Monday, 29 September 2008

Irish language Playschools Increase

Irish is child's play

Twenty years ago, the Irish language was not cool. If a student left secondary school with any more than a cupla focail, they were doing well. Unless they needed Irish for a career in politics, with the Gardaí, or perhaps teaching, many people did not see the point in learning a language that was used only sporadically.Fast forward to today and much has changed. Irish has slowly become trendy.

TG4 is popular with adults for shows like Ros Na Run and children for shows like Dora The Explorer. Comedian Des Bishop's In The Name Of The Fada documentary further helped to reinvent Irish. As a nation, we are interested in our language again and demand for it is on the up. Not only are gaelscoil-leanna becoming the popular choice for parents when picking schools for their children, naíonraí (Irish playschools) are also increasing in popularity.

Until recently, many people did not even know what a naíonra was - it is, in fact, a playgroup for pre-school children who come together daily, usually for between two and four hours, under the guidance and supervision of a naíonra leader. Its defining characteristic is that it is run solely through the medium of Irish.

The staff structure the environment to ensure that all facets of the child's holistic development is catered for, while also giving the child the opportunity to acquire Irish naturally through the medium of play, which is this particular age group's chief method of learning.

Cliona Frost, principal officer of Forbairt Naíonraí Teoranta, an organisation which supports the promotion of education and care services in Irish for children from birth, particularly through naíonraí, says the demand for Irish has been steadily on the rise since the organisation was founded in 1978. Back then, there were a total of 12 naíonraí nationwide, whereas today, there are 221. Cliona reckons one of the main reasons we are embracing Irish with gusto again and exposing our children to it at a young age is that we are aware of other nationalities living among us who have strong cultures and languages.

Joanne Uí Chuana recently opened the naíonra Cead Ceimeanna (First Steps) in Bettystown, Co Meath, as she felt that there was a general lack of Irish-language facilities available for pre-schoolers in her local area. 'I have been working closely with Forbairt Naíonraí Teoranta regarding the set-up of the naíonra. 'They gave me practical advice and a small grant to help me purchase books and CDs,' she says.

Joanne admits to being excited about the adventure ahead: 'My dream is that this house will not only be a much-loved naíonra for the children who come here but that it will also become a little haven for all things Irish.'The benefits for children attending a naíonra include language acquisition, excellent reasoning skills and cultural awareness. 'The children will learn about Irish music and dancing and we will celebrate Irish festivals, such as St Brigid's Day and St Patrick's Day,' Joanne says.

Although she will speak Irish exclusively to the children she says they will mostly be learning through play and, at their age, will pick it up easily. 'I will use body language to help explain what I am saying but if a child becomes upset and I need to communicate with them in English then of course I will,' she adds.

The children will be learning Irish every day so some parents may lag behind, but Joanne has a plan for them. 'We will help parents who are a bit rusty by offering lessons. Soon we will introduce other Irish activities too, such as speech and drama and after-school Irish classes.' For the time being, though, Joanne is content to start with a morning and afternoon class daily, each with six pre-schoolers. Although she expects this to increase soon, as there is currently a very long waiting list. 'I aim to have two morning and two afternoon classes soon. I was shocked but delighted at the high level of interest."Joanne is also looking forward to diversity, with children of various nationalities attending.

'At a naíonra where I worked previously, we had a young Iraqi boy. 'He had only been in Ireland a short time and was learning English and then he came to us to learn Irish too. 'His parents played Irish CDs in the car for him and within a few months he was able to sing whole songs in Irish. 'If he can do it, anyone can - even the parents!'

While new naíonraí are popping up all over Ireland, many have been established a long time, such as Croí na Coille (Heart of the Wood), in Shankill, Co Dublin, which has been run by Cris Uí Bhriain for the past 15 years.

