“We are the music makers. We are the dreamers of dreams….Yet we are the movers and shakers of the world forever it seems.” – Ode by Arthur O’Shaughnessy
Arthur O’Shaughnessy is known for originating the line “movers and shakers,” and this issue of Irish America is full of both.
There is something for everyone.
Our genealogical detective Megan Smolenyak tracks “music maker” Barry Manilow’s Irish ancestors; spoiler alert, the man who makes the whole world sing has Limerick roots.
On a literary note, Declan Kiberd, renowned professor and writer of Inventing Ireland, talks with Kelly Candaele about how the Irish nation was written into being through novels, poems, and drama.
Rosemary Rogers questions why, with so many martyrs languishing in the ranks of the Blessed, the Land of Saints and Scholars has so few saints.
Ray Cavanaugh profiles Arthur O’Shaughnessy, whose 1873 “Ode” to Irish identity and musicians everywhere, gave us the lines: “We are the music makers/We are the dreamers of dreams/…“Yet we are the movers and shakers of the world forever, it seems.”
In modern times, the expression “movers and shakers” is mainly applied to Wall Street traders.
It’s fitting then, that we use O’Shaughnessy’s poem as a reference point to celebrate our Wall Street 50. This year’s group, many of whom are immigrants or first generation, represent some of the largest financial companies around the globe, and we are proud to bring you stories of their success.
Chief among our honorees is Kevin McLaughlin, and his life story is the stuff the American dream is made of. When we met in his corner office overlooking Rockefeller Center, he talked about his ancestors and how their stories instilled in him a passion for education and a will to succeed.
One of his earliest successes was earning an Altar Boy scholarship to a prestigious Catholic high school. Following that on, he worked his way through college as a night porter at Citi Bank and various other positions; finally, on graduation, he landed a job at Merrill Lynch – then a symbol of working-class Irish Catholic culture – on the path to his goal of becoming a Wealth Management Financial Advisor.
That fierce determination and unwavering spirit is the backbone of the Irish in America story that has captivated readers for nearly four decades in our print issues. And soon, all our stories will have a new life online, ensuring that future generations, students, writers, researchers, and others will come to know the history of the Irish in America, the strength and perseverance that propelled them forward, and the contributions that they have made and continue to make to public service, medicine, education, architecture, business and finance, and every other sector in American life. They will find too, an appreciation for our music, poetry, dance, theater, arts, and literature, and all that is rich in our culture.