Denver resident Matt Updike recently qualified to compete in the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, September 6-17, as a member of the US Paralympic Cycling Team. While he”s been on the US Team for several years it”s his first time qualifying for a Paralympic Games. Although making the team was a tremendous accomplishment in itself, Matt can use your help and support down the home stretch toward his goal in China. “In order to help Matt perform his best in China we”ve decided to have a fundraiser so he can have the proper equipment and training needed to bring home a medal” hopefully one that”s gold.” said Andrew Toole, owner of Scruffy Murphy”s ” “Having the best when it comes to things such as wheels, tires, components, etc. and being able to afford to have sufficient time to train can make a huge difference in results and we want to give Matt his best shot at that gold.” The fundraiser for Matt will be Thursday, August 7 at Scruffy Murphy”s, 2030 Larimer Street, Denver. Folks interesting in helping can write a tax deductible check to: US Handcycling. “US Handcycling (501c3 non-profit) has been a long time supporter of mine,” said Matt, “It is a great organization that”s involved in putting on elite handcycle races as well as grass roots efforts such as getting kids with disabilities and newly injured people into handcycling.” If you can”t attend the fun at Scruffy Murphy”s but would still like to support Matt and US Handcycling please go to www.ushandcycling.org where you can make a donation online easily with your credit card. Born in 1971 in Syracuse, New York, Matt was injured in an automobile accident in the Fall of 1997 that left him paralyzed from the chest down, however, Matt immediately made his way back to skiing and cycling, his two passions prior to the accident. Matt began racing on the handcycling circuit in 2000 and showed dramatic improvement in a short time. He went from finishing near the back in his first season, to a National Time Trial Title and a Bronze Medal at the 2002 IPC World Championships in Germany. Through continued resolve and hard work Matt has become a dominate force in his race and has won multiple National Championships in the past few years and was most recently a member of Team MasterCard ” a select international group of handcyclists chosen to participate in events/races around the World. Matt”s speed often takes him first across the finish lines, but he also has a great deal of endurance. He proved this when he brook the 24 hour distance World Record, riding his handcycle over 463 km in 24 hours through the Dutch countryside. Andre Toole commented on Matt”s fortitude, “He is a real inspiration, he works-out every day and is built like a brick-shithouse; than he”ll take off on a Saturday for a 50 mile ride! Besides training and racing, Matt is currently working a residential mortgage banker with Universal Lending Corp (mupdike@ulc.com www.denverloanracer.com). He enjoys volunteering at Craig Hospital as a peer counselor and with Adaptive Adventures helping kids get into handcycling. The August 7th fundraiser at Scruffy Murphy”s, 2030 Larimer Street, Denver 80205 (303-291-6992) runs from 6-8pm. $20 includes free drinks, etc. Tax deductible donations to Matt c/o U.S. Handcycling are greatly appreciated.

Irish Band Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys have an internet hit on “YouTube” in the works with their song celebrating Barack Obama’s Irish ancestry, “There’s No One as Irish As Barack O’Bama”. The band from Limerick, Ireland, made up of brothers Ger, Brian, and Donnacha Corrigan wrote the song after learning about a study last year that revealed Barack Obama roots to Moneygall, a small town in County Offaly. “We have been messing around for the last year or two as a band” said Ger Corrigan who described the band as “specializing in parody songs.” “We wrote the song about Obama because we heard he was from Moneygall, and we were really just doing it for a bit of fun.” The bands initial offering of the “Obama song” went without fanfare. “We put the song on Youtube in March and by the end of April it had only 25 hits” said Ger Corrigan. But that has all changed since the worldwide media have picked up on the “bit of fun” of the song and story. Now newspapers, TV, websites and bloggers from all over the world are covering the story. Irish media has also been joining in on the fun. At the end of June Hardy Drew and The Nancy boys headlined the “Obama Nomination Celebrartion Gig” in Obama”s “hometown” in Moneygall Ireland. This was carried live on the Irish National News TV3. A documentary maker following the bands story and recorded the celebration gig for posterity. The facts behind the fun come from recent findings uncovered by Canon Stephen Neill, a Church of Ireland rector in Moneygall, who found that the Hawaiian-born Illinois senator’s Irish Anglican ancestors hailed from the village, many of whom emigrated to America at the time of Ireland’s potato famine in the 1840s. Baptismal and marriage records has traced Mr Obama’s maternal family tree back to his great-great-great-great grandfather Joseph Kearney, a well-to-do shoemaker from Moneygall, Co Offaly, who lived from 1794 to 1861. Mr. Obama ,son of a Kenyan man and a woman from Kansas, recently spoke with Irish televison RTE in regards to his Irish roots. He said in jest, “I”ve always maintained that Obama is and Irish name ” just put the apostrophe after the O and your all set.” There is no word yet if the band will fly to Denver this month for the Democratic National Convention to honor the presidential candidate as the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2008 presidential election, but “Michiganders for Obama” have invited the band to play in Michigan if Obama succeeds in the November Presidential Race. Pat McCullough August 08 Celtic Connection

The groundbreaking partnership aims to bring over 2000 volunteers from the”U.S.”and”Ireland”to the Khayelitsha township, located approximately 25 miles outside”Cape Town. Meaning Xhosa for “our new home,” Khayelitsha is one of the youngest and biggest townships in the”Cape”Flats area. The Blitz will take place at the overcrowded Site C, the oldest part of the township with only a few decent houses in the area.” In one week, volunteers will build more than 250 houses, as well as a community center, and a Garden”of”Hope. An additional 550 houses will be built during the year by township residents trained in the construction trade. “We”re looking for people who want to change the lives of hundreds of South African families forever,” says Mellon. “If you can”t come, maybe you know someone who can” a sister, a brother, a work colleague. Please help us spread the word because we need your help to recruit volunteers.” The sixth annual Building Blitz program is well underway with Irish volunteers, including more than 1,300 construction workers, already raising funds in Ireland to participate in the event.”Each volunteer must raise $8,000, which covers flight, accommodation, and construction costs for the houses. The Township Trust covers administrative costs. “Going into the Blitz, I didn”t know