Cris had been involved with various playschools and had been secretary of the IPPA, the early childhood organisation, before her love of the Irish language gave her the idea to set up a naíonra. 'I loved Irish and had become fluent and I wanted to do something with it. I felt that the Irish language was often restricted to the middle class and I wanted to make it available to everyone, so I set up a community naíonra."

'Since setting up, Cris has incorporated other services too. 'At Croí na Coille we are different to many other naíonraí because we run full-day care, whereas other naíonraí usually offer a morning or afternoon class. 'We also run Irish after-school clubs. These are open to all children who are interested in Irish - we do not restrict it to only children who attend gaelscoilleanna.

'I believe our own language of Irish is in our hearts and it is great when children can acquire it. So whether a child is fluent or only learning, we welcome them all,' she added. Irish Independent -

Lthch: Siobhan O'Neill-White

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Stonewall Jackson Society

one of Ulsters famous sons is remember in his ancestral land John Tate and the mayor of Craigavon stand by the plaque commemorating Stonewall Jackson ancestral home

40 years ago the Jackson ancestral home was identified at the Birches, Portadown. A plaque was unveiled by the then American Consul Mr McManus. Since then the plaque and the ancestral home of Thomas Jonathon 'Stonewall' Jackson was largely forgotten except by the locals in the Birches. A couple of years ago it was decided that one of Northern Ireland's most famous sons should be remembered and honoured and the Stonewall Jackson Appreciation Society was set up.

John Tate as Stonewall Jackson seen here with the mayor of Craigavon, Sidney Anderson

This year, 2008, was the 40th anniversary of the unveiling of the plaque and it was decided to hold a public event to commemorate this.The Stonewall Jackson 40th Anniversary Event was held at Peatlands Park on Saturday 30th August was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone who attended.

The Mayor of Craigavon, Alderman Sidney Anderson, joined members of the Society at the plaque for a short ceremony and later the Mayor got into the spirit of the event as he spent time with the 8th Alabama infantry at their campsite. He even managed to get his hands on an original 1860's Enfield musket! The 8th Alabama re-enactors put on displays of marching, drill and volley fire.

In the marquee the entertainment was provided by the groups 'Stonewall' and 'The Dog Ruff String Band' as well as the Roadrunners line dance team and the 'Flower of the Bann' Scottish dancers. Children attending the event made good use of the Bouncy Castle and Slide provided by Bouncy Castles Direct.

Dog Ruff on stage

The Stonewall Jackson Society would like to thank Peatlands Park for the use of their facilities and our thanks also go to Craigavon Borough Council and the Ulster Scots Agency who funded the event.The Stonewall Jackson Society is seeking to educate people in Northern Ireland about the contribution made by Ulster men and women in the formation of America and particularly their involvement in the War Between the States.

We are looking for members so that our society can grow. Anyone interested can find out more about the society on our webpage at The secretary can be contacted on

John Tate
Secretary Stonewall Jackson Society
photos courtesy of Tate photography

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Ulster Iberian Connections

As participation grows in the Ulster Heritage DNA Project there is a corresponding growing interest in genetic and cultural connections to Iberia.
right, Spanish Celtic torc

Most people assume these links to be several millenniums distant and while this is true, it is also true that the Celtic people of Britain and Ireland continued to travel to the Iberian Peninsula well into the Christian era. Within the Atlantic Celtic population there was continual movement back and forth between the people of northwest Spain and Portugal and Britain and Ireland.

The on line E-Keltoi magazine has several scholarly articles covering many aspects of Celtic Iberia. These are found here:

Celtic hill fort in Spain

Dr Barry Cunliffe, the leading historian in the field of early Western European history, has basically told us that much of what we thought we knew about the Atlantic Celts was wrong.

The old pseudo history, the idea of continental Celts sweeping west and south into the Isles and into Iberia, continues to circulate despite DNA and archaeological proof that this did not happen. The new paradigm, one based upon what we now know from DNA testing and an open minded look at the archaeological evidence, is that the Atlantic Celts, those in Spain, Portugal, Breton, and the Isles, were indigenous to their Atlantic world. This Atlantic society is very old, thriving even before the pyramids of Egypt were built. The Atlantic Celts developed from the indigenous population in other words.

