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  • International Irish Diaspora Congress: Buenos Aires 15-19 June 2011

    Friday, September 10th, 2010

    The call for papers below came through on the Irish Diaspora Listserv. How exciting that the 90th anniversary of the Irish Race Congress in Buenos Aires will be commemorated in this way! That Congress was held in preparation for the International Congress of the Irish Race in Paris, and the Irish government sent envoys to Irish communities in South Africa, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, and the US seeking support for a Republic. [See a 1921 New York Times report on the Buenos Aires Congress.]

    It  was just one example of Ireland’s political globalisation in the early days of independence. As the originator of the idea of the Congress of the Irish Race, Thomas Hughes Kelly of New York, declared: ‘Ireland’s future is not limited to its geographic boundaries. She gave away to the world her strongest and most trustworthy sons. Now we compensate her with our support, which is the first offspring of that prolific seed’.

    But I digress – below is the call for papers. I’ll post up more info when I find out more.


    Buenos Aires (Argentina) — From 15th to 19th of June 2011.

    Official Notification: Presentation of Papers- 1st Call

    In June of 2011, the 1st International Irish Diaspora Congress will take
    in the City of Buenos Aires, exactly 90 years after a meeting of a
    similar nature took place in 1921. The principal objective of next
    year’s Congress is to stimulate cultural exchange and share experiences
    between Irish Associations and people.

    Each participating Institution is asked to give a brief account of
    current activities and its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and
    threats. Learning how the Irish Community has integrated into each
    specific Country-Destination will be of general interest, too.
    Participating individuals or Associations are invited to present
    speeches and/or lectures on the topic of cultural diversity of emigrants
    and their descendents.

    The Department of Irish Culture from the Universidad Nacional de La
    Plata (UNL) & the Universidad de Ciencias Empresariales y Sociales
    (UCES) will provide the academic framework for these expositions. The
    papers submitted for consideration must relate to any one of the
    following topics:

    – The Irish Diaspora
    – Literature and the Irish Emigrant (essays, short stories, novels, poetry)
    – History of Irish Emigration in each country
    – Fundraising for Irish Associations (experiences, tips)
    – Irish Education abroad
    – Irish Dance & Music (experiences)
    – Business and Work opportunities for Irish Descendents Abroad

    Those who are interested in participating must submit an abstract before
    February 1, 2011, written in English, of no more than 300 words, on any
    of the aforementioned topics.

    The proposals that are deemed adequate (given general interests and the
    length of the Congress) have until May 15, 2011 to send the paper in
    full to the Department’s inbox.

    The Academic Committee will be comprised of people with great knowledge
    on the subjects to be discussed, including professors from the UNL and
    the UCES.

    For more info: or

    ¡Feliz compleaños, Southern Cross! Oldest diaspora publication celebrates 135 years

    Friday, January 15th, 2010

    The oldest newspaper of the Irish diaspora, Argentina’s “Southern Cross” celebrates its 135th anniversary this month.

    The paper was founded in Buenos Aires on January 16, 1875 by Fr Patrick (Patricio) Dillon, an Irish missionary priest who later became active in politics.  At the time, the Irish community numbered only 9,000. Among its editors was the writer William Bulfin, author of ” Tales of the Pampas ” and “Rambles in Eirinn?. More recently, Guillermo MacLoughlin Bréard became the 14th editor, the youngest ever to take the position.

    The paper was published in English in 1964, when it switched to mostly Spanish, reflecting the changing language of the Irish population as it assimilated. Today the Argentinean-Irish community numbers around half a million.

    The Southern Cross is still going strong, with several new contributors, some of them based overseas. A special edition of the newspaper is in preparation, focusing on the history and accomplishments of the community.

    The achievement of 135 years is certainly to be celebrated! It’s a tribute to the community that it has supported the paper for so long. The oldest Irish paper in the US, New York’s Irish Echo, is a mere 81 years old.

    Here is the editorial that was published in “The Southern Cross? this month.

    135 YEARS

    With legitímate pride we celebrate our 135 years of existence as the oldest Irish newspaper in the world published outside of Ireland.  Not even our founder, Dean Patricio Dillon, way back on 16th January 1875, when The Southern Cross hit the streets, nor many of his successors, imagined we would surpass the XXI Century border to arrive at this celebration.

    During a more than centennial lifetime, our newspaper has known good and bad times, but all along it has managed to maintain unchanged its essential mission as a communicator of all events related to the local Irish-Argentine community, as well as of major developments occurring in Ireland and in Argentina.

    Moreover, The Southern Cross is the dean of catholic publications in this country as well as of community newspapers in Argentina.  Both distinction are an honour and strengthens our commitment to continue the strenuous task of spreading Christian ideals as well as the most noble republican convictions and unconditional defense of freedom of expression.

    Throughout the years we have learned to adapt to technical changes, incorporating modern composition and printing technologies, as a result of which our newspaper is widely recognized by its quality and contents, thanks to the hard work of a valuable team.

