Category Archives: Ireland

100th Anniversary of Titanic in Queenstown, Co. Cork, Ireland

On April 11, 1912, the Titanic made her final stop before sinking. She picked up passengers in the lovely city of Queenstown, Co. Cork, Ireland. The city was later renamed Cobh.

President Michael D Higgins is attending a ceremony in Cobh, Co Cork this afternoon marking the Titanic’s maiden voyage.

Cobh, Co. Cork, Ireland
Cobh, Co. Cork, Ireland

Thanks to FaerieClutter for letting us use these beautiful pictures!

Rinceoiri Irish dancers unveil new dresses in celebration of their 15th year

Dancers in the Performing Group of Rinceoiri Don Spraoi Irish Dancers were excited, even giddy, about the arrival of completed school dresses. As many Irish dancers will tell you, it’s all about the dress. At Rinceoiri it’s less about the dress and more about the dancing and the friendships. But a new dress doesn’t hurt.
Dresses for the performers have changed and evolved over the past 15 years at Rinceoiri Don Spraoi. From turtlenecks and green skirts, to velvet and lace frocks, to the embroidered dress we see today. The latest incarnation has remained the traditional forest green associated with the group, but will have the shape and structure of what people most associate with traditional Irish dance.
When deciding on a new dress, the board of directors for the group wanted something that would be a little more on the traditional side. Because Ireland doesn’t have an official national costume, their work was cut out for them.
“We wanted to go with something that was recognizable as an Irish dance dress, but not like the latest styles competitors are going with now,” said Stephanie Russell, longtime dancer. “Something closer to what people think is traditional.”
Charlotte Fitzgerald agrees. “The newer styles don’t remind me of home at all, ” the Dublin native winced. “I want to represent my home, where I grew up dancing as a child.” She points out some of the flashy glitter-laced numbers, with ruffles like ballet tutus and neon colors. “Those dresses just don’t remind me of home.”
The group hired Debonair Dancewear to create their new look. Debonair has been in business locally since 1983 and pride themselves “on being able to deliver exactly what you… envision as the perfect performance attire.” Finding a professional organization was important to the group as a whole because it meant less time worrying about dresses and more time doing what they loved best, dancing. 
“In the past, dancers or parents were creating the costuming and there just wasn’t a uniformity.” Brooke Curnow said. “It’s great to have licensed professionals to work with. The pressure on dancers and parents is completely alleviated by outsourcing the work.”
The new dress will not only be a more traditional shape, but will include embroidery for the first time. Something that couldn’t have been done in the past due to cost and lack of experience. The costuming had included applique work as a cheaper alternative.
Teacher Ben Curnow stated, “Celtic knotwork was the norm decades ago. You’d have a really heavy and colorful dress that had a lot of embroidered knotwork. Now you don’t see it that much. We wanted to go back to that style because it looks great on stage. It looks more Irish.”

Embroidery designs on dance dresses were originally of traditional Irish origin, many coming from the Book of Kells and Irish stone crosses. The knotwork in the pattern on Rinceoiri’s new dress is said to symbolize the continuity of the friendships made in the group.

The creation of new dresses marks the 15th anniversary of Rinceoiri Don Spraoi Irish Dancers in Utah.

Performers will dance in their new dresses for the first time at the Annual Shamrock Gala for Youth Impact in Ogden. They will unveil them publicly at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Siamsa at the Gateway in Salt Lake City, on Saturday, March 17, 2012. 
St. Patrick’s Day.
“I can’t wait,” smiles Laura G. holding her dress. “It’s gonna be awesome!”
Where Irish dance comes first!

Éamon de Valera becomes President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State – 1932


Éamon de Valera (1882 – 1975), one of the dominant political figures in twentieth century Ireland, became President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Éireann) on today’s date of March 9 in 1932.

“The Irish Free State, comprising four-fifths of Ireland, is declared, ending a five-year Irish struggle for independence from Britain. Like other autonomous nations of the former British Empire, Ireland was to remain part of the British Commonwealth, symbolically subject to the king. The Irish Free State later severed ties with Britain and was renamed Eire, and is now called the Republic of Ireland.”

Eamon DeValera was one of the most important figures in the history of Ireland. His relationship with the people of the country was often strained and his attitude and motives have frequently puzzled historians throughout this century. The fact remains however, that without his involvement in the Irish Nationalist movement the course of Irish history would have been radically different.

He was born in New York on the 14th of October in 1882 to Catherine Coll (a young Irish immigrant from County Limerick) and Juan Vivion DeValera (an immigrant of Spanish origin).

