Tag Archives: United States

April 13 1912: Titanic sails in calm waters

On this night 101 years ago, the RMS Titanic is sailing through calm waters. Just over 48 hours earlier she had departed Queenstown, County Cork. Passengers on board expect  to dock in New York on April 17, four days from now.

Among them are wealthy Americans who, having completed their tour of Europe are returning home in the most luxurious and fastest liner on the Atlantic route. Here too are hundreds of emigrants who have bidden farewell to mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and friends all across Europe, and are now looking forward to a new life in a new land.


Members of the Orchestra on board Titanic. Image Wikimedia.Commons

As they steam towards their meeting with destiny in just 24 hours from now, many 1st class passengers may be enjoying and dancing to the music of the on-board orchestra, while many others begin to settle down for the night. The calm conditions  make for a comfortable night’s sleep. The 128 children on board are probably already settled. For many of them –  for most of them – this is to be their last night alive.




Filed under Emigration from Ireland, Ireland, Irish Diaspora, Irish History, Mayo Emigrants, Titanic

Judge Judy Sheindlin,Vice-President of UCD Law Society

This afternoon, the Law Society of University College Dublin will bestow a Vice-Presidency of their society on Judge Judy Sheindlin, former US  family court judge, and star of afternoon television in this country and in many other countries across the world.


Judge Judy Sheindlin arrives in Dublin. Image from 98 fm

One of the many millions all over the world who tuned in to her shows was my father. He died on Easter Monday in 2006.  Because it was Easter Monday he almost has two anniversaries – the Holiday itself and the actual date of  April 18th.  He is therefore very much in mind in the period between these two dates.  He was an avid fan of Judge Judy  – her humour, her wit, her decisiveness  and common sense, so she was compulsive viewing each afternoon while he lived here in Limerick. I can still see him slapping his thigh in glee when she found in favour of his own verdict!  He spoke so highly of her – as though she were a personal friend and how she always did ‘the right thing’! How thrilled he would have been to hear this news about the honour bestowed on Judge Judy in Ireland! This little post is in tribute to the many hours of entertainment that he enjoyed, and to the many hours of entertainment that she provided  – for him and many like him across the world.


Filed under Living in Ireland, My Oral History

Stamp Your Mark on Irish Commemoration of the American Civil War

As events commemorating the  150th Anniversary of the American Civil War continue  into 2015, there is still an opportunity for Ireland to recognize the enormous contribution of tens of thousands of Irishmen who gave their lives, limbs  hearts and minds in this conflict. A commemorative stamp would be a fitting tribute and as An Post are looking for suggestions for a commemorative issue, would you like to make this suggestion by filling in their form here ? It will only take a few minutes!

Read more on this in the repressed item from Irish in the  American Civil War blog

Stamp Your Mark on Irish Commemoration of the American Civil War.



January 27, 2013 · 9:35 pm

Tracking Santa – He’s on the way!

Only hours to go! The countdown is on! Soon Santa will be loading up and leaving the North Pole for his great journey across the globe with Dasher, Prancer, Dancer,Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and of course Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer! Children of all ages (this writer included) will watch his progress on the internet!

It all began in 1955 when the famous American company, Sears Roebuck, published a telephone number for children to call and speak to Santa. Due to a misprint of the phone number, children were connected to the operations ‘hotline’ of the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD). The then director, Colonel Harry Shoup, arranged for children to be given updates by having the radar checked for signs of Santa flying from the North Pole. And so a tradition was born!

Some years later CONAD became the North American Aerospace Defense Command, with Canada and the United States of America joining forces to create an air defence command for North America. NORAD as it is known, decided to keep up the practice of checking their radar and using their advanced technology all across the world, to let children know Santa’s location as he makes his way at terrific speed through the skies. Each year, NORAD staff volunteers reply to thousands of emails and answer the telephone to the tens of thousands of enquiries they receive from children all over the world.

In recent years Santa’s journey can be tracked on the internet and you can join the millions of others who log in to check by clicking HERE. Checking it out may well be an Irish Christmas Tradition in the making!

He will soon be on his way! Enjoy!




December 24, 2012 · 7:49 pm

The American Revolution – 1997

A few years ago, on a visit to the USA I was bemused  to occasionally see groups of women wearing red hats –  perhaps in a shopping centre, at a cinema or in a restaurant.  Intrigued by this odd phenomenon, I inquired  about who they were  and why they were wearing red hats. I was informed that they  were ‘Red Hatters’.

On reading the poem ‘Warning’ by Jenny Joseph (see it here) Sue Ellen Cooper was impressed by the lines:

‘When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple with a red hat that doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me…..’

As her friend was celebrating a birthday in November 1997, Sue Ellen presented her with a copy of the poem and an old red hat that she had bought second-hand some years earlier.  Her friend was thrilled to bits with this unusual gift, so  Sue Ellen  repeated the gesture  for several more friends.  They eventually decided to go out for tea  as a group, wearing their red hats and in purple dresses.  And so the Red Hat Society was born.   Their strange attire attracted coverage from newspapers, magazines and television  and by 2002, just 5 years later,   they had 40,000 chapters worldwide.  In 2005, the Red Hat Society even featured on The Simpsons, when Marge Simpson joined up!  They had truly ‘arrived’!

In 2010  the original red hat  and a purple boa given by Sue Ellen to her birthday friend were donated to the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History in Washington D.C. where they are now on display.

Donated by Founder of Red Hat Society.

The Red Hat Society  is now one of the largest women’s social groups in the world, offering friendship and fun while  celebrating life and the role of mature women.  They have managed to change the way society views women of a certain age and they promote a positive outlook on life and mental and physical well-being among their members.

They are ‘Over Fifty and Fabulous’ indeed!

Visit the website of the Red Hat Society


Filed under Older Generation, Seniors, Social Change, Social Networking