Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Rockaway garbage man has the low down on Rockaway man in the Easter Rising

Ed Shevlin's story is great, if you don't know it already: NYC garbage man who got his GED in his 30s, went to college in his 40s and learned Irish. Now he's in his 50s and is doing a Masters in Irish Studies at NYU.

His research paper on John Kilgallon from Far Rockaway, who took part in the Easter Rising, is summarized in the NY Times.

John was sent away to St. Enda’s School in Dublin, a boarding school run by Patrick Pearse, who went on to help lead the Easter Rising.
Mr. Pearse recruited Mr. Kilgallon and other St. Enda’s students for a unit that stormed the General Post Office, where the rebels set up their headquarters.
Over the course of several days of fierce fighting, Mr. Kilgallon broke into a nearby wax museum and stole a costume of Queen Elizabeth I and returned to the fight wearing it.
And then there's this: "Mr. Shevlin will speak about this research in April at an annual meeting on Irish studies at the University of Notre Dame."

Great stuff.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Walmart—inoffensive, but not actually Irish St Patrick's Day tee-shirts

Walmart has gotten some heat in prior years for their St Patrick's Day tee shirts, etc. Too many (dated?) stereotypes featured in their selection in 2013, 2014, 2015, but not this year. This year, from my own observation, the shirts are not straining to be funny.

However, the shirts on display in Walmart that I saw were not entirely au fait with Ireland's national symbol - the shamrock, the three-leaf shamrock. A four-leaf clover might make for a nice shirt - I guess - but it is not a symbol of Ireland or the Irish. So Walmart and Fruit of the Loom have it wrong here.

No idea what's going on with that skull and swords image, but the little clovers all have four leaves. Tut-tut.

There was one shirt that had it right. Just one and it wasn't a Fruit of the Loom shirt. It's nothing special, but at least the shamrock has the maximum three leaves.