moving to

honoring the Shannon surname
memorial to Clarence Shannon

our nation of immigrants
thank God - thank God
for the Irish, all the Irish
Those Resilient Irish

Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
County Tipperary

Éirinn go Brách
Erin go bragh

John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
County Wexford

I loved a love - a royal love - in the golden long ago

[edmund leamy]

The Indomitable Irishry
[Ireland] has never been a rich or powerful country, and yet, since earliest times, its influence on the world has been rich and powerful. No larger nation did more to keep Christianity and Western culture alive in their darkest centuries. No larger nation did more to spark the cause of independence in America, indeed, around the world. And no larger nation has ever provided the world with more literary and artistic genius.

[President John F. Kennedy, Address to Irish Parleament, 28 June 1963]

Ireland's Primitive history:
Before Germanic peoples swept into Europe, the Celts were already there. They were "the people who came out of the darkness" says Gerhard Herm. They were forest dwellers, and it was about the 4th century BC that Celtic tribes invaded the islands. Their name meant, in their own tongue, forest dwellers, or woods-dwellers. Some of the earliest legends and tales date from about this era (Finn MacCool, or Fingal, Fion na Gael, for one).

Their Gaelic culture and arts flourished and spread to Scotland in the 5th century AD. Caledonia, [Celyddon] the name for Scotland, stems from the same etymological root as does the word Celt itself, as well as Gaul, Gallia, and Galatia. The migration of the Scots (i.e. Irish) from their origin in Ireland (Hibernia) to Scotland occurred the same century in which St. Patrick then converted the Irish (Scots) to Christianity.

Saint Patrick - real name said to have been Sucat; out of something bad -- Sucat's enslavement by the pagan Irish, came something wonderful, his (more meaning-full) conversion to the faith of his parents (Christendom), and a sublime purpose for the rest of his life -- to bless and instruct the Irish Gaels. (Also see Saint Palladius.)

Ireland had been a neglected land, a wild and fearful place the Romans called Hibernia, or Ibernia (Ierne). Sucat -- later Patrick or Padraic -- loved those "wild" Celtic tribesmen, saw their hearts of gold beneath the rough lives they led. Returning, he transformed Ireland, and, in so doing, introduced Ireland to the "Civilized" world of Europe (Rome) and introduced the world to Ireland. < see Tirech�n and Muirch� >

Saint Brandon the Navigator - a beautiful story, even if fictitious, or likely unhistorical, it has inspired many generations, just as the "ould" lore of fairies and spites continue to inspire and enrich us. What more can we say? The Irish have made America what it is, there can never be any doubt of that. But did they "discover" America, too? Only Saint Brandon knows for sure.

Synod of Whitby - When did the "English" first begin to try to "shape up" the Celts? Ironically, the Britons (various Celts) were Christians, of a sort, before the Anglo-Saxons tribes ever set foot on the British (Celtic) islands. But no sooner had those English turned Christian, than they set about trying to "straighten out" the Celts, the Welsh, etc.

Pelagius - played an important role in shaping the early character of Celtic Christianity. Although a priest, Pelagius was a Celtic monk and a highly respected spiritual leader for both laymen and clergy. While the Eastern church vindicated him, his own western Christianity turned against him, and he was regarded heterodox or heretical. Pelagius was, in fact, a Brythonic Celt. Saint Jerome referred to him as "a blockhead swollen with Scotch pottage" -- Scotch being, in this case, what we now call Irish.

John Scotus Erigena - called the most significant Irish intellectual of the early monastic period, accomplished in Greek, a neoplatonist, the pre-eminent philosophical figure of his time. Scotus, in Latin, is equivalent of "Irish." (scottus � in the 9th century Ireland was referred to as �Scotia Maior� and its inhabitants as �scotti�).

Viking invasions began in the 8th century, penetrated deep up the river now called the Shannon, and many generations later, only ended with the Viking defeat by the Irish hero Brian Boru . . .