what”to expect. My Irish friend Gavin Bonnar has volunteered with the housing project for six years and has always”told”me, “it will change your life,”" says Dylan Hoffman, a 2007 volunteer from”New York. “I have always thought of myself as a giving person. I have supported various organizations such as the World Wild Life Federation and National Public Radio. I have also given annually to the police and volunteered on Thanksgiving soup lines. But I had no idea how much I would be affected by this experience. Handing”keys to a family that has been waiting 20 years for their home ” a home you built no less ” is an incredibly moving experience and something every human being”should”touch upon.”" Since 2002, NMTT has built nearly 5,000 houses in 10 townships in the”Western Cape”and 13 townships in”Gauteng, with 21,235 township adults and children moving into new homes in 2007 alone. The organization also works alongside the South African government to install running water and sanitation facilities and to provide children with a safe place to study and a dry place to keep their school books and uniforms. In addition, thousands of job opportunities have been created for township residents who have graduated the NMTT construction trade training program. “It gives us back our dignity to have a key in your own door and to open the door. It makes you feel human,” says Elize Tully, a new home owner from the Netreg township. 2008 volunteers, mainly from”Ireland, the”U.S., and other countries, including”England,”Wales, France,”Germany, the”Netherlands, Italy,”Finland,”Lithuania”and”Australia, will participate in the Blitz. More than 1800″Irish volunteers have already been recruited, including 710 “veteran” volunteers who participated in past efforts. Approximately 80 percent of the Irish volunteers are trades people, representing a wide variety of skills from carpentry to block laying. The remaining 20% will come from a diverse range of backgrounds, faiths, and professions. “Apartheid is over, but its legacy ” homelessness ” remains,” says Paddy Maguiness, Worldwide CEO of the Township Trust. “The”South Africa”government has built over 2 million houses for the poor since the fall of apartheid. Despite this achievement nearly 2.5 million people still live in shacks. This partnership adds a new dimension to existing efforts to change the direction of housing and poverty alleviation efforts in Africa and, by partnering with our friends across the Atlantic, we can make a real difference.” Many elected and government officials welcome the effort to bring Americans on board, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Congressman Charles Rangel, Congresswoman Carolyn Kilpatrick, the Congressional Black Caucus, and prominent faith leaders, including Diocese of Washington Rev. John Bryson Change. Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former South African President Nelson Mandela also support the initiative. About”Niall”Mellon”Township”Initiative
Since 2007, the Niall Mellon Township Initiative (NMTI) is a 501(c)3 tax-deductible not-for-profit organization registered in the”U.S.”All contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. NMTI works in close partnership with The Niall Mellon Township Trust (NMTT) based in”Dublin,”Ireland. To learn more about the Building Blitz, visit www.you-tube.com”and type in “Niall Mellon Township Trust.”

As a school boy he listened as his history teacher talked for two days about the Algonkin Indian tribe of Canada who were constantly at war with the Iroquois Nation of upstate New York. “On the second day I asked, “Can you tell me why these two were not getting along?” and his answer to me was, “Well Kenneth, that”s just the way it was.” And I said to myself “that answer is no answer at all!”" As an adult, Ken sought to not only answer the Algonkin /Iroquois question, but as a labor of love researched all American Indian tribes as well as their languages over a 15-year period. He knows the answer to his question now ” and it is much more complex than anything his former teacher could have imagined. In 2002, Ken began to research his own Irish ancestry. His mother, Bridget Agnes Hannon, was a 15-year-old girl when she emigrated from a hamlet near Ballymote, Co. Sligo. “My wife, Diane, said to me, “You know you really should look into your mother”s Irish surname (Hannon)”". He found a quote from a popular genealogist that said “for an armigerous family very little is known about the Hannons”. For Ken it was “game on!” He made a vow to himself that the lack of knowledge would end that day. “I just started pouring into it ” I knew where to go and what to do and how to find the information.” Not only did he learn about the Hannon name, but he also became one of the founding officers of Clan Hannon. “We have members now in 16 countries on 5 continents ” we are also members of the Clans of Ireland Ltd. of County Dublin, Ireland, (that was begun by the Irish government) which actually organizes all officially registered Irish clans.” Ken has also spoken to many Hannons worldwide giving proof to the width and length of the Irish Diaspora; including descendents of the Wild Geese still living today on the European continent that hunger for information on their Hannon ancestors. In 2005, as a dual citizen of both the USA and the Republic of Ireland he returned from San Francisco”s Irish Consulate with his new Irish passport. “My siblings and I consider the opportunity to obtain an Irish passport a final gift from our immigrant mother.” Turned on to his Irish side, Ken got involved with the Colorado Irish Festival. For the past 4 years he has been Cultural Coordinator in charge of the fest”s Cultural Village. After last year”s fest, fellow board members approached him about adding an Irish surname exhibit to the Cultural Village. They didn”t need to twist his arm. “I have a tremendous respect for our Irish ancestors and have studied and researched this topic for years ” so it”s something pretty close to my heart” said Ken, who has been working on the exhibit the better part of this year. “I spent some good time working on this,” he chuckled, and added, “I think this will be worth the time for people to come and see the exhibit at the Colorado Irish Festival.” Ken continued with great enthusiasm about Irish surnames and of the information that will be on hand at the exhibit. “Ireland was the first country in Europe to have surnames ” ” Cl”irigh (O”Cleary) being the first on record in 916 A.D.,” he pointed out proudly, “That fact has been forgotten because of all the turbulence that Ireland has gone through over the centuries ” and also because Ireland”s surnames were forced to be anglicized from their original Irish spelling. The Irish surnames in their Irish form mean something totally different from the anglicized form which was adopted, and those anglicized versions for the most part have remained today, though many are reverting back to the original form in Ireland itself.” To put things in perspective ” Norway did not have permanent surnames “til they passed a law in 1925 (1,000 years after Ireland!) and Iceland to this day still does not use permanent