Dr Cunliffe's most extraordinary insight however is that it is very possible, that the Gaelic, Welsh, Cornish, Galician and Breton languages are not the last vestiges of a tongue carried by Celtic invaders from northern India, but were local languages which grew from the aboriginal population. The connections between Ulster and all of the Celtic Isles, to Iberia are very real.

Barry R McCain © 2008

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Ulster Heritage Surname Reports

Ulster Heritage Surname Reports Available

Many times one’s DNA results are hard to understand and analysis is needed. This is especially true when dealing with Gaelic names that have multiple anglicised forms and non-surname matches. Valuable facts and family connections are some times overlooked or not understood, because of a lack of understanding of Gaelic etymology, orthography, and onomastics.

For an example; one participant surnamed Boyd that had a close non surname match to a McCaw family. This would have little meaning for most researchers, but a historian and Gaelic speaker would make sense of this. Boyd is often a Gaelic locality surname, given to people from the Isle of Bute, i.e. Bòideach in Scots Gaelic and Búiteach in Irish Gaelic. The surname often just means someone from the Isle of Bute.

A surname of one of the main clans on Bute was Mac Ádhaimh, which is often anglicised as McCaw. This Gaelic surname is an alternative form of the surname Mac Ádaim and means son of Adam and is a Celtic saint’s name. A family surnamed Boyd with a high quality DNA match to a McCaw family would strongly suggest the family’s origins and connections are to the Isle of Bute. This focuses the research to those areas of Bute were the McCaws lived and gives the participant a course of research. The recruiting of more McCaws on Bute or of Bute descent could reveal even more of this family’s history and with hopefully produce cousins in Ireland or Scotland.

A simple report in which your DNA results is looked at with consideration of the Gaelic etymology, orthography, onomastics and how they relate to your matches, can often help considerably. These reports are available for the fee of US$100. Contact Barry R McCain

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Stabane Gaelscoil Visited by Mary McAleese

A day the Gaelscoil will never forget

During her visit to Strabane yesterday, Mary McAleese described Gaelscoil Ui Dhochartaigh as a 'remarkable achievement'. And it is. Since been founded by a handful of parents in a tiny Barrack Street classroom, the school and indeed the Irish language in Strabane has flourished. Today the Gaelscoil is one of the finest primary educational facilities the North West has to offer.

Now nestled comfortably in the Ballycolman Estate, the Gaelscoil is this year celebrating ten years in existence. And what better way to do it than in the company of the President of Ireland.

The children of the Gaelscoil greeted Mrs McAleese and her husband with the recital of a poem on Tyrone's upcoming battle with Kerry followed by the singing of two songs in Irish. Then it was the turn of the President who, effortlessly switching between Irish and English, paid a great tribute to both staff and parents. 'You don't have a place like this unless people are passionate and have a love of language and culture.

'It is a remarkable thing to have accomplished and a special thanks must go to everyone who has put their lives into creating this opportunity for the young people of the area,' she said. Following much banter on Tyrone's undoubted victory over Kerry on Sunday, a plaque was unveiled to mark Mrs McAleese's historic visit.

Gaelscoil principal Maire Ni Dhochartaigh summed up one in sentence what the occasion meant for the school. 'This is an important day for us and one we will never forget.'

www.strabanechronicle.comStrabane Chronicle - Lthch: Conor Sharkey

Thursday, 18 September 2008

The Donegal Knox Family

Right, Ivan and Letitia Knox of Corcam, the Finn Valley, Donegal

The Ulster Heritage DNA Project had a dramatic DNA match on 17 September 2008, between the Knox families of the Finn Valley to a large group of Knox families located in the southern United States. The Ulster Heritage DNA Project has located ten families in this Knox kinship group.

