Archive for January, 2015

Stephen Colbert: One Last
Report (It’s Genealogical)

It was a damp morning in late February 2008 when the phone rang. Harvard scholar and PBS host Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, Jr. was calling with one of his random genealogical requests. He was going to be on The Colbert Report later that day. Did I, by any chance, know anything about Stephen Colbert’s roots?Read more..

First Word:
Telling It Like It Is

Our cover story on Stephen Colbert’s Irish roots reminds us that with his ascension to the Late Show throne this coming fall,  he will be joining a venerable group of Irish-American hosts on late night television, past and present. While today’s audiences are familiar with Conan O’Brien who hosts Conan and Jimmy Fallon who tookRead more..

Northern Ireland Stalemate Ends

An 11-week political stalemate at Stormont ended with last-minute talks late in December with Christmas looming. The deadlock stemmed from disagreements over marches and flag-waving policies combined with disputes over a financial assistance package from Westminster that would help curb the impact of welfare cuts in the North. The U.K. government eventually increased its offerRead more..

Compadre Plant Matrix

Botanists at Trinity College Dublin have launched a database that documents significant ‘life events’ for nearly 600 plant species across the globe. Working with like-minded individuals across five continents the team has gathered data over a near 50-year span. At a time of climate change, the researchers hope their COMPADRE Plant Matrix database will foster collaborations between scientists andRead more..

The President’s
New Year Message

President Michael D. Higgins’s Christmas New Year message, broadcast from Aras on Uchtairan on December 31, remembered the Irish abroad, those who assist them, and the communities which have welcomed them. Higgins also encouraged those “who may be feeling distressed or lonely to look beyond the long dark nights, to the promise once again, ofRead more..

100,000 Protesters March
Against Water Charges

Up to 100,000 protesters opposed to the introduction of water charges brought Dublin to a standstill in December when they rallied outside the Irish parliament building. The December 10th protest was the largest yet in what has become an increasingly strife-filled argument between the Irish government and the taxpayers. The charges, which are mandated byRead more..

Winter Solstice in Newgrange

There were 30,532 entries for a lottery to experience Winter Solstice 2014 at Newgrange in Co. Meath. Fifty names were drawn, and each of those fifty people were invited along with a guest to gather at dawn (8:58 a.m.) from December 18th to December 23rd. Newgrange is the best known Irish passage tomb and datesRead more..

Rising Sea Levels
A Danger for Ireland

In a global warming special on RTÉ’s environment series Eco Eye, experts warned about the catastrophic dangers of climate change on Ireland. They predicted that rising sea levels would bring significant coastal damage and the extinction of many plant and animal species, and large areas of country could disappear into the ocean. The show’s presenterRead more..

U.S. Lifts Ban on Irish Beef

The U.S. agreed last year to lift the ban on Irish beef. The ban had been in place for 16 years, following a Europe-wide ban in the late 1990s due to an outbreak of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease. Ireland is the first country in the European Union to regain access to theRead more..

News in Brief

Gay Priest Comes Out Father Martin Dolan, a priest at the Church of St Nicholas of Myra in Francis Street in Dublin’s city for 15 years, came out as gay to his parishioners during a Sunday Mass in early January while calling for same-sex marriage equality in advance of the country’s May referendum on theRead more..