Brian Boru -- ( 1014, Clontarf), in Gaelic Boruma mac Cennetig (Kennedy), miraculously withstood the Viking maurauders; the Irish Celts were "born fighting," in the words of James Webb. Truly Notre Dame's nickname is right on the mark - they are the "fighting Irish." The phrase of Born Fighting [by James Webb] has long been in the air. James I.C. Clarke, then president of the American Irish Historical Society, calls the Irish "the fighting race." Pugnacious, stubborn, proud, tenacious, independent. Are those sins? If they are, they're the sins of a people determined to survive, determined to overcome the odds.

How the Irish saved Civilization. Through a conflux of circumstances, Irish monks and missionaries found themselves in a position where Dark Europe badly needed the Light then possessed by Celtic Christianity. Roughly 100 AD to 1000 AD is what is known as Ireland's Celtic Golden Age. This was the time of the Book of Kells, known today as the most beautiful book in the world. Illuminated manuscripts, world famous MS of the gospels, including, besides the Book of Kells, the Book of Darrow, and the Book of Lindisfarne (St. Cuthbert's Gospel), the Gospels of MacRogle, the Gospels of MacDurnan, the Book of Armagh, the Gospels of St. Chad,   the Liber Hymnorum.   Be Thou my Vision: Ancient Irish Hymn

Evangelism and an "enlightenment" for Dark Europe. (Again see Thomas Cahill). Christianity flourished so strongly during the Golden Age that Ireland came to be known as the Island of Saints and Scholars. Irish missionaries helped re-establish Christianity on the continent after the barbarian invasions. [Tom Peete Cross] "Tell it again, tell it again, salvation's story repeat o'er and o'er." Indeed the Celtic Christianity of Ireland's Golden Age produced many scholars and missionaries whose evangelical efforts in Europe attracted thousands of students and pilgrims to Ireland's monasteries, until the 8th century perhaps the most brilliant of all Christendom. See the "green martyrs".

Pope Adrian IV -- the only English Pope (Nicholas Breakspear) in the entire history of Christendom -- gave to the king of England a general overlordship of Ireland -- beginnng with the French-speaking (Norman) Henry II. This bull is known as "laudabiliter." For more, see.

The Troubles
Why "all their songs are sad" (Chesterton)

What was the nice (English) Pope thinking? Somehow this grant of power to the Norman-English monarch was metamorphosed into a "blank check" in perpetuity to a long line of English sovereigns, with some very unforseen results ......   most particularly, a stern English hegemony down through time. True enough, the Norman English came at the behest of Dermot King of Leinster in 1166 to help against his enemies. But the English stayed on (no doubt well past Dermot's intent. Talk about
overstaying one's welcome

The Protestant Ascendancy, Landlordism, Repression - isn't it time for protestants to take a look at a page of their own history, of English history, that has been mis-told for far too long? The Canterbury ascendancy was in fact little more than a Crown-supported denominational hegemony (an official State Church) that tried to force an unwilling conformity on conscience. If anything that varied (however much or little) from the English episcopacy, was heresy --- then Canterbury was in fact instituting its own version of a religious inquisition. Henry VIII had his "rough wooing" idea of heavy-handed central-control (and repression of independence). Historians chronicle the English record of this kind of dominance, in effect a stern, Tory (ie, High Church) control that endured for centuries, even before the term "Tory" was even used.

There is a verse in the Bible that says, "envy not the oppressor nor learn any of his ways." Certainly the Anglicans, once in the saddle (as a state-church of their own), wound up emulating the very sort of religious tyranny (of Rome) which they had objected so violently to. J.D. Mackie says that in England the Crown arrogated to itself all the power of which the Pope was deprived. If you dared to stray from the official group-think, you were labelled a recusant, a papist, a non-conformist, or a dissenter. You could lose positions, be subject to fines, or even wind up giving your life, branded as a criminal.