surnames. Early Irish surnames often indicated a clann, place of origin, or a trade, under “Brehon Law” (the Celtic legal code). At the exhibit there will be Irish surnames that show the original Irish language spelling and meaning next to the anglicized version ” along with the spelling used by 137 historic figures who had those surnames. He found 103 Irish surnames that begin with “Mac Giolla …” which means “son of the servant of” followed by an Irish saint”s name. The exhibit has included a couple of those names. Ken wants people to know and understand that the surname their ancestor had is different than the one they have today. “I want to tell the stories of the men and women who no longer can speak for themselves. I want to tell the story of the people who suffered in the Great Famine “An Gorta Mor.” I want to tell the story of the 138 years of the Penal Laws which lasted through six British monarchs (five to six Irish generations) ” not to make people angry, but rather to educate them and make them proud of their ancestors who faced those hardships and survived. If our ancestors had not survived, we ourselves would not be here today. According to Ken, the first time England tried cracking down on the Irish surnames, along with the Catholic Cambro-Norman surnames, was in the 1300″s. England escalated efforts in the 17th and 18th century to anglicize the Irish surnames ” names that spoke of family history and religion. “So the Irish name, spelling, pronunciation, and meaning that had been used for 775 years now had to be changed. In the exhibit I talk about this, how they (England) made suggestions to the Irish ” “Use the name of your trade ” if you are a butler, clerk, cook, or blacksmith for example, use those names ” or just use the surname of White, Brown, or Black.” An example of how the English neutralized the Irish surnames was given by Ken, “McGowan (anglicized), a surname originating in Ulster, where the McGowans of Co. Cavan changed their name to “Smith” (their trade was blacksmiths) ” however, the McGowans in Counties Sligo, Leitrim, and Donegal, kept the name of McGowan ” and yet they were all related to begin with, but you would not know that at first glance.” Most of the Irish tried to stay as close to their surname as possible, but if they wanted work they had to anglicize their surnames. “If you were Irish Catholic you could not educate your children, practice your religion, own property, or own your own business ” in effect all Irish Catholic men were destined to be day laborers under the Penal Laws.” Ken pointed to a University College in Cork 3-year research project that recently ended resulting in the discovery of 3,700 Irish Surnames ” spelled 11,500 different ways! “We cannot do all of the 3,700 Irish Surnames ” that”s just physically impossible…but we do have ninty-six featured surnames as a microcosm of Irish history covering over a thousand years.” Most of the names in the exhibit are taken from the local Colorado Irish community, but there will be some historical Irish heroes” surnames as well. Much of Ken”s research material for the exhibit came from the work of Reverend Patrick Wolfe who wrote a book “Irish Names and Surnames” in 1923. His research and book are still highly regarded by many who study Irish surnames. Ken spoke with great respect and admiration, “For twenty years Reverend Patrick Wolfe researched Irish forenames and surnames. He went from town to town throughout all 32 counties. He also went to the Gaelic areas of Scotland because of the Dalriadan Clans (Irish who left Co. Antrim c.500 AD, colonized Scotland, and later gave rise to the term “Highlanders”). He met many people during those 20 years ” people who told him where they were from before they were transplanted off their lands, and where their surnames originally came from “. With hopes that folks make an effort to experience the new Irish Surname (Sloinnte Gael) Exhibit at the Colorado Irish Festival this July 11-13, Ken believes that they will be educated if not surprised ” and some might be outright encouraged. “If I can tantalize you a little bit by helping you find out where your surname was from perhaps you will get into researching a bit more than you might have. Perhaps you will do your own family research ” maybe not to the extent that I did with the Hannons, but I”m hopeful that many people will. The joy of discovering the history of your ancestors can be very rewarding.” For more information on the Colorado Irish Festival go to www.ColoradoIrishFestival.org.

Fearing for her safety and the safety of her family, Nelson went to the RUC looking for protection. Her cries for help were denied. Nelson then went to many people with reports of threats against her life and her subsequent requests for protection ” including Burke with whom she met in Lurgan at a March 1998 dinner, and other delegates from the Lawyers Alliance for Justice in Ireland. After many requests to the authorities (RUC) for protection, she was murdered outside her home in March 1999 by a car bomb. The Rosemary Nelson Murder Inquiry”s main objective is to determine if British authorities, particularly the RUC, had involvement with the murder or protected those involved. Burke did testified in Belfast Thursday the 22nd of May. Here are a few of his thoughts upon returning to Denver. (To read Burkes full testimony go to www.rosemarynelsoninquiry.org – Click on “transcripts” and go to May 22, his testimony is the second that day). “The big thing I thought was very impressive was the people that I had never met nor knew about, who had very similar testimony to mine ” about the death threats that had been made and the attempts to get help for her (Nelson)…one of them was a peer (British) Sir Lewis Blom Cooper, he started off by giving testimony that seemed favorable to the British, but then as he got into it he talked about all of his contact with her and how terrible the situation was for her (Nelson)” “They”re (British) trying to show that she was a publicity hound ” and having an affair with a client ” which was just ridicules.” Burke went on to give reasons why everyone who knew Rosemary Nelson believed it was ridicules, including her high ethics as a wife and local lawyer and the small town environment (no secrets). Burke implied that it was common belief these were fabricated rumors put out by the RUC after her death as a diversion and/or to further discredit Nelson. “One person that was on the witness stand was a person who worked in Nelson”s office ” she was asked, “Have you heard anything about an affair between Mrs. Nelson and Colin Duffy?” and she said, “Yes I have…I saw it in a newspaper after she was dead and I didn”t believe it.”" The lawyer (Barry Philips) for the inquiry ” called a Barrister ” was the only one permitted to ask questions. Burke thought that the Barrister was generally reasonable in his line of questioning ” with the exception of some argumentative questions that were emailed to him from a solicitor named Donaldson who represented the RUC/PSNI. Burke believes that the Inquiry will go into 2009. He will give periodic updates to the Celtic Connection and the results of the Inquiry.

