The PBS documentary ‘The Irish in America: Long Journey Home’ is a lively and great and historically important document that comes with so many characters and top images that it’s not possible to describe or pick out one favorite.
But one of the leading candidates that stands out in this magnificent 6-hour, 3-night impressive exploration of one of the most important facets of American immigration, and that person is Frank McCourt.
Frank (author of the widely acclaimed ‘Angela’s Ashes’, an Irish memoir) was captured on film together with his brother Malachy, warbling some ribald ditty during the Tammany Hall days that New York politics was dominated by the Irish.
‘The Irish in America’ is really a beguiling mixture of personality and history, including educational struggle and the telling detail and the big picture, and it’s so great that the documentary takes a little time to reflect for a moment with Frank McCourt and some others who understand the art of bringing a story to life and the people who lived that life.
The Irish Isle Restaurant and Bridget’s Pub
7843 Main Street
Middletown, Virginia 22645
Phone: (540) 868-9877 “A Taste of Ireland in the Shenandoah Valley”
The Irish Isle is located in historic Middletown, Virginia on Route 11 (Main Street) just 1/2 mile from the I-81 exit. They are one block north of the popular Wayside Theatre.
The owners, Brian, Philomena, and Tara Coughlan, are very pleased to be here in Middletown and to be able to preserve this beautiful historic building. This was originally the Middletown State Bank that was built in 1890. You will notice that the bank vault on the main level is now used as a server station with the original safe still in use inside.
The Emerald Isle: a fitting name for a place that gets nearly 55-inches of rain per year, just shy of the 68+ inches that would classify it as a rainforest. Although we came expecting rain and were content with a little moisture falling on our trip, the weather as a whole wasn’t too bad.
Highs around 65, lows around 55; pretty ideal temperatures for biking considering most of the U.S. was pushing triple digits. It seemed that this year was actually one of the driest they’ve had for a long time. Bad for agriculture, but pretty nice for us.
In fact, if you can get over the rain, Ireland is set up perfectly for bike touring. In general, the topography is mild (although we did curse a few of the steep hills), the back roads have little to no traffic, the locals are extremely friendly and very bike conscious while driving (although most still think you’re mad for cycling around the country).
Compared to the U.S., the towns are located fairly close to each other and the entire country can be biked in a few weeks fairly easily. And most importantly, EVERY community has a pub, even if they don’t have a single place that serves food. If you’re looking for something new to do, bike touring in Ireland will not disappoint.
Thinking about visiting Ireland? Well, don’t forget to check out Limerick, a great historic city that boasts great rugby legends, which offers sizzling food, and comes with interesting street art.
There’s always something going on in Limerick. The town’s riverside walks, revamped quays, and casual dining food scenes will steal your heart, that’s for sure!
Here are a few good reasons to visit Limerick: Limerick’s Georgian grid When you think of Georgian architecture in Ireland, you’d probably think of Dublin, but the country has more to offer. The Georgian grid of Limerick (referred to as Newtown Pery) looks unfortunately for the larger part still like a crumbling wreck, but if you look a little deeper, you’ll come aware of its historic relevance, the quality, and its mouthwatering potential. Even the roughest corners echo the city’s heritage.
Come to Limerick and marvel at the dilapidated fanlights and iron balconies around Mallow Street, and set-pieces like the Crescent on O’Connell Street. Outside of Dublin, Limerick boasts the largest Irish collection of Georgian townhouses. Newtown Pery was founded by the First Viscount Pery in Limerick’s old medieval quarter around the end of the 18th century, and though its demise is obvious, it’s definitely worth a visit.
Many of us claim Irish heritage, but also those who don’t are welcome at the Commodore John Barry Arts & Cultural Center. Feel free to enjoy the vibrant and warm Irish culture and benefit from the center’s facilities such as the elegant and spacious ballroom.
The Commodore John Barry Arts and Cultural Center—formerly known as the Philadelphia Irish Center/Commodore Barry Club—has had a long and storied history. Here are some of the highlights.
The Pelham Auto Club is Built
“It was Pelham’s social institution, with billiards, a bowling alley, a dining room, a ballroom, card rooms, and a garage with a full-time mechanic.”
28 Sep 1936
Pelham Club Becomes First Home of Germantown Jewish Centre
The Centre leased the auditorium for $200 a month. “It was the largest auditorium in the city at that time and for many years after. It had a seating capacity of 750 at tables and 1,200 in chairs for lectures. This was the space we rented as our first home.”
When people think about the Irish in America, often the first things that come to mind are the St. Patrick’s Day Parades, JFK, or Irish pride, and we also have the same attitude towards our paycheck. We love to count our cents, and the hourly paycheck online calculator (very popular in the States) was originally introduced from Ireland.
But let’s be honest, Irish-American ties are running far deeper than you would maybe expect at first glance. Do you, for example, know that the first man who stepped off Columbus’ ship, and as first European set foot on American soil, was an Irishman?
And do you know that the first U.S. woman who walked in space was Irish-American? Well, let’s dig a little deeper and show you a few some Irish accomplishments in the U.S. Just check out these interesting and sometimes maybe surprising facts about the Irish in America.
Do you know how many U.S. Presidents have Irish ancestry? In general, it is believed that more than 40% of all presidents of the United States have Irish heritage, but of 22 of these important individuals, we know that they have confirmed Irish ancestry. The presidents that are known to be ‘most Irish’ are James Buchanan and Andrew Jackson who both have parents that were all born in Ireland.
For generations, Irish immigrants were coming to Gaelic Park, the Bronx, to play all types of sports. Gaelic Park is a relatively small, bur cozy 2,000-seats stadium that sits at 240th Street and Broadway in Riverdale, the Bronx.
Gaelic Park has always much more than merely a sports field. This is the place where the Irish of New York City went to meet their potential spouses, to make connections, to talk to their old country friends or to make new ones.
It all started in the early 1920’s when Irish players ferociously battles their Gaelic football matches, a sort of blend rugby and soccer, and Hurling, a typical Irish sport that contains elements of lacrosse, field hockey, and baseball. This all was happening right in the middle of the American alien landscape of concrete, but for the Irish, Gaelic Park was a bit of haven.
In earlier days, this place was bustling with activity. There were many teams here, so many players, but they have removed all those things, and where at one day rickety wooden stands were teetering toward the skies, there are now only a few scattered picnic tables. The Irish bands and the beer sellers have long been absent….
IrishNewsStand.com is a pretty impressive newsstand in Woodlawn, the Bronx. It is actually the largest retailer of Irish newspapers and magazines in America, and they have been at the service of the Irish community for almost 25 years. They not only offer hundreds of magazines and newspapers, but they also run thousands of original Irish products.
The neighborhood of Woodlawn is home to New York’s largest Irish community and this shop is the largest Irish deli around. They carry tens of thousands of genuine Irish products such as Irish crisps, candies, jams, cookies, CD’s, or chocolates. Let’s first take a closer look at the particular area where we’re located.
Little Ireland, Woodlawn, The Bronx
Woodlawn is a lower-middle-class Irish American neighborhood in the northern portions of the Bronx, just north of the cemetery that bears the same name. McLean Avenue is the north boundary (New York City-Westchester County line), and to the east, the Bronx River defines its territory that is to the south determined by Woodlawn Cemetery to the south, and to the west by Van Cortlandt Park.