But not just Tories - The Puritan movement in England took on political overtones with Parliament's rebellion against the (Anglican) Crown. And once in Ireland, Cromwell was just as harsh as the Anglican tyranny he had overthrown. Hee was brutal to Ireland, but he was brutal to the Scottish "independents" as well. James Webb says Cromwell's Puritan "Roundheads" hated the Scottish Presbyterians with an equal passion (to their hatred of Irish Catholics). Indeed in 1650, just months after he lopped off the head of Charles I, Cromwell led a notoriously brutal slash-and-burn "pacification" campaign throughout Ireland, putting sword and fire to Catholic and Prebyterian alike.

Penal Laws [1695] - more of the same .... for more, the quest for a free Ireland

The British had their lofty scorn for the early Americans. American colonists had supposedly turned too "Indian" through proximity with a backward race. But the scorn and supercilious ascendancy was an old trait with the aristocratic Englishmen. They had long treated the Irish with disdain, the Welsh and Cornish and Scots with disdain. And those attitudes persisted. Even in the days of the great naturalist, Charles Darwin, he could speak of the Irish as an inferior people. Darwin refers to "The careless squalid, unaspiring Irishman multiplies like rabbits" [Descent of Man, Chapter 5 ]

Ulster Migration to Ireland - Anglican persecution of Scottish Independents (Presbyterians) helped provoke the earliest Lowland exodus. But Elizabeth was hardly pleased. She tried in 1573 to drive the Lowland Scots out of Antrim, back to Scotland. Her successor James, himself a Scot, but an enemy of the (Knox-inspired) religious independence from his Canterbury bishops, nevertheless gave his endorsement to a Scottish Plantation in northern Ireland. Ere long, Protestant Celts began to yield to the blandishments of the powerful Anglican Establishment, an arm of the Crown.

The yoke of Anglican ascendancy had to be borne by non-conformists and dissenting protestants -- and even by independent Presbyterianism -- but none bore a heavier burden than the Irish Catholics. The non-conformists were themselves the victims of the Canterbury (Anglican) Ascendancy. The Irish suffered, as their cousin Scots had suffered, under England's economic and religious yoke. Jonathan Swift, writing in 1720, considered landlords in Ireland as tyrants who, by "screwing and racking" their tenants, had reduced them to a worse condition than peasants in France or vassals in Poland.

Anglican ascendancy somehow alienated many Protestant Ulstermen, too. Between Archbishop William Laud's Bishop's War and the Claverhouse suppressions, huge droves of lowlanders sought better lives beyond the power of English rule. Simply calling themselves Irish, today they are often termed "Scotch Irish." The non-Anglican Presbyterians were almost wholly landless, ie, tenant farmers. Rent-racking and landlordism fell heavily on them, along with the cycles of drought and famine. Then, came Queen Anne's Test Acts of 1704.

The Test Acts hit non-conformist Protestants even harder than the Catholics. (They finally caught a long overdue break?) Catholic priests were at least viewed by the government as "lawfully ordained, whereas dissenting ministers were 'mere upstarts,' not in the line of apostolic succession." [Leyburn]

Thus, during late colonial period, it was not just the Palatine Germans flocking to America's shores. The Irish were coming, too. Michael J. O'Brien of the American Irish Historical Society writes that the largest portion of Irish immigrants in that period came to Pennsylvania and Maryland. They hailed from County Derry and County Down, from County Antrim and County Armagh. In fact, when England's government suppressed the migration of these (Ulster) Irish to America, it became one more factor leading to the outbreak of war. Thomas Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence, mentions this as yet another of the outrages committed by King George.

Edmund Burke : defying King George and his political machine, Burke became notorious for his defense of underdogs, his love for America, and perhaps even more, his love for Ireland. Yet for all his sympathy for underdogs, Edmund Burke was never hostile to the principle of authority, or of rulership per se. Nor was he an enemy of tradition and faith. He was in fact a conservative, mostly because of his horror at the bloodshed perpetrated by the atheistic French Revolution. Burke became a champion of the value of faith and tradition .....   though scorned by some of the English elites for his philippics on behalf of underdogs.