Little is known of his early childhood except that his family moved from America in 1885 to Ireland where the young Eamon studied at Blackrock College in Dublin and was largely reared by his Grandmother. He studied languages and mathematics and was, like Michael Collins, a student of English Rule in Ireland. The early 1900s was a time of the great Gaelic cultural revival in Ireland as literature, drama, sport and the language of the Gaelic nation were all revived.

The main spearhead of the revival was The Gaelic League which he joined in 1908. He was greatly influenced by the League and learned the Irish language whilst immersing himself in the Gaelic culture. The Gaelic League was an obvious recruiting ground for the various revolutionary organisations of the time and it was not long before DeValera became a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. DeValera was second in command to Thomas MacDonagh of the Dublin Brigade during the Easter Rising of 1916.

The Rising failed and the seven leaders, MacDonagh and Pearse among them, were executed, along with 9 other rebels. DeValera was also sentenced to death as an organiser of the revolt but was to escape the firing squad because of the confusion surrounding his ancestry (the English authorities did not want to risk the execution of an American citizen).

DeValera was elected as the leader of Sinn Fein upon his release and set about the formation of an Irish parliament (the Dáil). He was arrested in 1918 for subversion and imprisoned in England in Lincoln prison. With the help of Michael Collins he escaped to America to raise both funds for and consciousness about, the Irish plight. In his absence the War of Independence was being waged by Collins. The English Prime Minister of the time was Lloyd George who wanted to see an end to the violence.

DeValera returned to negotiate with Lloyd George and soon realised that his ambition of a free and independent Ireland would not be granted. He returned home and sent a delegation led by Michael Collins to negotiate a settlement.

The subsequent Anglo-Irish Treaty was ratified by the Dáil in 1922 but DeValera opposed both the partition of the country and the Oath of Allegiance to the English crown that the Treaty required. A bloody Civil War followed which saw both the defeat of the Anti-Treaty side, led by DeValera, and the death of Michael Collins.

DeValera was again imprisoned but released in 1926 when he formed the Fianna Fáil party. He now attempted to achieve his aims by the use of constitutional politics. By 1932 he had removed the Oath of Allegiance and sought about establishing an independent Ireland. He created an Irish Constitution in 1937 but an Irish Republic was not declared because of the partition of the country.

DeValera resisted both bribes and threats from Churchill during the war years, (‘the emergency’), and it was not until the Costello led Government declared a Republic in 1948 that the effects of the Anglo-Irish Treaty were finally removed from the Southern part of Ireland. Partition remained.

DeValera was Taoiseach of Ireland for much of the fifties and on 25 June, 1959 he was inaugurated as President of Ireland, a position he held for 14 years. He retired in 1973 and died shortly afterwards, on 29th August 1975 at the age of 92.

He is buried in Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery.

(C) Copyright

St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations in and around Salt Lake City, Utah

“As the one national holiday that is celebrated in more countries around the world than any other, St. Patrick’s Day is the day when everyone wants to be Irish.” 
We have quite a few Utahns that claim Irish ancestry. As such you would expect a number of events, celebrating Ireland’s most cherished holiday, to be held here in Utah. Rinceoiri Don Spraoi’s Irish dancers will be stepping out and helping to liven up several of those events.

