Tag Archives: Damian Shiels

Epic stories of Irish Emigrants

Writing this blog has led me to keep an eye out for topics that interest me and which may be of interest to those who visit these pages. Many of my family are modern day emigrants who live in far flung places across the globe, so it has been interesting  to discover connections with Irish emigrants of earlier decades and the impact they have had on places where they ended up. So these ‘pioneers’ and ‘trailblazers’ feature on my blog from time to time as I believe they deserve to be better known at home. (See link to Irish People who made a difference page).

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The Moore Children Statue at Cobh Co Cork, point of departure for many emigrants from these shores. Annie Moore was the first immigrant processed at Ellis Island, New York  in 1892. (Image thesilvervoice)

Last year Dublin acquired a new  21st Century  interactive visitor experience with the opening of  EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum on Custom House Quay. Dedicated to the millions who left these shores, it celebrates our diaspora in a number of virtual galleries in historic vaults on the bank of the River Liffey. The varied and complex story of the 10 million people who left Ireland over the centuries  and how they changed the world is captured here. Now tens of millions proudly claim a degree of Irish Ancestry. From Grace Kelly the Hollywood actress, to Ned Kelly the Australian outlaw; from Patrick Cleburne, Major General in the Confederate Army of the American Civil War to Admiral William Brown, father of the Argentine Navy; from the poor starving masses who left on famine coffin ships for America to the young so-called ‘Orphan’ girls who were shipped out to Australia to become domestic servants and to marry: It’s all here!

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Admiral  Brown from Foxford in Mayo, revered in Argentina as father of the Argentine Navy (Image thesilvervoice)

And they went and they made a difference, building and navyying and dying in tunnels in Scotland and England; they fought and they died in wars with Australian and other other armies; they saved lives, they brought expertise, literature, engineering, arts, religion, science,politics and  dedication to every corner of the world. The story of our emigrants is  a rich and a proud one and deserves to be well known.

img_0008EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum and the Irish Independent Newspaper have come together in an exciting project to spread the word about the Irish Emigration experience. A very impressive four part Magazine Supplement will come free with the Friday edition of the newspaper. A further  5 free copies of the magazine will be delivered to every second level school in the country where it is hoped it will be used as a learning aide by students who wish to know more about our people who changed the world.

I was delighted to be asked to contribute a short piece on Dave Gallaher, who left Ramelton in my native Donegal as a young boy and who became world famous as the captain of the first ever All Blacks Rugby team. Last weeks supplement looked at the impact of the Irish abroad.

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The cover of last week’s magazine supplement

And my piece ..img_0005

The subject of our diaspora and what became of them is dear to my heart. My son writes extensively about the Irish who moved across the Atlantic in their droves in search of better lives and of the impact of that migration on both the modern day United States and the social and financial fallout for family members who stayed behind here in Ireland. He makes the point that we Irish tend to leave the memory of our emigrants at the quayside and that we as a nation do not engage with preserving their memory or celebrating the enormous contribution they made on both sides of the Atlantic. This wonderful collaboration between Irish Independent and EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum will I hope, help change that view that we hold of those who had to leave our shores. We need to be proud of them.
forgotten-irish
References
Wikipedia.
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Filed under American Civil War, Emigration from Ireland, Ireland, Ireland and the World

Tipperary Remembrance Trust – Annual Remembrance 2013

It was a great privilege to take part in the Tipperary Remembrance Trust annual  remembrance over the last weekend in September.

DSCF2585The Tipperary Remembrance Trust was founded to commemorate Irish men and women who have  sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom and peace  across the world. To this end they have reclaimed and restored a portico from the officers Mess and living quarters from the Tipperary Military Barracks, built in the 1870’s. At one time there were up to 10,000 troops stationed in Tipperary Town and the military  presence had a big influence on the town.

DSCF2618The weekend kicked off with a most enjoyable dinner at the Aherlow House Hotel, beautifully located in the fabulous Glen of Aherlow,overlooked by the majestic Galtee Mountains. Damian Shiels, author of The Irish in the American Civil War delivered the after-dinner speech on the forgotten Irish who fought and died or were maimed in the shaping of the United States of America that we know today.

Guests of Honour at the dinner /commemoration were

Lt.Col Conor Burke, Irish Defence Forces

General David The O’Morchoe (Ret) C.B . C.B.E., President of the Royal British Legion Republic of Ireland

Sqdn Leader Susie Barnes Defence Attaché New Zealand Defence Forces

Liet. Col. Sean Cosden Defence Attaché U.S.A Defence Forces

Lieut Col. Sean English Defence Attaché United Kingdom Defence Forces

Liet. Col. Jean Trudel Defence Attaché Canadian Defence Forces

Group Capt. Peter Wood, Defence Attaché Australian Defence Forces

Lieut Col. Conor Burke, Irish Defence Forces

Guy Jones Irish Lebanese Cultural Foundation

William Kane Irish U.N Veterans Association

On Sunday morning we gathered at St Mary’s Church in John Street, Tipperary,once the Garrison Church of the town and sadly now in need of maintenance. This Church has a stunning stained glass window, erected to the memory of 3 members of one family who died within months of each other in 1916. Also in this church is a plaque in memory of  39 Abbey Boys – pupils of the local Abbey School – who lost their lives in the  First World War.The Rector,Rev. Browen Carling with Fr  Dan McCarthy Chaplain to the Defence Forces,conducted a most edifying service in remembrance of Irish soldiers who have died in conflicts, serving with our own or other forces, across the world.

St Bridget’s Pipe Band then led a procession from the Church to the Remembrance Arch ,about 1 km away, for a wreath laying ceremony

The ceremony was very moving, especially of course at the sounding of the Last Post, always an emotional moment,and again when  a Lone Piper piped ‘Going Home’  .

It was so good to see the Military Attachees from other countries – many of whom visited Ireland specifically for this ceremony – honour our dead Irish soldiers by laying wreaths.

Mick Haslam, as the ‘face’ of the Tipperary Remembrance Trust has done excellent work in setting up, planning, organizing and implementing these annual commemorations. Huge thanks are due to him for his trojan work. I love these pictures of him at the ceremony, raising the Irish Flag from half-mast. The memory of our  countrymen, who have given their lives for peace on this planet,has been in a safe pair of hands.

It was a privilege to have been there.

Further information:

The History of Tipperary Barracks

The Abbey Boys, TipperaryTown

Tipperary Remembrance Trust

David, The O’Morchoe CB, CBE 

Damian Shiels, Author, Conflict Archaeologist,PhD Scholar,Blogger

 

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October 7, 2013 · 10:05 pm