These Irish were known as the backbone of Washington's Army. In religion, they began as (Presbyterians) -- though in America's backwoods, theology soon got watered down. Hair-splitting details often meant less than a simpler, more practical "old time religion" -- often as rugged and down-to-earth as the American frontier itself. They shed the erudite Calvinism of Edinburgh dogmatists, and (so it seems) "let the American frontier shape them."

Plantation Irish - The invasion of Ulster by separated brethren, fellow Celts from the larger isle just east, soon became colored by the religious question. When, a hundred years after fleeing the English once (to Ulster) they fled once again (to America), the reaction of the throne, again, was to resist and suppress the transplanting. Jefferson iterates this factor among many abuses perpetrated by the English monarchs.

Theobald Wolfe Tone - he gave his life for Ireland's freedom, and for harmony amongst divergent faiths. And advocate of raprochment between Catholics and Protestants, an most of all, the complete independence for Ireland, he died a martyr, victim to anti-Catholic bigotry, and the oppression of Ireland. Tone himself was a Protestant, and thus was not anti-Protestant per se. But he loved Ireland first, and was unequivocally opposed to the indefinite continuation of an Anglican Protestant domination of Ireland. ( Why not separate church from state, as the Yanks are trying. )

Oh Danny Boy: Daniel O'Connell -- "The Liberator" -- was every bit as nationalistic and patriotic in his Irish pride and love of Ireland as Wolfe Tone, but O'Connell believed in working within the system in order to reform the system. There was something almost "Martin Luther King" about Daniel O'Connell, but in an eminently Irish and eminently Catholic way. Ireland's priests had become ever more committed to the concerns of the down-trodden Irish people, and O'Connell put his faith in an ultimate "liberation" that might be accomplished through something like a "spiritual" warfare. That is, non-violently.

Charles Stewart Parnell - with a temperamental disposition, Parnell was touchy about slights, and bitter over the English treatment of Ireland. Something in him provoked him to side with the underdog, and the result was a ferocious crusading spirit on behalf of the Emerald Isle. Somehow he succeeded in bringing together both moderates and radicals on behalf of Home Rule and Irish nationalism (See the Fenians). It was a personal disgrace that ended his role, much to the relief of his enemies.

The Easter Rising (1916) failed but, like the Alamo, became a rallying cry against English rule. Continuing guerilla warfare by Irish irregulars were met by harsh reprisals from brutal British troops, the "Black and Tans." Finally in January 1919, the British recognized the Irish declaration of independence.

Michael Collins - in Modern times, the name of Michael Collins cannot be ignored. This patriot and nationalist of the War of Independence is one of the sons of Ireland that later generations have chosen to honor highly. In a real sense, he brought the British Empire to its knees. He had a touch of Fenian stubbornness that we in America could stand to have a dose of (as in the past, generations have). For more on Michael Collins.

The religious fulcrum
The protestant reformation began as a revolt against religious imperialism and against overbearing moralism, but in England the lofty ideals somehow were forgotten when it came to Ireland, and even to Scotland and Wales, too. Perhaps the English oppressions never reached the level of systematic cruelty of, say, the Inquisition in Iberia. But it was cruelty nonetheless. There was blood continually being shed, and particularly, on a very wide scale, there was severe unrelenting economic and social oppression. Anglican ascendency turned into a religious imperialism all its own, and truly wreaked havoc on the "nonconformist" subject populations, particularly on the Irish.

Ben Franklin toured England, Scotland and Ireland, and reported severe, extreme economic inequalities. He went into detail describing the economic dislocations suffered by Scotland and Ireland, the savage inequalities resulting from the imperialistic and exploitative English style capitalistic system. These were the fruit of the evil tree of Anglican Ascendancy, Canterbury's Protestant version of some Spanish Inquisition; an Anglican version of a holy crusade against all non-conformity, or deviation from their religious correctness.
In America, the Irish found a home -- at least a chance. British opinion of Irish migrations to America often amounted to "they deserve each other." There were many points of commonality between Irish and Americans. An independent mindedness, a humbleness or origins, a stubborn-willed feisty politics, a suspicion of authority. Many Americans welcomed the Irish as kindred spirits. Not allowed to own land in Ireland, their heritage of Calvinism labelled heresy, even their churches were deemed "Conventicles" (not real churches), they sought a new chance in America.