Dwyane Knox, left, who lives in the Boston Mountains, east of Fayetteville, Arkansas, was very pleased to learn of his kinship to Ivan Knox of Corcam, County Donegal. Dwayne Knox seen here during a military awards ceremony honouring his service in Viet Nam

One interesting aspect of genetic genealogy is often you can find both ends of a genealogical rope and still not have the entire middle. The dramatic DNA results successfully connected these Knox families in the South to their kinsmen in Ireland, but many of the details concerning the immigration generation remain to be filled out.

Current research is focused on a group of Knox families that arrived on the Earl of Donegal out of Belfast. The ship left Ireland in early October, 1767 and arrived in Charleston, South Carolina on 10 December, 1767. The crew and passengers presented their papers to the local authorities on 22 December, 1767 and entered the Colony. There were 294 passengers, all Irish Protestants and with one Knox family aboard and two Knox men aboard without families.

Any Knox families that believe they are connected to this Finn Valley, Donegal, Knox family are urged to contact the Ulster Heritage DNA Project.

Barry R McCain ©

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Irish Coffee... The Rest of the Story

There is a common and widely held myth that Irish Coffee, that most wonderful of restoratives, was first created in the bar in Shannon Airport. It is true this luscious, Gaelic concoction, was served there at a very early date. But… it wasn’t the first place to serve this wonderful drink, it actually originated in County Donegal at Jackson’s Hotel, in Ballybofey.

There was a seaman named Joe Jackson, a Derry man, who served in the Merchant Navy during World War II. It was his misfortune to be on a ship that was torpedoed in the north Atlantic. When he was rescued he was suffering from exposure and was revived with a high proof drink made from coffee and rum, which was a Navy practice of the day. The rest of Joe Jackson’s service was in the eastern Mediterranean and there he was exposed to drinks containing cream, sugar, and spirits.

With the war over Joe returned home to Ireland and married a woman in the catering business in Ballybofey. Joe purchased a hotel in Ballybofey and calling upon his experiences during the war, began to experiment with new drinks. One of the specialties of the house was an ‘Irish Coffee’ which was made of strong black coffee, sugar, Irish whiskey, and then a layer of cream on top. This was circa late 1940s.

In the early 1950s a Scottish motoring magazine published an account of Joe Jackson’s Irish Coffee. The drink was replicated, according to lore, on 10 November 1952, in the bar of Shannon airport, but this was several years after Jackson’s Hotel served the drink. Perhaps it was a public relations coup or perhaps Donegal was in those days too distant and away, for whatever reason, the Shannon airport origin for Irish Coffee began to take root.

The real story is Irish Coffee is the creation of Mr Joe Jackson and was first served at Jackson’s Hotel in Ballybofey, County Donegal, where they still serve it today, exactly as it was created by Joe Jackson in the late 1940s.

Barry R McCain (c) 2008

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Scotland and Ireland Celebrate Their Links

The close historical links between Ireland and Scotland will be celebrated in a new publication dubbed a 21st Century Book of Kells. An Leabhar Mòr - The Great Book of Gaelic - brings together the work of 200 poets, artists and calligraphers from both countries.

Gaeltacht Minister Éamon Ó Cuív was on hand to launch the book, which features some of the earliest Gaelic poetry in existence, in Dublin last night.

Barry R McCain

Monday, 15 September 2008

William's and Brian's Most Excellent Adventure

Oxford, Mississippi, Scots-Irish Seminar in early October

Two of the better known Scots-Irish genealogical experts, William Roulston and Brian Trainor, are making a blitzkrieg tour across the southeast United States. If you are in the area of one of their stops, do take advantage of their visit and attend their seminar.

William and Brian will be in College Station, Texas, on 7 October and then drive across the heavily wooded landscape of north Louisiana and into the equally wooded and hilly environs of north Mississippi to speak in Oxford, a mere two days later. They will then point their car east and be in Gainesville, Georgia, at the Hall County Library System on 11 October. That’s stamina and Ulster grit in action.

