When the Democratic National Convention takes place in Denver August 25-28, the city will be taking advantage of approximately $50 million provided by the federal government to cover security costs for the event. One man will be heading up the cause to ensure that only those federal funds will be used for convention security”not the taxes of local Denver citizens. That man is Dennis Gallagher, Auditor of the City and County of Denver. Gallagher, a Denver native and proud Irishman, was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 1970. Since then, he has built an impressive political career of public service, culminating in his being awarded the Community Leader Award on May 14, 2008. The award recognizes Gallagher”s work to modernize and streamline the Denver Auditor”s office. Ever since Gallagher was elected Auditor in 2003 (Denver is one of only a few cites where the position is an elected one), he has been working to protect the city”s taxpayers by acting as a financial watch dog, and eliminating waste — going so far as consolidating his own department. In January, he helped to change the city charter to establish a truly independent audit committee, one that conforms to nationally accepted standards and avoids any conflicts of interest. Gallagher is the man who is literally keeping our local government honest. “I tell truth to power,” Gallagher says. “Whether they want to hear it or not.” While the branches of his political career span almost 40 years, his roots of Irish heritage go deep. Walking into his office in the Wellington Webb building in downtown Denver, you may be greeted in Gaelic. Above his bookshelf is the statue of a harp, the symbol of Ireland. And not only are his Irish roots deep, but also they are firmly planted in Colorado soil. His grandfather, William Joseph Gallagher, immigrated to Denver from Sligo in the early 1900s, finding work on the railroads. This was a time when Protestants and Catholics marched together in Saint Patrick”s Day parades. (They later split after the Irish civil war.) William was a member of the Irish Fellowship Club, and the United Mine Workers. “You look up the death rolls in Leadville,” Gallagher says of the old mining town. “There”s lots of Gallaghers buried in Potter”s Field.” Gallagher”s passion to protect the citizens of Denver surely stems from his grandfather”s Irish-American experience of hard work, solidarity, and love of freedom and opportunity for the common man. “God bless America and the union label” was a regular refrain in the household, and his son, Gallagher”s father, went on to become a firefighter. Things were very different in those days, and not always easy for Irish immigrants during the Ku Klux Klan era ” even as far north as Denver. Gallagher tells the tale of his mother, Ellen Flaherty, a young coat check girl at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, being ushered into a hiding place among the jackets one night so the roving Klansmen couldn”t find her. From North Denver, Gallagher attended Skinner Middle School, where there were “37 straight years of Gallaghers,” he says. While he only had one sibling, a brother, his aunt had 11 children. A recreation center has to be rented just to accommodate family reunions. After Skinner, Gallagher attended Holy Family Grade and High School, and then went on to Regis College, where he earned a BA in English Literature and minors in Latin and Greek. That”s how the hook of public service finally became firmly implanted in his hungry mouth. At Regis, he was exposed to, and greatly inspired by, classical writings on arts and public policy, especially Cicero”s speeches against the tyrants of the Roman Republic. After Regis, Gallagher attended Catholic University in Washington, D.C., where he majored in Speech Communication, which he has been teaching for the past 42 years. He returned to Regis, where he is now Professor Emeritus. An astonishingly learned and well-read scholar, Gallagher shows no signs of slowing down after his retirement from Regis in 2003. He leads cemetery and neighborhood tours, utilizing his encyclopedic knowledge of his city. In July, he led a group of Regis students on a two-week tour through Ireland, to explore the nation”s literature, culture, history and politics. When he returns to Denver, he will continue to advise city administrators on how they can do things better, and more efficiently. “I should have been an anthropologist,” he says. “What we”re doing is trying to change the culture, to make the city more accountable and improve the business processes.” With a desk buried under copies of the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence, (which he distributes), it”s apparent that he truly loves America and what it stands for. His grandfather from Sligo instilled in him the “idea that you could give something back. The country was good to us.” Denver is lucky to have such a committed, vigilant servant keeping his watchful eyes on taxpayer dollars. While the upcoming Democratic National Convention will fill Denver with high hopes and celebrations, Gallagher will continue to save us money, and to protect the money we already have. Editors note: Dennis has just been named Grand Marshall of the 2009 Denver ST. Patrick”s Day Parade. As an Irish-American and public servant Dennis has marched in the annual parade for many years. On Saturday March 14 he will be honored for his service to the Denver community and his support and perpetuation of his Irish roots and culture Published in August 08 Celtic Connection

