New York Irish Brigade Monument- Gettysburg National Military Park. This monument pays tribute to the 3 New York Regiments of the Irish Brigade; the 63rd Regiment, the 69th Regiment (‘Fighting 69th’), and the 88th Regiment. Colonel Patrick Kelly, a native of Co. Galway was the commander of the Irish Brigade at the battle of Gettysburg in July 1863. The monument was sculpted in 1888 by R. O’Donovan. O’Donovan was a native of Ireland and fought at Gettysburg under the Confederate Flag. There were 2 other regiments in the Irish Brigade at Gettysburg; the 116th Pennsylvania Regiment and the 28th Massachusetts Regiment.
There is a lucrative trade in South Armagh for smuggling vegetables from across the South. Seems this is more profitable than smuggling petrol which was the chief operation of the smugglers in the past.
County Antrim’s Giant’s Causeway: Located on the Causeway Coast between Portrush and Ballycastle, this World Heritage Site defies the imagination. Over 37,000 basalt columns, most hexagonal and 12 inches across create patterns that are quite similar, but unique formations like the Chimney Stacks, the Wishing Chair, Organ Pipes and Aird’s Snout will intrigue the visitor. Built by Finn MacCool? Perhaps, but only if he was around 61 million years ago when the formation of the Causeway began.
Irish Roots: Watching ‘The Quiet Man’ on TCM recently reminded me that the legendary actor John Wayne does have Irish Roots. Wayne who was baptized Marion Robert Morrison (middle name later changed to Mitchell) was the great great grandson of Robert Morrison. Robert Morrison was baptized at Connor Presbyterian Church in Kells near Ballymena, County Antrim in 1782. He became involved in the 1798 uprising and as a result a warrant was issued for his arrest. He immigrated with his mother to America, arriving in New York in 1801. In 1803 the family moved to Cherry Creek, Ohio. Wayne was born May 26, 1907 in Winterset, Iowa. His parents were Mary A. Brown and Clyde L. Morrison.
Chess (fidcheel) was played by the kings and nobility of Ireland. The board was made from yew wood and divided into black and white squares. Royal chessmen sometimes made of yellow gold and white bronze were two and a half inches tall, elaborately carved and embellished with precious metals. These were of so much of a necessity that the pieces were classified as food under Brehon Law.
Michael Davitt, 1846-1906: Michael Davitt, Irish Republican, Fenian, LaborLeader, Member of Parliament and Agrarian Campaigner founded the Irish National Land League to agitate for land reform. His efforts lead to several land acts one of which (Land Act of 1881) finally granted “the three Fs” – Fair Rent, Fixity of Tenure and Free Sale. He was born in the Village of Foxford, County Mayo. This monument is located at Straide Abbey, not far from Foxford. Also on the grounds of the abbey is Davitt’s grave and the Michael Davitt Museum.
Liam Mellows, 1890-1922: Liam was an Irish Volunteer leader who had been a member of a republican youth movement Na Fianna and was imprisoned in 1915. He took part in the Easter Rising of 1916 and escaped to the U.S. Returning to Ireland he fought on the side of the anti-treaty forces during the Irish Civil War (1922-1923). He surrendered to the Free State Forces in Dublin and was jailed. In November 1922 he was dragged from his cell and executed without trial.
A study done at Univ. College of Dublin has discovered that the Travelling Community dates back further than previously thought. They found that instead of originating at time of the Great Hunger, they actually split genetically from the settled population 360 years previously. Travellers make up 0.6% (30,000) of the population in the Republic. Genetic studies show that they are of Irish ancestry.