Why would an Irish musician living in the Netherlands contact a blues-rock musician in Colorado? Mark Gilligan contacted someone he had never heard about before as he started to search for other musicians that were suffering from the same disease that he was, MS, multiple sclerosis. Mark has performed most of his life, including with Noel Redding from the Jimi Hendrix Experience and now performs with his band the John O Gods, a compelling mix of Irishmen and Dutchmen with an unmistakably Irish feel in their music. Born in Dublin, Mark and his bandmates live in the Netherlands. Though always a happy-go-lucky guy, MS is taking its toll, Mark was recently hospitalized because of his weakening legs. In 2005 he contacted Linda Storey, another musician with MS, in Colorado. Though an ocean away, MS has brought them together in the fight of their lives to find the cure and to inspire others with MS. Despite the fact that Linda is now in a wheelchair she continues to write and perform “soulful blues rock” with her daughter Jessica Storey with some of Colorado”s best Musicians. She also is President and Founder of CASE for MS and Rockin’ out MS, a nonprofit that raises funds to benefit those with MS. Their dream is to record and perform their original music together this spring, May 2008. They will record at John Macy’s studios in Denver and then perform their first gig together at the “Rockin out MS” concert and fundraiser, May 22nd, 8 pm at Fados Irish Pub in downtown Denver with special”guest”the Indulgers“from Denver. Dates continue May 23, 8 pm at Celtic Crossing, Castle”Pines, May 24, 8 pm at Avogadros, Fort Collins 8″ PM and May 25, 7 pm at RocknSoul Cafe, Boulder.”$10 donation for all concerts

Rosemary Nelson, mother of 3 young children, drove from her home in LurgenLurgan, a town in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, on March 15, 1999. A hundred yards from her home and down the street from her children”s school, a bomb that had been placed under her car detonated. Friends and family rushed to the wreckage to find her dying of mortal wounds which included loss of both legs and severe abdominal injuries. They tried to aid and comfort her but little else could have been done. Nelson died a few hours later after unsuccessful surgery to save her life at the age of 40. Shortly after the murder, the Red Hand Defenders, a Protestant loyalist/unionist paramilitary group not in support of the Good Friday peace accord and the cease-fire agreement, placed a call to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and claimed responsibility for the killing. Rosemary Nelson was the sole solicitor in her small legal practice in Lurgan (less than 20 miles southwest of Belfast). In her practice she crossed over the sectarian lines that divided her town and represented clients from all backgrounds in routine legal business. As a part of her local practice, she came to public prominence for representing Catholic residents of nearby Portadown in the volatile dispute over the routing of Protestant Orange Drumcree parades. She also took on a small number of other controversial cases in which she represented high profile Catholic clients including the family of Robert Hamill ” a Catholic kicked to death by a loyalist mob while Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers were nearby, and also defended leading republican Colin Duffy and overturned his conviction for murdering a soldier after it emerged that a crucial police witness was a loyalist paramilitary. It was this small percentage of Nelson”s work that led her to be target of vilification by factions of the Protestant loyalist community, and to receive threats to her clients and to herself from that community and the overwhelmingly Protestant unionist RUC. After Nelson”s death many questions emerged about the suspicious circumstances surrounding her murder. ” Did neighbor”s reports of intense amount of British Army activity around the Nelson home in the days and hours leading up to the murder have some part to play in the deployment of the bomb? ” Did the Red Hand Defenders have assistance from a more mainstream paramilitary organization(s), participating in the cease-fire? ” Was her murder it intended to disruptive the peace process by inciting counter-violence from Catholic, pro-Irish paramilitaries? ” Subsequently, was there a failure of the RUC to secure the crime scene and follow-up investigation? ” Was the attack targeted specifically against Nelson because she was a solicitor, or was it a warning to those she represented? Nelson’s murder was one of more than three thousand during the modern day Troubles that began in 1969. In the eyes of many who followed the plight of Northern Ireland, aspects of Nelson”s killing were immediately recognized as similar to those surrounding the murder of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane in 1989 (Three masked men shot him in front of his horrified family in 1989), a killing widely recognized as a result of British security force collusion. What sets Nelson”s murder case apart and adds further controversy is the refusal of the British state to protect her after her repeated reports of RUC death threats aimed at her and specific requests for protection from these threats were made known to RUC by various people and agencies, including international human rights lawyers ” and even to the US Congress and the United Nations! Denver attorney Tom Burke and others met with Nelson in 1998 and were told directly by her of threats made against her life, and at her request went to the RUC and requested protection for her. Thomas (Tom) J. Burke Jr. lives with his family in Denver, Colorado where he practices civil law for Jones & Keller, P.C. He was born and raised in Minnesota. His ancestors are immigrants from Ireland who came to Minnesota to live and raise families in the State”s first Irish settlement, Shieldsville. Influenced by his family”s Irish background the subject of Ireland became increasingly dear as he grew. While an undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota he studied the history of the British Isles, with emphasis on the history of Ireland. During the late 1960″s distressing events that later became known as “The Troubles” remerged in Northern Ireland. Burke developed a life-long interest in Northern Ireland that would eventually involve him as a witness in one of the most intriguing murder cases of The Troubles. In the early to mid-1990″s Burke became a member of a couple of internet discussion groups having to do with Northern Ireland issues. Through these he learned of Ed Lynch and his New Jersey non-profit group, Lawyers Alliance for Justice in Ireland. “It was a group of lawyers who were interfacing with judicial and political authorities in Northern Ireland,” Burke said, “At that time we had about a hundred members, and it was a very active organization ” they were appearing in all of the court cases where people were being deported (Irish republican/nationalists activists), but the big thrust of the organization was going over there (Northern Ireland) and engaging and convincing them (both sides) that you would never get any peace in the form of a new government without everybody being allowed to participate” Lynch invited Burke to join the Alliance delegation to Belfast in February, 1998. Burke and the delegation arrived in Belfast mid February. The first days the delegation, in whole or in part, met with members of both sides of the divide, Particularly, but not exclusively with those of legal, political, and policing-related groups and professions in Belfast. On the evening of February 17th Burke and all of the members of his delegation met in a secluded separate dining room in the Beresford Arms in Lurgan for a private dinner with a few members of the community. One of the guests was Rosemary Nelson, and it became obvious to Burke that she was the featured person on that particular evening. During the meal Nelson stood up and introduced herself and recounted the nature of her law practice in Lurgan, which seemed for the most part a standard small-town practice. She went on to mention that she also represented people accused of offenses such as being a member of the IRA and also those allegedly involved in IRA actions. At this point there was a pregnant pause ” Nelson went on to say that she wanted the delegation to know that she had been receiving death threats from the RUC. In Burke”s estimation she recounted the fact that 4 or 5 of her clients were independently taken to Gough RUC Barracks outside of Lurgan and typically held for several days and were bruised and battered before being released, normally for a lack of evidence. When here clients were released they went to Nelson with instruction from the RUC officers to inform her that she was going to die. Looking back on the meeting with Nelson and his N.I. experiences in general, Burke offered his opinion of the climate that surrounded Nelson at the time. “It all started when she (Nelson) had a client by the name of Colin Duffy, who was suppose to have been responsible for some sort of homicide, and she represented him, took it to trial and he was acquitted. The ” all the RUC police just went nuts ” that”s when they started picking people up and bringing them up to the RUC barracks outside of Lurgan and pounding them around for a couple of days and never bring them to charge.” Adding a perspective as an American attorney he continued, “Under American law you have to arraign after you pick them up ” up there they have a week ” and a lot of stuff can get done in a week. People were given damage awards right and left ” 30,000 pounds, one of them ” they didn”t care, they would just pay it and keep on going.” As Nelson continued to stand before the delegates at the 1998 dinner, she told Burke and the delegates that she was concerned for her safety and also for that of her husband and three school-age children. She also directly asked the members of the delegation to meet with the local RUC Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan in regards to her safety concerns and specifically requested to get on the Protected Persons Programme. Burke and other members of the delegation told Nelson that they already had a scheduled meeting with Flanagan in a couple of days and assured her that they would raise her safety concerns and request to be on the Protected Persons Programme. After Nelson sat down and the meal continued Burke, who sat one or two seats away from Nelson, had further conversation with her. She told him one particular story which took place just a couple of weeks previously that frightened her terribly. Nelson had been pushing her cart through a grocery market store in Lurgan when she noticed a large man that she believed was following her. When they got to an area where there were only two f them, he approached her and said that if she continued representing “IRA scum” she would be killed. Having grown up in Lurgan she knew many people by sight, but Nelson said that she had never seen this man before. Two days after their dinner with Nelson, Burke and some members of his delegation met with Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan at RUC Head Quarters. As promised to Nelson, members of the delegation succinctly relayed her concerns of death threats which came from RUC officers via her clients, and her concerns for her safety and her request to be placed in the Protected Persons Programme. Flanagan initially responded by moving to the topic of how difficult it was to investigate matters involving his officers, but eventually said that he would look into matters of Nelson. Almost a year later, in February 1999, Burke and a smaller LAJI delegation which including Ed Lynch returned to Belfast. They had arranged a meeting at RUC Head Quarters again with Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan to follow-up on the previous year”s conversation about the protection of Rosemary Nelson. According to Burke, Flanagan”s response, in essence was that Nelson was not entitled to any protection under the law. “He was very well aware of what was going on, but seemed resolved that he wasn”t going to do anything to protect her.” Within weeks Rosemary Nelson was murdered. By then, Burke was back in the United States. He was working in his Denver office when he heard the report on the news, followed by a call from Ed Lynch who also relayed the news. That evening at home, Burke turned on one of the American network news programs and caught a BBC report on the murder. He recalled seeing RUC Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan commenting on camera with words essentially saying “I am only sorry we had no notice that protection was necessary.” Having been in two meetings with Flanagan in a year”s time, and having knowledge to the contrary of Flanagan”s comments, Burke was completely shocked. In reflection Burke commented, “We all took oaths as lawyers to resolve disputes not by violence but by the law ” and we didn”t advocate violence. But it”s quite another thing to say that you understand why the violence was occurring ” because basically what they (unionists) were doing was trying to squeeze any nationalist out of the new government, they just wanted to organize it so that the Catholic portion of the population wasn”t going to be a part of it ” most particularly the republicans who wanted pretty much an immediate unification with the South.” In 2001 a retired Canadian Supreme Court Judge, Peter Cory was appointed by the British and Irish governments to undertake a thorough investigation of allegations of collusion between British and Irish security forces and paramilitaries in six particular cases involving “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland which were so controversial they stood in the way of a peace agreement. One of those cases was that of Rosemary Nelson”s murder. One of the witnesses asked and who subsequently gave a statement was Tom Burke. The Cory Collusion Inquiry report was delivered by Judge Cory in October of 2003. Cory recommended inquiries including Nelson”s case. The British government agreed to set up an inquiry into Rosemary Nelson’s death following the recommendations ” and pressures ” from Judge Cory. The inquiry”s scope was, “To inquire into the death of Rosemary Nelson with a view to determining whether any wrongful act or omission by or within the Royal Ulster Constabulary, Northern Ireland Office, Army or other state agency facilitated her death or obstructed the investigation of it, or whether any such act or omission was intentional or negligent; whether the investigation of her death was carried out with due diligence; and to make recommendations.” The official opening of the Inquiry in Craigavon, Co. Armagh was in April 2005. Burke, Lynch, and Ned McGinley, then National President of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, attended the official opening. Burke, Lynch and others at the two meetings with Flanagan were summoned to New York City to give the Inquiry”s solicitors further statements in May, 2006. ” However, the the actual public hearing where British intelligence officers, police chiefs and top civil servants will be questioned to determine if authorities had a role in the murder of Nelson just opened April 15, 2008 in Belfast at the Interpointe Center in Belfast. Tom Burke has been summoned to Belfast for the Inquiry and as of this writing he is scheduled to give testimony on May 22nd. Celtic Connection, May 2008 issue Sources: Celtic Connection interview with Tom Burke; Witness statement of Thomas (Tom) Burke from Cory Inquiry; Irish Aires News; BBC; An Phoblacht; Rosemary Nelson & The Quest for Justice by James J. Brosnahan, Esq. & Dan VanDeMortel www.injusticebusters.com; www.rosemarynelsoninquiry.org/; www.breakingnews.ie; www.ireland.comhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemary_Nelson; http://news.sky.com; www.serve.com/pfc/rosemary/rosemary.html