    This significant anniversary finds us in the middle of a journalistic renewal process, with the inclusion of new contributors and additional subjects, though unfortunately facing financial difficulties that obstruct our daily task.  However, with new ideas, with the support of loyal subscribers and generous advertisers, together with the performance of highly professional staff added to the eager dedication of all members of the board of Editorial Irlandesa S.A. we are confident in our ability to stay afloat and reach a safe harbour following the guidelines outlined in our editorial “New Directions? (May 2009).

    This celebration belongs to all of us.  We renew our commitment with the entire community and pray to the Almighty and to Saint Patrick for their continued guidance in this noble task.  Let it be!

    Related sites:

    Primary documents

    Friday, July 24th, 2009

    Archives of the Irish experience throughout the world can be found in destination countries, and some of these are online. These are useful for scholars but are also fun for just browsing around – there’s a host of gems here!


    Archive of the Irish in Britain


    Archives of Irish America – Includes several exhibitions, including an oral history project called “New York Stories?.

    Library of Congress Memory Project: Immigration


    The Shamrock and the Maple Leaf – an exhibition of Irish-Canadian documentary materials held by Library and Archives Canada

    Moving Here, Staying Here: The Canadian Immigrant Experience

    The Ships List – Comprehensive set of documents related to ships and the immigrant experience around the world.


    Australia: Convict Transportation database

    More on Irish convicts at Irish Convicts Transported to Australia

    Leaving from Liverpool – an excellent educational site highlighting the experience of migration to Australia through the port of Liverpool.

    Latin America

    Society for Irish Latin-American Studies

    “Prairies or pampas?”: article explains why emigrants no longer ask

    Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

    Argentina was once a powerful draw for Irish emigrants, although it is difficult to imagine given the country’s economic troubles today. How did it go from being an economic powerhouse to its current status today? Alan Beattie in the Financial Times documents the decline in a comparison of the policies pursued throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the  United States and Argentina.

    As he points out,

    “Before the Great Depression of the 1930s, Argentina was among the 10 richest countries in the world. The millions of emigrant Italians and Irish fleeing poverty at the end of the 19th century were torn between the two: Buenos Aires or New York? The pampas or the prairie?

    A hundred years later there was no choice at all. One had gone on to be among the most successful economies ever. The other was a broken husk.”

    Beattie points out that America chose openness, innovation, skilled immigration and industrialisation – while Argentina concentrated land and political power in the hands of an elite who shunned the risk-taking nature of industrialisation until it was too late.

    The article is worth reading for anyone interested in the history of the home of the largest non-English-speaking Irish diaspora community. Argentina: The superpower that never was

    Midlands-Argentine project launches GAA programme

    Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

    Hundreds of Argentine children will learn Gaelic games this February in a seven-day programme at the Hurling Club in Buenos Aires, thanks to an initiative originating out the Midlands. The move is the latest in a series of initiatives aimed at refreshing Ireland’s links with its fifth-largest diaspora community.

    The inaugural GAA hurling and Gaelic football coaching week is a joint effort supported by Capital Securities Corporation, the Midlands Gateway Chamber and the Longford-Westmeath Argentina Society, reports the Westmeath Examiner. The GAA is supplying hurls, helmets and footballs to the 240 children aged six to 16 who will participate.

    The week will take place at Buenos Aires’ Hurling Club, which was established in 1922. GAA games were popular among the Irish community in the early part of the twentieth century, but were eventually replaced by hockey and rugby; this move is partially explained by the fact that during World War II it became impossible to get hurleys in Argentina.

    Organisers of the project have wider ambitions than encouraging children to play the games of their ancestors. The article notes:

    President of AIT and President of the Midlands Gateway Chamber, Prof Ciarán Ó Catháin said the launching of the coaching programme in Argentina was not only a significant sporting event, but had resonance for business, education, cultural and diplomatic relations between Ireland and Latin America.

    “At a time of great economic uncertainty, it is heartening that this initiative encourages us to look beyond our own boundaries to explore global possibilities,? he said.

    “For us, the GAA coaching programme signifies the potential of the Midlands, the creative spirit, the drive to innovate and the desire to succeed that is the bedrock of this region,? said Prof Ó Catháin.

    The project was launched by Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Coughlan, who reinforced the project’s wider ambitions when she said:

    Though in its origin independent of it, this project fits in perfectly with the intention behind the joint scheme between the Department of Foreign Affairs and the GAA decided earlier this year to support the promotion of Gaelic games abroad.

    I am delighted to be present at the launch here in Athlone of this exciting initiative and congratulate all involved in seeing it through from the initial concept to actuality. A winning combination between enterprise and culture, which hopefully will lead to many other fruitful connections between Ireland and Argentina and between The Midlands Gateway Chamber area and Buenos Aires, and between individual Irish and Argentines.

    Related sites: