Former UUP Member David Trimble Dies Age 77
David Trimble, an esteemed member of the Ulster Unionist Party, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and a key negotiator in the brokerage of the Good Friday Agreement, died on Monday, July 25. Trimble was 77.
The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) announced Trimble’s death on behalf of his family on Monday evening. “It is with great sadness that the family of Lord Trimble announce that he passed away peacefully earlier today following a short illness,” the statement read. Trimble led the UUP as the first minister of Northern Ireland from 1995 to 2005.
Trimble and John Hume, former Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) leader, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 for their effort in negotiating and enacting the Good Friday Agreement, formally known as the Belfast Agreement. The Good Friday Agreement marked the end of an era known as The Troubles – three decades of violence and political instability that claimed the lives of over 3,000 people.
The current UUP leader, Doug Beattie, described Trimble as “a man of courage and vision.”
“He chose to grasp the opportunity for peace when it presented itself and sought to end the decades of violence that blighted his beloved Northern Ireland,” Beattie said.
Born in the seaside town of Bangor, County Down, Trimble studied law at Queens University in Belfast. He joined politics in the 1970s and first aligned himself with the Vanguard party, which the Guardian describes as an “extreme unionist grouping.”
Over the years, Trimble’s views transformed. He joined the mainstream Ulster Unionist Party in the late 1970s and began participating in conversations with Irish nationalists and once-sworn enemies. Trimble started working with John Hume, leader of the SDLP, and Gerry Adams, the leader of Sinn Féin, to reach a peace deal – an idea he had previously opposed.
Although Trimble struggled with disagreement and backlash from within the UUP, he signed the Good Friday Agreement on April 10, 1998.
In 2017, the former First Minister wrote a letter to Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness when first learning of his former adversary’s illness. (McGuinness passed away in March 2017 from amyloidosis, a condition that attacks vital organs).
In the letter to McGuinness, Trimble expressed his appreciation for his’ cross-party efforts, adding that McGuinness was “indispensable” in bringing about the Good Friday Agreement.
“I think that even-tempered manner was characteristic of all your time in office,” Trimble added, “and we knew that it was never at the expense of your principles.”
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald shared her condolences with the Trimble family via Twitter, saying she was “saddened” to hear of Trimble’s death. “His contribution to building the peace process in Ireland will stand as a proud and living legacy of his political life. Condolences to his wife Daphne and family. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam,” she wrote.
His funeral will be held on Monday, August 1, at the Harmony Hill Presbyterian Church in Lisburn, Co. Antrim. On Tuesday, the Northern Ireland Assembly Chamber is holding tributes to the late First Minister in the Assembly building.
David Trimble is survived by his wife, Daphne, and his children, Richard, Victoria, Nicholas, and Sarah.
Caroline Kennedy Officially Starts Position as the U.S. Ambassador to Australia
Caroline Kennedy officially took up her position as U.S. Ambassador to Australia on July 25, 2022.
After being appointed by President Biden in December 2021, confirmed by the U.S. Senate in May, and a formal presentation of her diplomatic credentials to Australian Governor General David Hurley, she officially assumed the ambassador role after 18 months of vacant status.
From 2013 to 2017, she served as U.S. Ambassador to Japan under the Obama administration.
The daughter of late president John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy, the longtime diplomat said she was “excited” to begin her service upon her arrival in Sydney on Friday, July 22.
“There is so much excitement in D.C. about this relationship and this partnership, not only the bilateral relationship but the regional work together and really our work as global partners.”
Her first trip is to the Solomon Islands, a country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal. The Battle of Guadalcanal was a World War II military campaign against Japanese troops in the Pacific Ocean, where her father was a patrol boat captain.
“For me personally, it has great significance, since my father served in the Pacific and was rescued by two Solomon Islanders and an Australian coast watcher,” Kennedy said at a press conference in Sydney.
When asked about the future of Aukus, Kennedy told reporters that new developments would be coming “in weeks.” The Aukus partnership is a security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The partnership’s current goal is to acquire nuclear-powered submarines for Australia.
“The United States and Australia are the closest of allies, and we are global partners working toward peace and stability, health, security and economic prosperity in this region and beyond,” Kennedy said.