Reviewed by Mary McWay Seaman,
Celtic Connection, April, 2008 How often do our mortal selves bear scrutiny as a mighty chunk of nature, chiseled as we are by technological realignments to flesh, blood and bone? Probably not too often; rather, we use “nature” as a reference to outdoor surroundings and the birds, the beasts and the blossoms of the wilderness. Nature writers like Robert Finch ordinarily focus on creatures and habitats outside the human realm, but Finch”s new book, THE IAMBICS OF NEWFOUNDLAND, makes a creative inspection of us as “nature” in a remote part of North America. His rambles across Newfoundland (including Labrador) from 1987 to 1996 are distilled in this captivating probe of the area”s prime natural commodity ” people. Generous helpings of anthropology, sociology, biology, botany, geology and politics season his studies, and loads of local humor and lively gatherings of the citizenry offer a graceful portrait of man”s adaptation to a punishing, resplendent habitat. Beginning in the sixteenth century, Newfoundland”s native Beothuk Indians were joined by succeeding waves of Basque whalers from France and Spain, British farmers from Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, Irish laborers from Waterford, and Portuguese fishermen seeking shelter from the tempests. Newfoundland”s capital, St. John”s, was once a prominent seaport famous for cod harvests, but the decline of its main fish brought hard times. This hilly port city is home to garrulous natives with accents akin to Irish, prompting the author to remark on its “charming lack of self-awareness.” The Old World is immediately brought to mind with structures boldly painted in contrasting colors, reminiscent of the Irish port of Cobh, County Cork. In 1949 Newfoundland became part of Canada, but St. John”s still summons an eighteenth-century character with laneways and pedestrian alleys layered over ancient footpaths. Finch”s vigorous analysis of the settlement”s turbulent history tenders some heart-rending testimonies. The city has a long reputation as a tough drinking town, “where, less than a century ago, children of ten or twelve years who worked on the wharves were paid in “lots” of rum by the merchants, so that scores of young boys staggered home drunk from twelve-hour workdays.” Observations about education and the oral history of Newfoundland before unification with Canada will surprise readers. “Schoolchildren . . .grew up with a more-or-less ordered idea of the sequence of British monarchs or the course of the American Revolution, while their own history survived in a dreamtime of stories, verses, ballads, jokes and a dialect that shared more with nineteenth-century Devon than with twentieth-century Toronto.” Finch is at his finest in depicting his relationships with individual Newfoundlanders in their distinct districts. A robust regionalism marks this land with its own time zone (Newfoundland Standard Time is 30 minutes ahead of the other Atlantic Provinces). Villages and towns are called and colored by their particular Irish or English ancestry, (the clans still cling together) and larger communities are defined by their Irish Catholic and British Protestant sections. Newfoundland provides a close encounter with the speech patterns of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Ireland and Britain. Delightful passages of humorous, musical vernacular are a sublime treat. The author notes that, “Like most places with widely dispersed and long-isolated populations, Newfoundland has spawned a wealth of local dialects. In St. John”s and in most towns on the Avalon Peninsula, local speech exhibits a strong Irish rhythm and lilt.” Amazingly, the distinct Irish dialect of early nineteenth-century Waterford remains intact, and “Irishisms such as curwibble, flaboolach, glawvawn, kawnya-vawnya, loodle-daddle, noody-nawdy, shabeen, sleveen, and pampooty dance playfully across the palate.” People of all ages are greeted as “my son,” or “my maid,” (phrases still heard in the Ozarks and Appalachia), and the Newfie “f” is often pronounced as a “v.” Accordion players are called “fiddlers,” and a bounty of other idiomatic terms and phrases percolate across the pages. The verbal stew also combines bits of Celtic and French salted with some “mangled Latin.” The language of Virgil, Horace and Ovid weaves itself into daily discourse in the doorways of St. John”s with such terms as “Tallis Quallis,” a common colloquialism for “such as it is.” Linguists, historians and casual readers will find themselves glued to the pages as passionate conversationalists share opinions on everything from churches to caribou carcasses. The sparkling discussion of language continues with examples of mixed subject and verb forms, such as “I plans, and we wants.” Finch relates that, “Virtually all uses of present-tense verbs are given the third-person singular form” an example of which follows: “I plans to go up to the hall Saturday night. Is you thinking of coming along?” Some objects have genders, similar to Latin and French, although the genders might change – e.g., “He was reputed to be a good boat, but I didn”t care much for she.” Finch relays that he “caught most of what the men said when they talked directly to me, but when they began talking among themselves I was generally lost. This seemed to be a common trait among outport people, adapting their dialect somewhat to the person being spoken to, and then reverting to their native dialect among themselves.” Interestingly, many locals refer to the United States as the “Boston States,” a term from Depression days when many Newfoundlanders sought work in Massachusetts. I wished for a map within the book, but tracked Finch”s trail with an atlas close at hand. Evocative place names ring out harmoniously, and the geographic nomenclature enchants ” a “tickle” is a narrow passage of water between cliffs, and a “landwash” is a beach. Place names on tundra, barrens, boggy wetlands, forests and seacoasts allude to their histories. Signal Hill, Cuckold”s Head, Quidi Vidi Harbour, Salvage, Little Careless Brook, Squid Tickle, St. Bride”s, Placentia and Trepassy are just a few places with old stories behind them. From the Cape Spear lighthouse and park to Cape St. Mary”s gannet colony, from barren moorlands to the Cape Pine lighthouse, the author”s expertise on the natural world (beyond our own flesh) asserts itself with eloquence. Moose and caribou hunts are an important financial and cultural industry in Newfoundland. Finch went completely native when he deployed himself on a hunt with Newfie friends, and tales of this adventure include the added amusements of dodging tricky, bureaucratic hunting regulations. As in Ireland, governmental rules are subject to broad interpretations and loose translations. Indeed, our nature writer decided that the “whole system seems to be widely regarded as something to manipulate or evade.” Newfoundland”s seal hunts are under attack by animal rights groups, especially after a much-publicized incident involving the three Hearn brothers who supposedly “tortured” some seals a few years ago. Such brouhaha could only occur when an older, hardier, closer-to-nature culture rebuffs teachings from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Hunters continue to rail against blustering busybodies who interfere with natural resource interactions (hunting traditions) dating back several centuries. Towards the end of this memorable tour, I read and reread the author”s remarks as he watched a Seinfeld rerun and found himself “wondering what Newfoundlanders make of such a narcissistic, nihilistic, irony-drenched portrait of life.” Robert Finch, nature writer, correspondent, interpreter, historian and scout, salutes the bewitching, merry people of Newfoundland and their boundless bonhomie in this joyous, irresistible account.