Pouring into the American colonies prior to the Revolution, they became the frontiersmen par excellence (says Thomas Sowell). These Jackson Irish were sharpshooting Indian-fighters and builders of log-cabins. Corn whiskey and hard cider were mainstays, and their reputation as hard drinking brawlers contrasted sharply with the industrious, sober Germans - the "Dutchmen" - admired by George Washington. As they assimilated, the Irish lost much of their distinctive hyper-Calvinism. Old Lights became New Lights. Hardshells became Softshells (more evangelical). As with other churches on the frontier, theological divisions seemed to become laxer. Yet dogmatic quarrels always seemed to flourish among the multi-faith pioneersmen, no less than political ones.

Later waves of Irish, Catholic refugees, also found defenders. In 1842, Lydia Maria Child, the evangelical abolitionist, declared: "Not in vain is Ireland pouring itself all over the earth. Divine Providence has a mission for her children to fulfill; though a mission unrecognized by political economists. There is ever a moral balance preserved in the universe, like the vibrations of the pendulum. The Irish, with their glowing hearts and reverent credulity, are needed in this cold age of intellect and skepticism."

But others were less welcoming. Some, among the smug Brahmins, for far too long betrayed a waspish hurtfulness toward these newcomers fresh from Ireland, with their raw, peasant ways, their carefree conviviality, their love of sociability and earthy good humor. Something about the Irish love of laughter, fondness for song and dance, offended the staid complacency of the self-appointed (often moralistic) elites in America. Yet "Song and dance are, perhaps, only a little less old than man himself. It is with his music and dance, the re-creation through art of the rhythms suggested by and implicit in the tempo of his life and cultural environment, that man purges his soul ... and maintains his harmony with the universe." [Eldridge Cleaver, Soul on Ice. p 185]

see Sacred Space
Prayer Space

Two Charismatic Presidents
Interestingly, both John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan can trace their Irish roots to America from almost the same time, the Great Irish Famine. Or the great hunger. Black 47. The potato famine. During the 1840's some one fourth of Ireland's population poured into United States. Including the ancestors of both these Irish Presidents:

John F. Kennedy - his forbear Patrick Kennedy came to America from County Wexford, fleeing the Great Famine. Is there any family that has given so much to America as the Kennedy family? Kennedy loved America dearly, but also clung proudly, fiercely, to his Irish identity. His people had suffered so much, struggled so tenaciously, and yes, also acheived much. In his inaugural address, John Kennedy invoked the spirit of tenacity that has long been characteristic of the Irish people.
Now the trumpet summons us again�not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are � but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation" � a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.
John Kennedy loved the Camelot legends about King Arthur and the knights of the round table (Brythonic Celts, rather than Gaelic ones). Hence, Kennedy's "thousand days" as President are known, endearingly, as Camelot.

Ronald Reagan - his great grandfather Michael Reagan from Tipperary (southeast of the Shannon estuary), Reagan was known as the quintessential "Communicator." Talk about an Irish trait! Pat Buchanan called Ronald Reagan "the greatest president of the 20th century." But Reagan had many admirers. He was known to have been affectionately admired by Pope John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla. Why is that surprising - both men had been actors, both entered the service of their fellow man, and both acheived, against great odds, eminent distinction. And politically, by some coincidence, both shared some of the same conservative values. Additionally, on the international stage, both these men were staunch anti-communists.