Details of their Oxford, Mississippi presentation below:

The Ulster Historical Foundation will visit the University of Mississippi on October 9th to offer a one-day workshop on Irish genealogy, clans, history, and culture. Experts in the Diaspora of native Irish clans, Brian Trainor and William Roulston will discuss the patterns of emigration from Ireland to America and the sources of its study. Participants will learn about civil registration records and records relating to the different churches for Irish and Scots-Irish research.

William Roulston is Research Director of the Ulster Historical Foundation, specializing in genealogical research and heritage consultancy. He holds a doctorate in Archaeology from Queen’s University, Belfast. He has written and edited a number of books including, (with Eileen Murphy) Fermanagh: History and Society (Dublin, 2004) and Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors (Belfast, 2005). He has also worked with the BBC on radio and television programs relating to local and family history and has participated in numerous historical and genealogical conferences. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and a Member of Council of both the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland and the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society.

Brian Trainor retired as Research Director of the Ulster Historical Foundation in September 2006. He was educated at Queen's University, Belfast, and from there went for a time to the Institute of Historical Research in London. He returned to Belfast where he lectured for several years at Queen’s before becoming in 1956 an archivist in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. He was Director of the Public Record Office from 1970 to 1987 when he became Director and then Research Director of the Ulster Historical Foundation. He holds an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the National University of Ireland. He has been on over thirty lecture tours to America and has spoken on Irish history and genealogy in over forty states.

The workshop will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Yerby Conference Center Auditorium on the Oxford campus of the University of Mississippi. Cost is $40. For more information and to register, contact Leteria McDonald McGee at 662-915-7283

Barry R McCain

Friday, 12 September 2008

Sarah Palin and The Ó Síoráin Family

The Palin Family

The Ulster Heritage web site, and our online Ulster Heritage Magazine, receive a lot of email and phone inquires about the Irish ancestry of both John McCain and now Sarah Palin. We have already posted a short article on John McCain's ancestry, which is indeed Irish and from County Antrim. The McCain family still has many cousins in Ireland.

It is true that Governor Sarah Palin also has Irish ancestry. Her mother's name is Sarah Heath née Sheeran.

Sheeran is the anglicised form of the Donegal and Fermanagh surname Ó Síoráin and you can also find the surname spelled in a slender vowel form, Ó Sírín. Now my Irish is pretty good these days, but I admit, I do not know the meaning of the root name Síorán.

I have not researched in depth her ancestry, but believe her Sheeran family immigrated to the USA during the Great Famine. So, yes, both Senator John McCain and Sarah Palin have ancestors from Ulster.

Barry R McCain

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Calling All Poets!

Do you write poetry in Irish, English, or Ulster-Scots? Would you like the chance to see your work in print? Would you like to win a top cash prize?

Welcome to the Frances Browne International Poetry Competition.

Frances Browne of Stranorlar

The Donegal newspaper, the Finn Valley Voice, is launching this brand-new poetry competition with a difference. For the first time ever, poets are invited to enter work in any of Ireland’s three national languages, Irish, English and Ulster-Scots, with a guaranteed top prize of E100.00 and trophy in each category.

The competition is in memory of Frances Browne, the Blind Poetess of Stranorlar, one of the world’s most popular poets and childrens’ storytellers in Victorian times. Frances Browne came from the Finn Valley. The Finn Valley is unique in being the only part of Ireland where the three national tongues, Irish, English and Ulster-Scots, are spoken by large sections of the population as first languages.

The Finn Valley is also the only part of Ireland where the religious and demographic mix matches that of Northern Ireland, and is often cited as a role model for the pluralist Ireland we are trying to create.