Young Dubliners at The Depot: Catch the Young Dubs at The Depot, 400 S. West Temple on Thursday, March 8. Doors open 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. Tickets, $20, or $25 day of show. Visit The Depot website or call, 801-467-TIXX or 800-888-TIXX.
St. Patty’s Day Cooking Class: Gardner Village’s Taste will host an Irish themed cooking class. We all love Corned Beef and Cabbage! But let’s look at a more traditional menu of Parsnip & Apple Soup, Irish Soda Bread, Hunter’s Pie, Shortbread & Irish Coffee Pudding for dessert. Friday, March 16, 6:30 p.m. Cost is $30. Register online.
The 23rd Annual Leprechaun Lope: The 10K, 5K and 1 mile fun run all start at 8:30 AM at the SE corner of the State Capitol and finish in Memory Grove. All pre-registered runners get a tee shirt. Everyone is encouraged to show their Irish spirit by wearing green and Irish costumes. Awards go to division winners, best Irish costume and fastest centipede (4 runners linked by a common costume or rope). Watch for real Leprechauns hiding along the courses! Join the St. Patrick’s Day parade after the race. Register thru
St. Patrick’s Day Parade Photowalk: This event, co-sponsored by Pictureline & Nikon, will be held Saturday, March 17th during the downtown Salt Lake City St. Patrick’s Day parade. Come play with Nikon gear while enjoying the parade! Details for rentals and the Photowalk itself can be found online
2012 Salt Lake City St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Siamsa: The annual Salt Lake City St. Patrick’s Day parade, sponsored by the Hibernian Society of Utah, will be held at the Gateway Saturday, March 17, starting at 10 a.m. The theme for this year’s parade is “Bless The American Worker”. After the parade there will be a siamsa, in the Gateway Grand Hall with plenty of dancing, music, and fun. Rinceoiri will be performing, so plan on this event!
Celtic Celebration at Peery’s Egyptian Theater in Ogden: Peery’s Egyptian Theater will hold it’s annual Celtic Celebration, 2415 Washington Blvd. in Ogden. Saturday, March 17, 7:30 p.m. Tickets $12, $10 for students and seniors. Visit the website or call 801-689-8700.
Celtic Night: Come to Celtic Night March 17th and 23rd at the Ellen Eccles Theater! Enjoy a large amount of Irish Dancing from the Inishfre Irish Dance Company and relax to the amazing Irish music from Leaping Lulu! Get your tickets now at the Ellen Eccles Theater ticket office or online. Tickets are only $12/$15/$19! So come celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with us in true Irish Fashion!
St. Patrick’s Day at The Depot Featuring Swagger: Swagger provides dome local Irish music when they perform live at The Depot on Saturday, Mar. 17 at 6 p.m. Special guests include Slaymaker Hill, Wailing O’Sheas, and the Heathen Highlander Pipe Band. 400 S. West Temple, tickets $15. Must be 21 to attend.

St Patty’s Day 5K Gold Rush:The 3rd Annual St. Patty’s Day 5K Gold Rush will be held in South Jordan on Saturday, March 17, 2012 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Be sure to wear your St. Patty’s Day best for our most popular race of the year! All runners receive a custom race shirt with the St. Patty’s Day theme.  Awards will be given for 1st – 3rd in each age group, Best Dressed and the coveted Green and Gold Award.  All runners will be entered into our raffle for prizes donated by our Race Sponsors. Register online.
Shamrock Shenanigans: Are you feeling lucky today? Starting at 8:00 a.m. find one of the St. Patrick’s Day shamrocks hidden in the kids area of the Draper Library and bring it to the kids desk to see how really lucky you are! For kids ages 12 and under. One shamrock per person while supplies last.
Dance sponsored by Wasatch Contras: Lively traditional music by Bandage a Trois, with Mike Cottle calling. No experience or partner needed, all dances taught and prompted. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Beginner’s workshop 7:00 PM, dancing from 7:30 to 10:30. General Admission $7, Students $5, Youth $3. More information at or contact Lori: 801-278-8765.

Orla Fallon in Concert: Orla Fallon, a harpist formerly of Celtic Woman, strikes out on her own with a 50-city tour in support of her new public television specials. Fallon visits SLC Thursday, March 24, 7:30 p.m. at the Jeanne Wagner Theatre, 138 W. 300 S. Tickets $40. Visit the website or call, 801-351-ARTS (2787) or 888-451-ARTS (2787).
‘Riverdance’ at Kingsbury Hall: Discover why nothing in the world compares to the original international phenomenon. “Riverdance” brings Irish dance, music and stories together with unforgettable magic, at Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. President’s Circle, March 31-April 2. Tickets $25-$57.50 Thursday, March 31, 2011, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, April 1, 2011, 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 2, 2011, 2 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, April 3, 2011, 1 and 6 p.m.