U.S. Universities begun by Irish Catholics, selected
(list from "A Nation of Immigrants" by John F. Kennedy)
  • Notre Dame
  • Fordham
  • Holy Cross
  • Villanova
  • Saint Louis University
  • Catholic University
  • Georgetown

To Ireland ~ Island of Destiny
All thy life has been a symbol;
We can only read a part:
God will flood thee yet with sunshine
for the woes that drench thy heart.
[John Boyle O'Reilly]

Innishfaallen ~ Innis Fodhla ~ Island of Destiny

The Fighting Irish:
[in James Webb's phrase, Born Fightin']   The Irish contribution to America's 'frontier' democracy -- their populist energy, their independent spiritedness, their Celtic resilience and persistent doggedness, their passion and their pride. Talk about salt of the earth. Below are just a few familiar names.

Of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, four were born in Ireland, Matthew Thornton, James Smith, George Taylor, and Edward Rutledge. Additionally, Charles Carroll of the eminent Carroll family of colonial Maryland, was of Irish Catholic descent, and one of the few signers who was known not to be a freemason.

Robert Morris, a close friend of George Washington, called the financier of the Revolution, was also of Irish birth. In fact, it has been said that it was the Irish who saved Washington's little raggle-taggle army. The frontier Irish, with their ruggedness and determination, their humble gospel faith and coarse will to survive, were called "the backbone" of Washington's Army. When Quakers and Methodists and Dutch were aloof to the Patriot cause, and some Anglicans openly sided with King George, it was those borderer Irish, those frontier Irish, who rallied fiercely to the cause of the Revolution.

These Irish played so predominant a role in the American army that Lord Mountjoy lamented in the British Parliament that "we have lost America through the Irish." [Quoted by President Kennedy before the D�il �ireann]

The first Irish in America hailed from County Derry and County Down, from County Antrim and County Armagh. They were by and large not the Catholics, but rather another batch of "despised" Irish, persecuted by England and transplanted to colonial America they quickly merged with the rowdy frontier. Hating the British even more than many old-timers, they fought against King George III while "yankee" denominations (Quakers, Methodists, Anglican) shirked. Hardy and implacable," these fighting Irish became the "backbone" of the Patriot Army -- demanding Saint Patrick's Day observance (which General Washington acceeded to). Settling the inland wilderness, they came to define America's hinterland. These trail-blazing Irish truly permeated westward expansion, shedding their old calvinism in short order, scorning the vaunted Edinburgh erudition and intellectual airs -- they joined with Germans to forge a "new" Democratic Party, helping remake America.
Andrew Jackson - his parents left Carrickfergus, County Antrim 1765
Davy Crockett - his people originally hailed from south County Londonderry
Daniel Boone - (actually Quakers from Devon, poss. Camelot Celts)
James Logan - (the Connestoga Wagon) - Quaker Irish from Armagh
James Polk - his ancestor was a Pollock from County Donegal
James Buchanan - father came from Blairlush, Tyrone, Donegal to U.S. 1783
William Jennings Bryan - descended from William O'Brian of Limerick
Wilson Shannon - 'Andy Jackson Irish' sought healing for bleeding Kansas
Mother (Mary Harris) Jones - labor is an "Irish trait" almost, even Reagan shows it.
Henry Ford - father William came from Ballinscarthy, County Cork 1847
Woodrow Wilson - ancestor James Wilson left Dergalt, County Tyrone 1807
Pat Buchanan, populist spokesman - all-American mix (German and Irish) see.