In that spirit, all are welcome to enter. Young or old, Irish or non-Irish, Irish-speaking, English-speaking or Ulster Scots-speaking – send along your entry to this groundbreaking new competition. In addition to the main prizewinners a selection of the best entries will appear in the Finn Valley Voice over the coming months.

Entry forms may be obtained by sending a stamped addressed envelope to the Arts Page, Finn Valley Voice, Ballybofey, Co Donegal.

Entry forms may also be available from your local library or by downloading at

Closing date for completed entries is Friday 17th October 2008

This is a great opportunity for Irish speakers and those with Ullans to participate in a wonderful event that adds much to the quality of life in Donegal.

Barry R McCain

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

The Tweedy Family And the Second Sight

It is not in fashion, hasn’t been for years now, to talk about things like the or the Second Sight. My grandmother McCain neé Tweedy, was a rare soul, she had the Second Sight. Now this was not a thing of joy for her, it was a cause of sadness. The Tweedys were dear people, but always quiet and distant; the Second Sight was hereditary with them and made them seek solitude to avoid episodes of its use.

Robert Tweedy circa 1885, Carbondale, Illinois

The Tweedys were interesting in many ways, they were Ulster Scots, or what we call Scots-Irish here, but my branch was Anglican or Catholic, not the normal Presbyterian faith of so many Ulster Scots. They came to the Colonies early and settled in the ridges (drumlins) of south Illinois and in the Ozark Mountains in southern Missouri and Arkansas, where they still live. That area today is much like the Gaeltachtaí in Ireland, places where old speech and traditions have held on, a place of natural beauty and traditional music. The traditional music is very good and is mostly of Irish and Scottish origins as you would expect. The Tweedys were particularly good musicians, many of them were suburb fiddle and mandolin players.

I could tell you hair raising tales of my grandmother’s encounters with the other world. Usually these involved some portent of coming death, a haunting image coming to the house and opening the front gate walking to the front door only to vanish, then news of that person’s passing arriving hours later or the next day. Or worse, seeing someone’s death in their face, this was not something in those days you could easily explain. The Second Sight ran in the Tweedys, it is hereditary and even I have had brushes with it.

My grandmother also told me about the Jackros. When the people of Ulster migrated to the American Colonies and to Canada with them also came their Folkways. It is an arguable point I grant you, but some say various races of fairies came with us. We have the same púca race that lives in Ireland, here we call one a Jackro. The Ulster Gruagach is also here and called a house brownie. There are even accounts of the Tuatha De Dannan visiting Nova Scotia. Old Ulster is still alive in the New World.

Barry R McCain © 2008

Ireland's Own Magazine

If you live in Ireland, or are a frequent visitor, you will know that Ireland’s Own is a fascinating and interesting slice of the Emerald Isle that is a joy for the eyes to read. For those not acquainted with this magazine, it has been published since 1902 and is an Irish institution that has transcended into a bona fide folk tradition. I discovered it while in a Cushendun shop in County Antrim one day a few years ago. The current issue includes articles on the Gaelic Athletic Association’s Seán Ó Ceallacháin and an article on Senator John McCain and his Irish roots. Ireland’s Own is an excellent way to keep in touch with Irish people and culture, both in Ireland and her Diaspora.

A few critics have noted that Ireland’s Own is a bit ‘old fashioned,’ seemingly oblivious to the fact that that is the whole point. Ireland's Own editor, Phil Murphy, describes his magazine nicely I think:

Ireland's Own and contention are complete strangers to each other — and that would be a deliberate policy. It's not 'Dublin 4' and trendy 'liberalism' and that aspect of Ireland, which is pretty shallow and skin deep anyway. We're slightly old-fashioned in our ways, for which we make no apologies. We attract a lot of our readership from people who probably have a yearning for what they consider to be the 'good old days, when things were better' as they see them. We do not take a hard-faced attitude towards our journalism or our magazine. We accept the fact that people do have a yearning for the old days, and nostalgia is a significant part of the magazine.