Native-American lore preserves an illuminating record of a complex and extensive interaction between indigenous peoples and the Irish on many different levels. On one level, the happy consummation of native and Irish led to the emergence of the M”ti community, a mixed-blood people who trace their ancestry back to the intermarriage of Indian and Irish-speaking settlers and whose unique culture of music and dance is unquestionably of Irish Gaelic provenance. In more turbulent times, Thomas Francis Meagher, Irish patriot, Civil War veteran and commander of the “Fighting 69th,” and then governor of Montana Territory would use the fear of Blackfeet Indians to inveigle weapons from the federal government as part of a planned Fenian invasion of Canada. In June of 1876, Captain Myles Keogh, Carlow native, recipient of the Papal Medal, and Civil War veteran would join General Custer in the infamous and ill-fated attack on Sitting Bull and the Indian confederation camped on the Little Big Horn. Keogh”s bravery so impressed his foes that they honored him in not mutilating his lifeless body and leaving his horse, Comanche, by his side, the only living thing on the battlefield. Believing his Papal Medal to be a talisman and source of his courage and leadership, the Indians did remove the medal and gave it to Sitting Bull. Legend has it that later pictures of the great Sioux Chief show him with a crucifix and silver disk around his neck ” Keogh”s Papal Medal! Against this classic western background of cowboys, Indians and cavalry, there emerged a city unlike any other in the Irish experience; for where the Irish would come and accommodate to the great metropolises of the east coast like Boston and New York, the Irish in Montana would build the city of Butte from the ground up and shape its character to reflect their Irish, Catholic and Gaelic ethos and heritage. This Irish town quickly came to play a central role in American labour history and to exert a powerful influence on all movements dedicated to the promotion of Ireland, her culture and political freedom.”Great nationalist leaders such as Douglas Hyde, Eamon de Valera, Mrs. Mary McSwiney and others came to Butte seeking help for Irish cultural movements and the cause of Irish independence. They found a city where the Irish language was spoken, Irish dance and music were known to all, Irish Gaelic football was played competitively, and local papers reported tidings from Ireland as faithfully as local and national news.” The efforts made by Irish nationalists leaders to come to Montana is instructive of how important Butte and Irish-American communities were in the fight to preserve Irish culture and secure Irish independence. As far back as the time of the Great Famine, representatives of Irish nationalist movements had recognized that “it is on the Irish of America that every movement for the advancement of the old country is largely dependent for support.” It is highly unlikely that the old language and culture of Ireland would be around today were it not for the support of Irish-America; it is also improbable that the Irish War of Independence between 1919 and 1921 would have been won were it not for the support of the Irish of America.” The struggle to preserve Ireland”s ancient culture and heritage continues and Montana, as home to the largest per capita population of people of Irish descent, has once again assumed a prominent role in this effort through its Irish Studies program at the University of Montana, Missoula. The Irish Studies program at the University of Montana is a product of collaboration between faculty and the local community. For a number of years, research scholars have been examining the role of the Irish in Montana; in the meantime, descendants of the copper-miners of Butte, anxious to preserve their Gaelic heritage, established a local group to teach Irish language, music and dance. In 2005, members of this group and faculty worked together to formulate a program of studies that combined rigorous academic study with a commitment to preserving and promoting Ireland”s living Gaelic culture. Students will study Irish literature and history, learn of Ireland”s unique contribution to western civilization, the role of the Irish in America, and, in particular, the much neglected but extremely important contribution of Irish America to the evolution of politics, culture and society in Ireland. Allied to this is the cultural program where students will learn to speak Irish fluently, acquire modern teaching methods to pass the language on to others, learn and participate in Irish music,” dance, theatre and film. The objective is to make Irish culture accessible to those of Irish descent in Montana and the west coast, and to make this access affordable to all. In 2006, her Excellency, Mrs. Mary McAleese, President of Ireland, in officially launching this program, described it as a tribute by those who draw the water to those who dug the wells. Those who dug the wells were the early immigrants from Ireland who worked and sacrificed to pass on their faith, culture and heritage. In many ways, the Irish Studies program is a continuation of that work, part of a legacy or tradition inherited from an earlier generation with all the obligations such entails. One of these obligations is to make access to the tradition affordable to all. In this regard, the Irish Studies program located in Montana”s beautiful Rocky Mountains is relevant to all wishing to learn of the Irish and their remarkable culture. If you are interested in more information, please contact me, Traolach ” R”ord”in, at traolach.oriordain@mso.umt.edu, or our web site at http://www.cas.umt.edu/irishstudies. Traolach ” R”ord”in is a native of county Cork, Ireland and currently adjunct professor of modern Irish language and literature at The University of Montana. He is a graduate of the National University of Ireland where he was awarded a PhD in modern Irish literature for his work on the Gaelic League, the organization which spearheaded the revival of Irish and Irish Gaelic culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This work was the first comprehensive study of the Irish revival movement in all its aspects, and is considered to be of special importance for the light it casts on the political implications of cultural nationalism. Entitled Conradh na Gaeilge I gCorcaigh, 1893-1910, it was published by Cois Life, Teo in 2000. Traolach is currently researching the place of Irish Gaelic Culture in America and the impact of Irish American communities in the development of a coherent ideology of cultural nationalism in the era after the Great Famine. He has also devoted much of his time designing a teaching methodology specifically for American students. UM Irish Studies Testimonials… Lily Gladstone
Lily is majoring in Drama/Dance and recently acted in UM”s production of the Irish play Riders to the Sea, which was directed by Bernadette Sweeney, a professor of drama from University College, Cork who was visiting UM as part of the Irish Studies program. Lily is a member of the Blackfeet tribe of American Indians. “The Riders experience has possibly changed my whole life and given me new perspectives. I”ve had a pretty strong draw to Ireland for awhile”and to Irish theater in particular”due to the historical, political, and in many ways, cultural similarities that I see to my American Indian heritage. Perhaps the most striking similarity is the tie to the elements. Both cultures share a deep and profound respect for the natural world, as opposed to a more western idea of a “man taming nature” view. Other common themes are religious tension, foreign oppression, the battle for sovereignty and independence, and family to name a few”and these are practically identical to themes in Indian Country. The Irish Studies program has changed the way I view the world by allowing me to see these connections between cultures which are on different sides of the globe. The program will open up a world of different perspectives for others, as it did for me. Tom Stock
Tom is a current Irish Studies student who served a lifetime career in the U.S. Marine Corps. Upon his retirement, he decided to return to the university. “Irish Studies is important because it is a direct and active link with over 2,000 years of history and heritage for all persons of Irish descent ” Its loss or extinction would produce an irresolvable cultural void. The continued revival and use of the language will prevent such a tragedy. As a learner of Irish I sense that I am doing my very small part toward its perpetuation. I want to be able to again visit Ireland and live briefly among the Irish and converse with them on their terms, in their own bailiwick, with as much fluency as I can achieve to become, in a sense, one of their own as my ancestors were prior to 1880.”