Patrick's Shamrock
St. Patrick's Shamrock

Corrymela Community ~ hill of harmony ~ "peace matters"
Pie Jesu ~ Andrew Lloyd Webber's entire "Requiem" is dedicated to the victims of the conflict in Northern Ireland.
Human Rights ~ on 12 September 1997, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Mary Robinson as the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights. Mary Robinson, Ireland's seventh president, had served seven years of her presidential term when the appointment came.
What the world needs now ~ love, sweet love. America's Jackie DeShannon could have been speaking to Ireland, or Jerusalem (?) in that everso appropos song. Think of your fellow man lend him a helping hand put a little love in your heart.
Forty shades of green ~ and a flag deliberately including orange, too. Ireland's offical endorsement of religious liberty is a shining example to the church as a whole. Are we strong enough not just to tolerate diversity, but to affirmatively endorse it? The Church in the nineteenth century scolded Ireland's activism (the Vatican in effect almost toadying to powerful England), and yet continuing to reprimand the Americanist heresy of freedom of conscience.
The River Shannon, longest river in the British Isles, winds through the gently rolling hill country of west-central Irelnd and flows into the Atlantic Ocean on Ireland's west coast. This famous river of Irish ballads forms one lake after another - including Lough Ree and Lough Derg - as it pours over ledges in foaming cascades and slips past ancient castles and towns.
Nor can I fail to include Shannon Airport, Aerfort na Sionna in Irish - one of Ireland's primary three airports.
Still fighting ~ the Celtic spirit of unbowed defiance is still alive in so many manifestations. Just one example, commentator and populist Pat Buchanan is such a living demonstration of an unflinching, almost Old Testament "prophet"
Sir Ted Kennedy ~ 2009 witnessed the knighthood of Senator Edward Kennedy by the British for his efforts on behalf of conciliation in Ireland. "Blessed are the peacemakers."
Cultural Renaissance ~ what a flourishing we now witness in the arts: just for starters, we notice Jimmy Breslin, Cathal O'Shannon, Riverdance, Lord of the Dance, Michael Flatley, Daniel O'Donnell (Hope and Praise), Fenian's Rainbow -- and literally dozens of Celtic Faires, festivals celebrating the arts, the music, the dance of the Celtic peoples.
When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

Tocqueville strongly defended America's Irish (Catholics) from the brunt of prejudice which the "already-here" Americans were wont to dish out. As Catholics, they somehow got linked to the authoritarianism that in the public mind was associated with the old "Catholic centuries" when kings and bishops allied themselves against the lowly, or inquisitive, or independent-minded. Not fair, said Tocqueville. The Irish have a very strong democratic bent, just like you Americans do. Indeed, was not Tocqueville right? I think that in a way, the Irish have always been almost "American" -- even back in the days of Brian Boru, etc. Even today, isn't a touch of "Fenian stubbornness" often a wholesome counter-balance for authoritarian excess?

The Catholic contribution, no less than that of the earlier Irish, was by and large in fact the "liberal" gist that Tocqueville had intimated. The very first Catholic bishop in the United States, John Carroll, was a close friend of many of the founders. He accompanied Ben Franklin on select diplomatic missions, and Franklin (Deist though he was) actually suggested to the pope that Carroll be made bishop. But Carroll was no supporter of state religion. He had seen too much of that in Anglican dominated Maryland. Carroll was in fact an ardent advocate for freedom of religion, and as such, was an ally of Jefferson and Madison, John Leland and Isaac Backus. The cousin of John Carroll, Charles Carroll, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and the last surviving signer. He died in 1832 at age 95.
truly the Irish have made America ~ what America is

Patrick's Shamrock
St. Patrick's Shamrock

Tom Paine said: For myself, I fully and conscientiously believe that it is the will of the Almighty that there should be a diversity of religious opinions among us. [Common Sense]

John Bartholomew Gough wrote:
What is a minority? The chosen heroes of this earth have been in a minority. There is not a social, political, or religious privilege that you enjoy that was not bought for you by the blood and tears and patient suffering of the minority. It is the minority that have stood in the van ofd every moral conflict, and achieved all that is noble in the history of the world.

William E. Shannon
This young Irishman, William Shannon, a native of Ireland and only three years a resident of California, secured the declaration in California's Bill of Rights that neither slavery or involuntary servitude, unless for the punishment of crimes, shall ever be tolerated in this state. Shannon was, in that historic convention, 27 years old.

Rose Kennedy was asked by an interviewer if there were but one thing she could bequeath her children what it would be. Marabel Morgan quoted her answer. It wouldn't be wealth or lands or estates or privilege. It would be faith. Faith!