Ireland’s Own is about quality of life, about Irish quality of life. It is a good read and a good tradition. It is like a pint of Guinness in a quiet country pub, it is an art form. It is always a good idea to have several copies around the house, or better yet subscribe.

Barry R McCain

Monday, 8 September 2008

Irish and Scots-Irish Genealogy Workshop in Texas

An Irish/Scots-Irish Genealogy Workshop will be held on the Texas A&M campus, in College Station, Texas, on October 7th. The event takes place in the Orientation Theater of the George Bush Presidential Library & Museum The George Bush Presidential Library & Museum and will run from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Dr. William Roulston, Research Director of the Ulster Historical Foundation and Dr. Brian Traynor, Former Research Director of the Ulster Historical Foundation will be the keynote speakers for this exciting workshop. The Ulster Historical Foundation is located in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

There will be no cost for this exceptional opportunity. However, due to the limited number of seats in the Orientation Theater, however reservations are strongly recommended. Box lunches may be ordered for a fee of $10, payable by cash or check.

Please contact Tracy Paine at or at (979) 691-4014 for reservations.

New Irish Language Classes in Fermanagh

New Gaelic classes are set for the Tempo Historical Society, in Cloghogue, County Fermanagh.

Tempo Historical Society has organised Irish Language classes since 1991, following a history talk on Presbyterians and the Irish Language given by the late, great Professor John Barkley. The premises have greatly altered in the intervening years and from an atmospheric farmhouse with gaslight, turf fires and water from the well the class has moved to centrally-heated Dooneen Community Education Centre.

What has not changed is the determination of the organisers to keep classes alive in this part of Fermanagh and neighbouring Tyrone. Constancy is also provided by the Beginner's and Improver's teacher Oliver McLoughlin from Newtownbutler who taught the first class all those years ago.

The Advanced class tutor is Kathleen Lavin, the retired head of Irish at St Michael's Grammar School, Enniskillen.

Oliver and Kathleen return to the townland of Dooneen this evening at 8pm for the first class of the new season.

Classes are pay per night and there are no exams to intimidate adult learners. A cup of tea and biscuits is mandatory and there are Gael Linn scholarships to win.

Telephone 8954 1841 to find out more or email

- The McCracken Cultural Society at 156 Antrim Road, Belfast begin Irish classes today, with a beginner's class and a level 3 class.

Tuesday has a Rang Gramadaí/A Level class as well as an Irish conversation class for past pupils from the Bunscoileanna

Wednesday sees a Beginner's class, an Intermediate class and and Ardrang on Teanga agus Litearthacht na Gaeilge with Seán Mac Corraidh.

More information from 9074 9688 or

- Classes are up and running again at the famous Cumann Chluain Ard at 27-43 Sráid na Scéiche/Hawthorn Street (off Cavendish Street on the Falls Road),

Bunrang / Dara Rang / Treas Rang are on offer on Monday and Thursday nights, 8-10pm. More info from 9032 1873.

Irish News - Lthch:

Robert McMillen

Thursday, 4 September 2008

The Lyons Family Reunion in Ontario

The Lyons family of Donagheady Praish, Tyrone, are having a splendid gathering in Ontario on 14 September, details below:

The descendants of James Lyons (1775-1851) and Elizabeth Hewson (1792-1852) will hold their triennial reunion at Club 24, 1835 Wellington Co. Rd. 124, Eramosa, Ontario on Sunday, September 14th, 2008 at 11:30 a.m.

above, the Lyons family circa 1890s

The day will include lunch, games for the children and a talk by Jim McKane on the family genealogy and advancements in DNA testing as related the family's ancestry. Admission is $10 for adults and $3.00 for children.

James Lyons and Elizabeth Hewson emigrated from Donagheady Parish, Co. Tyrone, North Ireland c. 1833. They purchased a farm in Chinguacousy Twp., Peel Co., Ontario in 1833. To date, their genealogy includes over 2800 descendants.