+ To learn more about the Battle of Guadalcanal, you can access our article on WWII vet Harry Donovan in our Spring 2022 issue here, on page 88. +
The 2022 Women’s All-Ireland Football Final
The All-Ireland Ladies Football Final between Counties Meath and Kerry will kick off at 4 pm on Sunday, July 31, at Dublin’s Croke Park.
Maggie Farrelly from Cavan will referee the highly-anticipated game between the counties after overseeing several high-stakes games this year, one being the TG4 Ulster Senior Championship.
This is Meath’s fifth successive All-Ireland final. They lost the 2018 and 2019 Intermediate games but championed a match in 2020 in a breakthrough victory and advancement in the ranks and won the Brendan Martin Cup for the first time in 2021.
County Meath is expected to win the final for the second year in a row but could face challenges from fierce players like Niamh Carmody from Kerry’s side.
“Meath’s work rate is just something ladies football hasn’t seen in quite a while,” said Tyrone player Emma Hegarty.
“It seems like they trust everyone who’s there… Whenever the five of six get off the bench, the team is just as strong as when they start,” Hegarty said.
If Kerry wins the match, the county would have a male-female All-Ireland Senior title for the first time since 1986. Even if the Kingdom doesn’t win, Kerry’s presence in the finals suggests the team’s favorable projection through the football ranks, as the Kingdom’s most recent All-Ireland title was in 1993.
On July 24, Kerry’s men’s football team won the Sam Maguire Cup in the All-Ireland Football Final 0-20 to 0-16, with a massive 8-point lead from the Kingdom’s David Clifford against Galway’s strong defenders like Shane Walsh.
To livestream the event, go to gaago.com
“Lifts of Moher” – Visitors with Disabilities Now Have Access to Ireland’s Famous Cliffs
The rolling hills and idyllic seaside views at County Clare’s Cliffs of Moher have been one of Ireland’s most significant natural attractions. But for some, accessing the views had been difficult, even impossible.
But as of Tuesday, July 26, people with disabilities or limited mobility take in the views of the Cliffs of Moher via electric buggies or golf carts.
The two electric-powered vehicles are aptly named the Burren Buggy, after the nearby Burren National Park, and the Wild Atlantic Shuttle in honor of the tourist trail that stretches along Ireland’s coastline.
The vehicles are operated by trained staff and provide visitors with cost-free and stress-free tours, and on opening day, “The Lifts of Moher proved to be hugely popular, particularly for individuals with mobility issues, those with disabilities, the elderly, their families and carers,” said Geraldine Enright, Director of the Cliffs of Moher Experience.
“This service is offered to those who are in need and the beauty of the experience is that users get to see and learn about the Cliffs in a way that they wouldn’t have otherwise,” Enright added.
The parking lots, visitor center, main building, restrooms, and main viewing areas are fully accessible for those with reduced mobility or disabilities – but the electric buggies provide a richer experience.
Laura Sitters, a tourist from the United States, recently suffered a hip injury. When she arrived at the Cliffs of Moher, she was elated to discover that staff member Kieran Kelly was ready with an electric vehicle to show her the legendary views.
“People who have limited mobility for whatever reason should have the opportunity to see the cliffs and the waves crashing down at the base of the cliffs,” Sitters said in a press release provided by the attraction.
“And that’s only feasible with people like Mr. Kelly and the golf carts.”
No pre-booking for the buggies is required but is subject to availability. For more information, visit the cliffsofmoher.ie
Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland Launched
Over a century ago, The Record Treasury of the Public Record Office of Ireland was destroyed during the Civil War on June 30, 1922. Only 378 brown paper parcels survived the heat, fire, and debris. Nevertheless, staff and historians carefully preserved the remaining documents, scraps, and scorched files for the next one hundred years.
In an effort to fully restore Ireland’s documented records, the newly launched Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland is live and available to anyone with Internet access to take a “step back in time.” The Virtual Record Treasury offers a wide array of historical Irish documents to be used for ancestry tracing, education, and enjoyment. The website also provides an immersive, 3D reconstruction of the original building.