Quoted from  

The Shannons ~ Melinda Shannon Freels' Shannon Page. Excellent work!

Shannon ~ Tammany Hall to Tip O'Neill ('tis an Irish gift for politics)

Clarence F. Shannon ~ memorial of love from his daughter

Bally Shannon ~ (Celtic wisdom) thanx arianrhoo!

Irish history resource ~ from ancient Celts to today's Erin ~ research your Irish family tree

Gaelic Language ~ nostalgia draws us

Ellis Island ~ port of entry

we seek info on
Robert Shannon
bn   6 Feb 1853 Indiana
died   20 Dec 1920 Minn
married:   Eva Hanscom
Any help appreciated

Wearing of the Green

Oh! Paddy, dear, and did you hear the news that's going round,
The shamrock is forbid by law to grow on Irish ground;
Saint Patrick's day no more we'll keep His color can't be seen,
For there's a bloody law agin' the wearing o' the green;
I met with Napper Tandy and he tuk me by the hand,
And he said 'How's poor ould Ireland, and how does she stand?'

She's the most distressful country, that ever you have seen;
They're hanging men and women for the wearing of the green.

Then since the color we must wear is England's cruel red,
Sure Ireland's sons will ne'er forget the blood that they have shed;
You may take the shamrock from your hat and cast it on the sod,
But 'twill take root and flourish still, tho' underfoot 'tis trod;
When the law can stop the blades of grass from growing as they grow,
And when the leaves in summer time their verdure dare not show;

Then I will change the color I wear in my caubeen,
But 'til that day, I'll stick for aye to wearing of the green.

But if at last our color should be torn from Ireland's heart,
Her sons with shame and sorrow from the dear old soil will part;
I've heard whisper of a country that lies far beyant the say,
Where rich and poor stands equal in the light of freedom's day;
Oh Erin must we lave you, driven by the tyrant's hand,
Must we ask a mother's welcome from a strange but happy land?
Where the cruel cross of England's thraldom never shall be seen,
And where, in peace, we'll live and die a-wearing of the green.

To honor the Shannon surname everywhere

a tribute to my Shannon in-laws

Shannon, William V. "The American Irish." New York: Macmillan, 1963.

Shannon - Shanahan - � Sean�in - � Seanach�in

Finney and Shannon
and his grandson Charles

Quips of Irish wit ... and wistfulness

If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.

( George Bernard Shaw )

"the Indomitable Irishry"

(William Butler Yeats)

"I don't think there's any point in being Irish if you don't know that the world is going to break your heart."

Daniel Patrick Moynihan
re: John Kennedy's assassination

How else but through a broken heart May Lord Christ enter in?

(Oscar Wilde)

"A Revolutionist under Monarchy, I am a conservative under a Republic"

Brig. General Thomas Francis Meagher
(Irish Brigade, 63rd Battalion, US Civil War)

America cannot afford to be materially rich and spiritually poor.

(John F. Kennedy)

I like the noise of democracy.

(James Buchanan)

Our job is to "Comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable."

( Finley Peter Dunne )

For All Mankind
The hope still lives
And the dream shall never die
[John Fitzgerald Kennedy]

Religion Aside, it's a Human Fulcrum
Religion is not in the purview of human government. Religion is essentially distinct from government and exempt from its cognizance. A connection between them is injurious to both. [James Madison]

Every man who conducts himself as a good citizen, is accountable to God alone for his religious faith, and should be protected in worshiping God according to the dictates of his own conscience. [George Washington]

Religion flourishes in greater purity without, than with the aid of government. [James Madison]

Religion is ever a matter between God and the individual; the imposing of religious tests has been the greatest engine of tyranny in the world. [Isaac Backus]

It does me no injury to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. [Is religious uniformity attainable through government coercion?] Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. [Thomas Jefferson]

When a religion is good, I conceive that it will support itself; and, when it cannot support itself, and God does not take care to support so that its professors are obliged to call for the help of the civil power, it is a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one. [Benjamin Franklin]

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