moment driven only by an expired Green Card and the prospect of another 10 year stay only to be faced with The JFK Building and immigration again.
I started the process around the first snow storm in January – photos, birth and marriage certificate, money order and of course the filling out of the forms – enough stress to make the sanest person crazy. I eventually got through it and was notified for finger printing around May. Within a month or so I received a notification for my interview along with the study booklet on “Learn About the United States Quick Civics Lessons for the Naturalization Test”. Being a lover of history I found this part of the process fun and interesting and most importantly I found out how little I really knew about the country that I have chosen to live in. So after studying and learning the 100 questions in the booklet I was ready for the test and interview. This day came in June. Passing the test and the interview I now had to wait until the big day itself.
So after all the fuss – and there was plenty of that – I arrived with Connell and Mary Elizabeth at historic Faneuil Hall for a 12 o’clock swearing-in ceremony in The Great Hall. Looking around this famous hall where the “Declaration of Independence is read from the balcony every 4th of July to commemorate its first reading on July 18, 1776”, I took my seat beside a lady from Chile to my left and a young man from Jamaica to my right. We laughed and joked as we waited with 355 other immigrants for the Judge to swear us in as citizens to the most sought after place on earth to live.
Here I am an American citizen with a Certificate of Naturalization to prove it. It took many years for me to take the final plunge to citizenship but I got there. I feel not different – still Irish but with a wonderful sense of being part of this great nation and sharing the dreams of my children who were born in America and will never know what it is like to stand in an immigration line at The JKF Building.
Congratulations to my fellow immigrants who were sworn-in on August 23, 2015.
The Charitable Irish Society host farewell cruise for Consul General
Carmel Ó Caollaí, Consul General of Ireland Breandán Ó Caollaí, Charitable Irish Society President Christopher
A farewell sunset cruise took place on the Charles river last week to bid farewell to Consul General of Ireland Breandán Ó Caollaí and Vice Consul Jillian O'Keefe. The Charitable Irish Society hosted a delightful evening for members and friends aboard the Charles I which departed from the Cambridge Galleria.
The Irish government recently announced that Ó Caollaí will leave his position later this month following his promotion to Counsellor to the corporate services division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Ó Caollaí has served in Boston since August, 2013. Fionnuala Quinlan, currently the Director of Press Relations at the DFAT has been announced as Ó Caollaí’s successor.
Athenry group look for relatives of 1916 Volunteers in the U.S.
In 1916, a small rebellion took place to free Ireland from centuries of oppressive imperial rule. It is arguably the most defining historical event in twentieth century Ireland. Almost a century later the Relatives and Friends of Athenry 1916 group have formed to raise awareness of the 1916 Rising and the part Galway played in it. In particular they are looking to contact relatives of Galway 1916 Volunteers in the U.S.
Speaking to the Irish Emigrant, Brian Quinn, a founding member of the Athenry group said: "Military archives in Ireland show a significant number of Volunteers from the Galway area who eventually settled in the U.S. and in particular Massachusetts. Our group would be delighted to hear from relatives of these Volunteers, so that they can be included in next year's Centenary commemorations."Last year the Irish Department of Defense released through their Military Archives the listing of veterans of the 1916 Easter Rising with recognized military service. The listing comprises veterans of the organizations operating at the time and with recognized military service during the Easter Rising. The files of 2,405 of these 1916 veterans were released online via www.militaryarchives.ie. Brian was able to provide several examples from these files of Volunteers with addresses listed in Massachusetts. The files also contain detail of the role each Volunteer played in the Rising.
The Relatives and Friends group meet every month to discuss the role the people of Athenry played in the Rising in Galway. "In 1916 the residents of the town and the surrounding areas were in regular contact with the organizers in Dublin and when the time came Athenry Men and Women rose up against the mighty British Empire and for a brief few days the Crown Forces lost control of a large area in Co Galway. Of course times have changed, Britain and Ireland are now close partners in many areas and for the most part both countries acknowledge and recognize our shared history." said Brain.
Further information on the Relatives and Friends of Athenry 1916 group can been found at www.facebook.com/Athenry2016
Irish Cultural Centre to host 25th annual golf tournament
The Irish Cultural Centre of New England (ICC) will host the 25th running of its annual golf tournament on Friday, September 11th at Easton Country Club, Massachusetts. All are welcome for what is expected to be a wonderful day of golf, dinner, Irish music, raffles, silent auction, and plenty of craic.
Various levels of company sponsorship are also available ranging from "Emerald Sponsor" to the top tier "Naming Sponsor" and range in price from $1,500 to $10,000. The Emerald level package features include: one foursome with carts for golf, one tee sign, sponsor name and logo to be included on all event promotional materials, logo placement in tournament program and the opportunity to distribute company materials in tournament gift bags. There are further packages ranging in price that build on this. The top level "Naming Sponsor" package includes a quarter page ad in the ICC newsletter, recognition of support in the Irish Emigrant newspaper and use of the ICC Tent or Cottage for one day amongst many other benefits.
Easton Country Club boasts a well manicured golf course consisting of multiple sets of tees for all golfing abilities, a pleasant mixture of open or treed fairways, and large and true rolling greens. This event typically sells out early, so, those interested in participating are advised to reserve their foursome by contacting the ICC. For further info visit http://www.irishculture.org/
Golden jubilee anniversary for Galway Cathedral
Jim Brett, President and CEO of The New England Council, and his wife, Pattie, joined His Eminence Seán P. Cardinal O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston, on the Golden Jubilee Anniversary of the Galway Cathedral, The Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and Saint Nicholas, Galway, Ireland.
More than 1,500 people attended the 50th anniversary celebrations at the Cathedral on Friday, August 14. Cardinal O'Malley was following in the footsteps of his Boston predecessor, Cardinal Richard Cushing, who represented Pope Paul Vl at the dedication of the Cathedral in 1965.