St. Patrick’s Festival 2012 in Ireland Explores the Science of Fun

A host of colourful characters were on hand in Dublin on February 23 to launch St. Patrick’s Festival 2012, which will take place from March 16th – 19th. Drawing inspiration from Dublin’s status as The City of Science, the Festival parade and ever-popular city Treasure Hunt are this year inspired by the how, what and why of science.
The launch revealed how Ireland will stage St. Patrick’s Festival celebrations to mark our country’s national holiday, with a fantastic programme of events to entertain young and old over the four-day Festival on the capital’s streets.  Celebrating the very best in Irish and international talent, Dublin will come alive with pageantry, culture, carnivals and free entertainment.
The sense of discovery, wonder and amazement of science will be seen in spectacular style on the streets of Dublin on 17th March.  With an audience of over 1 million, Ireland’s leading pageant companies will animate a selection of science questions posed by children, such as ‘How is a rainbow formed?’, ‘What makes the weather change? , How is electricity made?’’ and each will present their imaginative, colourful, remarkable and thought provoking creations on the streets of the capital during the Festival parade.
Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar said: “St. Patrick’s Festival is a fantastic showcase for Ireland and for Irish tourism, and a centre piece of our tourism calendar. This festival makes the most of the unique international profile of St Patrick’s Day. There’s a great schedule of free events taking place over the four days of the festival with the very best of Irish and international talent. It will reinforce Ireland’s reputation as a friendly and fun destination for visitors.”
Susan Kirby, CEO of St. Patrick’s Festival, feels the 2012 programme of events will have something for everyone: “Our St. Patrick’s Festival is one of the largest artistic presentations of its kind in the world and the atmosphere in the city is always electric. This year, we will be hosting some of the best events that the capital has ever seen, with something for all ages, nationalities and tastes and the majority are free! The collaboration with Dublin City of Science 2012 also links us to a year-long celebration and will open up the city in a whole new way for many people, with the parade in particular answering everyday questions in a colourful way.  Above all, this is a national celebration and a chance for everyone to come along and enjoy all of the fun of the Festival!”
In preparation for the big day, primary school children from across the country have also joined the fun with discussions based around science questions in the classroom. Responding with drawings, stories and video, a selection of their interpretations will be available to view on the Festival website.  Everyone can take part by downloading the resource pack from the Festival website,, from 1st March. The How? What? & Why? Resource pack explores child-centred answers to the questions being animated by the pageant companies.
Professor Patrick Cunningham, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government, feels the theme to the parade and treasure hunt is an exciting platform for Science “What better way to demonstrate the reach of science into our everyday lives and culture than through Ireland’s national Festival. We are delighted to be working with St Patrick’s Festival, combining science and creativity in a new and exciting way”. 
This year’s jam-packed St. Patrick’s Festival line-up aims to cement the world-class reputation of the 
Irish national holiday with four days and nights of celebration and entertainment, for young and old.
New initiatives have been added to this year’s Festival, such as I LOVE MY CITY; a distinct celebration of Irish culture during the Festival. This special programme of unique, free Irish cultural events takes place in the beautiful surroundings of some of Ireland’s prestigious cultural institutions, venues and spaces in the Georgian Quarter from Merrion Square to Kildare Street. Artists, performers and collectives such as Donal Dineen, Dublin Laptop Orchestra, UNESCO City of Literature and many more will perform on 16th and 17th March. 
I LOVE MY CITY headline events will take place in The National Gallery, The National Museum, the RHA, The National Concert Hall, The National Library and Leinster House while city-wide, cultural institutions and venues will also be offering a variety of activities and interesting events that are a must see at Festival time. The programme will also see an eclectic Trad Stage in Meeting House Square, a busy outdoor music and street performance schedule and an Irish Craft Beer and Artisan Food Market in Custom House Quay. On Friday 16th Dublin’s Creative Quarter (from Georges Arcade via Powerscourt Townhouse to South William Street) will be bustling with activity and the best of Irish design & making will be on show. The full I LOVE MY CITY programme will be launched on March 6th, headline events are free but reserve spaces early to avoid disappointment, check for updates.
Throughout the festivities, Dublin will aim to look her best with businesses and venues joining forces with the Festival to GREEN THE CITY, where buildings will light green and proudly fly the flag to celebrate our National holidays.
Other Festival favourites, such as the St. Patrick’s Festival Céilí are back on the line up for 2012. Kicking off the Festival in style on 16th March, visitors will be immersed in Irish culture and craic at this outdoor celebration of traditional Irish dancing.  This popular event offers a unique and fun-filled way to spend an afternoon dancing on the streets of Dublin. Expert callers will lead the crowd through dances such as the Siege of Ennis, the Walls of Limerick and lots more.
For a true taste of Irish culture and music, be sure to get to Céilí House Live in Concert (in association with RTÉ Radio 1) on Saturday evening, 17th March at the eminent National Concert Hall. Enjoy a traditional evening of the best of Irish music and song as the specially assembled Céilí House All-Stars Céilí band will ensure a rousing St. Patrick’s evening for all. Tickets are available priced from €15-35 at the National Concert Hall box office (01 4170000 or
The Festival Big Day Out (March 18th), set in the heart of Georgian Dublin in Merrion Square offers FREE family fun, thrills and excitement on Festival Sunday and is an inspiring celebration of Irish and international street arts. Taking place from 12pm-6pm Merrion Square will be bursting with colour, street performances, theatrics, Irish language events, workshops, fun zones, music, open air shows and more.
Monday 19th March, the bank holiday in Ireland, kicks off with a scientifically themed Treasure Hunt– The ‘Discovering Science’ Treasure Hunt a free fun trail through a collection of Dublin city’s landmark buildings and venues each with their own science-related connection. Also on Monday 19th the City’s first children’s citywide reading project, run by Dublin City Libraries and Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, will conclude with an exciting event at Connolly station.  Children around the city have been encouraged to read Arthur Quinn and the World Serpent, by first time Irish writer, Alan Early throughout January to March.  A variety of children’s activities including workshops and fun Q&A sessions with the author will take place on a stationary train that children enter through a Giant Serpent’s head. In collaboration with The Ark and The Craft Council of Ireland, the Festival will stage a very special children centric schedule of performance in the beautiful surroundings of The Ark venue in Temple Bar. 
Gaelspraoi, the Irish-language programme of the Festival will also feature an eclectic line-up suitable for all ages and abilities. Bainigi trial as, give it a go – that is the motto of the Gaelspraoi programme!
Dublin’s Lord Mayor, Andrew Montague will lead Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the historic Lord Mayor’s coach and is very much looking forward to March 17th:  “I encourage all Dubliners to come out and celebrate St. Patrick’s Festival 2012.  The parade is one of the city’s great traditions and is an important opportunity to showcase Dublin to the world”.
Street theatre, funfairs and outdoor performances will also be dotted around the city to add to the celebratory atmosphere, alongside an eclectic additional programme of comedy, film, races, walks and talks.  Marching ensembles from around the globe will provide the musical score for the Festival parade – bands from Ireland, the United Kingdom and Russia will join U.S. bands from California, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Texas and Washington to march through the streets of the capital.
St. Patrick’s Festival will take place in 2012 from 16th – 19th March. See