by Katie Weber The Good Hotel Guide (GHG) has been my best source for finding unique, small hotels, inns and B&B”s in Ireland, and Great Britain for many years. I first used it during my honeymoon in the early 1990″s and found a dramatic difference in the quality and overall experience between its hotels and those recommended by other guides. The reasons for this are twofold. First, it is difficult for a hotel to get into the Guide. To be included, plain old travellers like you and me, must stay in a hotel, and be impressed enough to then sit down, write out a review, and send it in to the Guide. If enough travellers recommend a particular hotel, the property is then checked out by an anonymous inspector and if it passes muster, included in the Guide. Second, the GHG, unlike most of its competitors, accepts no payment of any kind from hotels and that includes advertising and hospitality. The Guide pays the cost of its inspections, all of which are anonymous. Operating in this way, it has built up a reputation for independent and reliable judgement. Its editors, Adam & Caroline Raphael have a long and distinguished history of quality journalism, working over the years for The Economist, The BBC, The Guardian, and The Observer. The result is that the GHG is a treasure trove of weekend breaks, one night stays, and holiday locations. From lakeside country houses to seaside B&B”s, townhouse hotels to wonderfully eccentric guesthouses, there is something for everyone. Travellers have different needs, tastes, wishes and pockets, so the range of places in the Good Hotel Guide is wide. Classic country houses are listed as well as simple, rural guesthouses. Restaurants-with-rooms are included, as are pubs with good food and accommodation. Budget B&Bs are also there alongside historic houses and informal homes away from home. In the cities, modern designer hotels sit alongside more traditional establishments. The Guide conveys the spirit of each place, written with wit and evocative style. Perhaps the best thing about the Good Hotel Guide is that it is a delight to read. As noted in The Philadelphia Inquirer, “Half the fun of this book comes from reading the comments, which usually have the warm, entertaining quality of letters from an old friend.” There are approximately 850 hotels listed in the 2008 Guide, more than 70 of them in Ireland. Here are excerpts from reviews for two of them: Ballinderry Park in County Galway In “glorious isolation in the eerily desolate countryside of east Galway”, this “beautifully proportioned Georgian building” has been restored from ruin by George and Susie Gossip, “a charming couple”. The Gossips”receive guests in Irish country house style, with an honesty bar, “disguised as a cupboard”, and communal dining. “The restoration owes much to George”s good taste,” says an inspector in 2007. “The drawing room, with a roaring log fire, is cosy on a chilly day. Our bedroom was not large, but warm; a cleverly installed bathroom.” Mr. Gossip, who lectures on cooking game at the cookery school at Ballymaloe House (qv) in the off-season, serves a set “but flexible” four-course dinner (tastes are discussed, and vegetarians catered for). “I had expressed an interest in game and was served with woodcock, shot on the land by the man himself.” “Well-behaved” dogs allowed. A fine stopping place for any aficionado of the Irish country house. Flemingstown House in County Limerick “Superb. Imelda Sheedy-King is the perfect hostess. Top-quality dining at a reasonable price.” A tribute in 2007 to this “flawless” guest house on a working dairy farm near an important medieval town. The 18th century building, “comfortable rather than luxurious,” has a “cosy lounge with mostly 19th-century pieces.” The “energetic” hostess, “the heart and soul of the place,” welcomed returning visitors “with extraordinary warmth, and insisted on helping with our luggage.” “Attention to every detail makes your stay special.” Bedrooms are spacious: “Our well-lit room had a cheerful air, a crystal chandelier, superb views across field to the Ballyhoura mountains. “Dinner, in a room with big stained-glass windows, is “the highlight of a stay; scrumptious and plentiful.” Mrs. Sheedy-King”s five-course menu (up to four choices for each course) features traditional dishes, e.g. leg of Irish lamb with mint sauce. Her sister”s own Cheddar cheese might be offered. “Give plenty of notice that you wish to dine, and bring your own wine.” Breakfast has home-made breads, cheeses, jams and cakes; fresh juices and a range of cooked dishes including pancakes with banana and grapes. Families are accommodated. They can explore the farm and watch the cows being milked. The local pub has live music on weekends. For the past 32 years, the GHG has specialized in discovering outstanding places to stay for its thousands of devoted readers. For its American readers, it has the added virtue of taking them on a trip to Ireland, England, Scotland or Wales that they will never forget. Stay in just one place recommended by this Guide, and you will never go back to your old way of choosing hotels. The Guide also contains discount vouchers, worth $250, which enable visitors to get 25% off the normal rates at participating hotels. The Good Hotel Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2008 can be bought via its website: www.goodhotelguide.com or directly from the publisher, The Good Hotel Guide, 50 Addison Avenue, London W11 4QP, England. It is also available via Amazon.com

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