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    Argentine navy to honor Irish founder with visit

    Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

    The Argentine navy’s tall ship, the Libertad, will visit Ireland in June as part of the celebrations commemorating the 150th anniversary of the death of Admiral William Brown. The crew will visit Foxford, Co. Mayo, the birthplace of the founder of the Argentine navy, during their ten-day visit to Ireland.

    The ship will conduct a salute off the Mayo coast around June 17, according to the Western People. It will then dock in Galway, Dublin and Cork.

    The Admiral William Brown Society is planning a number of commemorative events marking the anniversary. Admiral Brown was born in Foxford in 1777; after emigrating to Argentina he fought in several wars and eventually founded their navy. He is celebrated as a hero in Argentina and this year’s events are likely to raise his profile in Ireland.

    The full story is on the Western People website.

    Flight of the Earls commemorated

    Friday, January 12th, 2007

    The four-hundredth anniversary of the Flight of the Earls, one of the seminal events in the early history of emigration from Ireland is being commemorated this year. The Flight of the Earls, of course, marked the end of the old Gaelic aristocracy. Hugh O’Neill and Rory O’Donnell, fearing arrest by the new Lord Deputy of Ireland, fled to the Continent along with ninety of their followers. They set sail from Rathmullen, Co Donegal, and their departure cleared the way for the Plantation of Ulster.

    The men intended to go to Spain, where they hoped to gain support from the King and then return to liberate Ireland. They never returned. Many of the men became officers in the Spanish Army, while Rory O’Donnell and Hugh O’Neill both died in Rome – O’Donnell in 1608 and O’Neill in 1616.

    The Flight of the Earls is enormously important for those interested in emigration history. Dr John McCavitt says in his Flight of the Earls website:

    Perhaps the most important aspect of the Flight of the Earls for people of Irish descent, and for countries that the Irish migrated to, is that the Flight effectively inaugurated the Irish diaspora. The early seventeenth century witnessed Irish men and women dispersed as far afield as the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Newfoundland, even the Amazon (O’Briens). As a direct result of the Flight, Irish soldiers, the original ‘wild geese’, saw service in Sweden, Denmark, Poland and Russia.

    The official website for the commemoration was launched in Donegal last night. Events will include a conference in February; the production of “Making History”, Brian Friel’s play about the flight; a history conference in May; a summer school and more.

    See the Flight of the Earls Commemoration website.

    New York mayor to unveil Sligo monument

    Thursday, August 17th, 2006

    In other news about Irish men serving in forces abroad, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York will visit Ballymote, Co. Sligo to unveil a monument to the 69th Regiment of the American Civil War – also known as the “Fighting Irish?. The monument’s base contains steel from the Twin Towers in memory of Sligo-born Michael F Lynch, a firefighter who died on 9/11.

    Irish WWI soldiers to be granted pardons

    Thursday, August 17th, 2006

    The British government’s announcement yesterday that it would seek pardons for the 306 soldiers who were shot at dawn for cowardice or desertion during World War I has been welcomed by Irish campaigners and Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern.. There were 26 Irish killed for such offences; Irish men were four times more likely to be executed as a result of court martial than British, Canadian, or New Zealand troops. The offences for which they were killed were repealed by British authorities in 1930; many of the offences were apparently related to post-traumatic stress disorder. In 2006, Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern called for pardons for the Irish-born soldiers shot by the British army; his department had produced a report, presented to the British government, that outlined the flawed justice the men had been subjected to.