Beyond 2022, a project by Trinity College Dublin collaborated with the National Archives in Ireland and UK, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, and the Irish Manuscripts Commission to create a digital archive.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister for Culture Catherine Martin introduced the Virtual Record Treasury on June 28.
“It is an invaluable historical resource for people of all traditions across the island and for everyone of Irish heritage around the world. It is an immense achievement and testament to the commitment and dedication of the Beyond 2022 project team,” the Taoiseach said in a press conference before the website launch.
The 1922 fire of the Public Records Office of Ireland destroyed over seven centuries of Irish history and records, with some information dating back to the Medieval and Norman era, starting circa 1169.
The new digital record treasury comprises over 50 million words, carefully categorized by over 70 international partners, and spans seven centuries; over 6,000 maps; more than 150,000 database records; and 2.7 million knowledge graphs.
Researchers and developers identified replacement and duplicate documents for key archives like the 1766 Religious Census of Ireland, where over 80% of lost documents were recovered; the Cromwellian Surveys of the Seventeenth Century, which identified the Irish land ownerships during the Cromwell invasions; and the Medieval Exchequer, a database with information on Irish politics, economics, and society after English invasions.
Killian Downing, the Europeana Members Councilor and Dublin City University archivist, said, “I’m really in awe of the painstaking work, dedication, and vision of the Beyond 2022 team and partners who have worked together to launch the Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland.”
“Digitally reconnecting archival sources is for me the epitome of digital transformation, and only made possible by the diligent work of archivists, librarians and conservators, who everyday preserve, catalog and digitize collections, making our shared history accessible for everyone,” he added.
Teaser for ‘Oppenheimer’ starring Cillian Murphy Released
Cork-born actor Cillian Murphy is starring in Oppenheimer, an upcoming film by Christopher Nolan. Fans can finally get a peek into the movie with a teaser that was released on Friday, July 29.
Murphy plays J Robert Oppenheimer, a theoretical physicist known as the ‘father of the atomic bomb’ during World War II. The film is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin.
Over black and white clips of Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer, a smoky, explosive background accompanies the voice of Emily Blunt, who is playing Katherine Oppenheimer, saying, “The world is changing, reforming. This is your moment.”
Above the edgy, haunting visual clips and Blunt’s voiceover, the film’s teaser trailer features a countdown of 11 months, 17 days, 22 hours, and 35 minutes until the movie’s release date on July 21, 2023– a subtle nod to the launch of the first nuclear weapon by the United States on July 16, 1945.
Murphy will star alongside Belfast native Kenneth Branagh, Golden Globe winner and writer of the multi-award-winning 2021 movie Belfast. Other members of the star-studded cast are Robert Downey Jr, who plays businessman Lewis Strauss, Matt Damon, Florence Pugh, Rami Malek, and Benny Safdie, among others.
Milwaukee Irish Fest Returns to Lake Michigan This August
From August 18 to 21, one of the U.S.’s biggest Irish Festivals is returning to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for a four-day cultural celebration.
At the Henry Maier Festival Park on the shore of Lake Michigan, the Milwaukee Irish Fest will host over 100 Irish, folk, and bluegrass performances across 16 stages in the 75-acre park. There is also a virtual option for those unable to attend in person.
Since 1981, the Milwaukee Irish Fest has been dedicated to showcasing Irish music and culture. “This year’s lineup puts a spotlight on the music and heritage of Irish America,” said Melissa Ward of CelticMKE, the nonprofit organization that produces the festival.
“We look forward to sharing the spirit of the music and traditions that were brought over from the Emerald Isle and other Celtic nations across the centuries.”
Some headliners include the Ashley Davis Band, Gaelic Storm, Scythian, and the popular group Socks in a Frying Pan.
Festival organizers prepared genealogy experts offering services to help trace Irish ancestry, Irish language seminars, and traditional Irish dance workshops. The festival schedule also includes presentations from leading field experts on modern and historical Irish topics and Irish language workshops from multi-award-winning Irish singer Colm Keegan.
The Milwaukee Irish Festival will also provide a summer school service with Celtic quilting classes, set dancing with instructor Danielle Enblom, and bodhrán lessons with international Irish frame drum teacher Andy Kruspe.
The entire music lineup, class schedule, and limited $19 tickets are available at irishfest.com.
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