Colorado United Irish Societies, the folks behind the annual Colorado Irish Festival, and The Celtic Connection newspaper are throwing an “All-Ages” “Thank You” party for their volunteers and supporters on Saturday, April 12 from noon to 6pm at the exciting multi-use entertainment hot spot, The Falcon. Colorado United Irish Societies, the folks behind the annual Colorado Irish Festival, and The Celtic Connection newspaper are throwing an “All-Ages” “Thank You” party for their volunteers and supporters on Saturday, April 12 from noon to 6pm at the exciting multi-use entertainment hot spot, The Falcon. Designed by the owners of Gothic Theatre, The Falcon was just voted Westword”s “Best New Venue”. Offering a casual “Rock-N-Bowl” ambiance, it has eight regulation size bowling lanes equipped with electronic scoring, billiards, pinball, a live music room with dance floor and state of the art sound system. Numerous food and drink options are served from a forty-foot fully-stocked “Space Bar” in an open kitchen environment and include a healthy gourmet cuisine menu with seared tuna, Angus beef burgers, gourmet pizza, veggie entrees, and specials during the day. Free bowling will be offered on a first-come-first-serve basis from noon to 2pm (bring your bowling shows or rent for a couple of bucks- bowling balls use is free). Live music starts at 2pm with the “Highland Rock & Roll” sounds of Angus Mohr followed by the “Kings of jig punk” from New York City, The Prodigals. Put your name in the purple tub when you come through the door to be eligible for free prize drawings all day. Admission is free to last years Colorado Irish Festivals volunteers, and for folks who will sign-up to help at this years festival July 11, 12, and 13. Colorado Irish Fest folks will have forms on hand to sign-up interested volunteers. Also, Celtic Connection subscribers, volunteers and advertisers are welcome. Kids are welcome too if under control of parents. Please RSVP to CelticEvents@rmi.net by April 10 if you are planning to attend the fun day at The Falcon. If you have questions about the event please call 303-777-0502 ” if you have questions about The Falcon please call them direct at 303-781-0414. The Falcon is located at 3295 S. Broadway in Englewood, (303) 781-0414.

a review
by Cindy Reich
I was smitten before ever seeing the play upon entering the Denver Victorian Playhouse. A lovely house in a residential neighborhood, built in 1911 with a small theater built in the basement. The Bungalow Theater was active for decades and then later was used as a church space and even a meeting room for Girl Scouts. Reborn as the Gaslight Theater in 1956, it gained national attention for many of its plays until 1984. For another number of years, the theater continues as the Denver Victorian Playhouse. Fast forward to 2000, when it was closed down and then 2005 when it was purchased by Wade and Lorraine Wood. It has a charming athomosphere upstairs where refreshments are on hand and one can retire to the original owner”s study, with floor to ceiling glass fronted bookcases filled with scripts of plays. At intermission, homemade cookies, coffee and soft drinks are available and a small bowl awaits donations. The furniture and contents of the downstairs are all period furnishings and takes one back to a nobler, more genteel time. I absolutely had to be torn away to go downstairs to the theater. The seats are the same red, padded ones you sat in as a kid in the movies, with folding chairs set directly in front of the stage. It is cozy and intimate, yet the room seems to expand and you feel you are in a regular theater the moment the actors hit the stage. Stones in His Pockets is the story of what happens in a small, rural town in County Kerry, when an American film crew arrives to make a film. Jake Quinn has just returned from a stint in America, and meets up with Charlie Conlon, as both have acquired jobs as extras on the film. Charlie has fallen on hard times, but has high aspirations and Jake is trying to adjust to life back in Ireland. It is a fast paced and very demanding role for actors Seth Maisel and Austin Terrell, who between them play a total of 15 characters. With simply a change of hat, or the appearance of a pipe, characters change back and forth rapidly, but quite seamlessly. A credit to both actors. Caroline Giovanni, the star of the film, is played to hilarious perfection by Maisel, and the old-timer, Mickey, is scarily perfected by Terrell as he ages instantly before your eyes, before switching back, perhaps, to Aisling, the prissy, condescending third assistant director. This character, more than any other provoked belly laughs from the audience. Although there is much to laugh about in this comedy, it is also poignant in its themes of aspirations versus reality, the glitter of Hollywood and the despair of living in rural Ireland. “Stones In His Pockets” written by Marie Jones, won the Laurence Olivier Award for best Comedy in 2001, and it is easy to see why. Directed in its Denver appearance by Wade P. Wood, it is wry, engaging, fast-paced and laugh out loud funny. A great example of intimate, local theater. Something that all of us should support in a big way. Having been to many productions in New York, Chicago, Dublin and beyond, I cherished the opportunity to see this production in this venue. My only issue is with the accents, but I have found that Americans doing Irish accents invariably end up sounding like something between Daniel Day-Lewis” Belfast accent in “In The Name Of The Father” and the leprechaun from Lucky Charms. But I”ve learned to get over it, and to be fair; a Kerry accent is probably one of the hardest accents to nail in Irish accent-land. So all is forgiven. And actually Seth Maisel does a respectable Scots accent”but if you want to find out where that fits in, you”ll have to see the play!!! “Stones in His Pockets” is playing through April 5 at the Denver Victorian Playhouse for more information, check out the website at: www.denvervic.com

Celtic Thunder, a brand-new show created and produced by Sharon Browne, the original producer of Celtic Woman, will make its debut in the U.S. with a Public Television special airing on local stations nationwide beginning this month. It will air March 14th at 7 pm on Channel 12. Celtic Thunder, a brand-new show created and produced by Sharon Browne, the original producer of Celtic Woman, will make its debut in the U.S. with a Public Television special airing on local stations nationwide beginning this month. Filmed in the Helix in Dublin last August, the special features five male vocalists, performing an eclectic mix of songs ranging from the traditional “Mountains of Mourne” and “Come By the Hills” to international hits such as “Brothers in Arms” and “Desperado,” as well as original compositions by Celtic Thunder”s musical director and composer Phil Coulter. The ensemble numbers reflect the power of the soloists, who range in age from 14 to 40 and share a common Celtic heritage. Viewers who support the public television stations airing CELTIC THUNDER during the stations” fundraising campaigns will have the first opportunity to get tickets for a 50-city U.S. tour scheduled for Fall 2008. (Please visit www.celticthunder.com for a list of confirmed tour dates.) Viewers will also have a chance to Pledge for a bonus-feature-laden special edition of the Celtic Thunder CD/DVD that will be released in the U.S by Universal”s Decca label on March 4th, 2008.” Catch Celtic Thunder when they appear on NBC”s coverage of the 2008 New York City Saint Patrick”s Day Parade on Monday, March 17th at 11 am.

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