Lá Fhéile Bríde or St. Bridget’s Day, the first day of Spring

St. Brigid’s Well, Liscannor, Co. Clare is still a place of reverence and pilgrimage

Today, February 2, is Lá Fhéile Bríde or St. Bridget’s Day in Ireland. The holiday celebrates the first day of Spring. Some Irish people will make a St. Bridget’s Cross to celebrate and to ward off evil. You can make your own by following these instructions.

“St. Brigid was born in AD 450 in Faughart, near Dundalk in Co. Louth. Her father, Dubhthach, was a pagan chieftain of Leinster and her mother, Broicsech, was a Christian. It was thought that Brigid’s mother was born in Portugal but was kidnapped by Irish pirates and brought to Ireland to work as a slave, just like St. Patrick was. Brigid’s father named her after one of the most powerful goddesses of the pagan religion – the goddess of fire, whose manifestations were song, craftsmanship, and poetry, which the Irish considered the flame of knowledge.” St. Brigid’s School, Dublin

Happy first day of Spring!

Irish Halloween

Modern Halloween traditions and folklore first came to America in the 19th century with the influx of Irish immigrants. Carving turnips and turning them into lanterns was one of the Irish customs that honored the souls stuck in purgatory. Since pumpkins were easier to carve than turnips, this ritual adapted into jack-o-lanterns as All Hollow’s Eve celebrations took shape in America.

Irish Dance Comes to Sesame Street

One of my favorite segments on Sesame Street is Murray Has a Little Lamb. Murray, a monster, and Ovejita, a lamb, go to various schools to learn new things. My absolute favorite is when Murray and Ovejita go to Escuela de Baile Irishes. Irish dance school!
Murray and Ovejita visit the Inishfree School of Irish Dance in New York, which is run by the Reagan family.

“It’s amazing how many people throughout the United States and all over the world watch Sesame Street,” says Sean Reagan, ADCRG. “We still keep getting emails to this day, when people watch the episode on Irish dancing. It was a great experience for all and it will be cherished forever.”

One World Many Stories tells the story of Irish dance

We had a nice mention in the Davis County Clipper the other day.

To start off the summer program, Rinceoiri Don Spraoi will give kids a taste of the Emerald Isles at the South Branch on June 9. The name of the group means “dancing for fun” in Irish Gaelic, and they’ll share some elements of traditional Irish music and dance.

Read more:Davis County Clipper – A world of fun with library summer program

It’s been a great experience performing at various library events in June. Our last event is tonight in Clearfield.