Irish Connections: More of you map links around the world
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Blue-eyed grass: one of the Sisyrinchium bermudiana plants that Kieran Griffin photographed in Co Kerry
We’ve had so many more lively, informative and fascinating comments from readers about this series that we’ve decided to publish another selection of them this month. We’re also working on a number of columns based on readers’ suggestions, so if yours hasn’t appeared yet, bear with us: it may well be in the pipeline. And please keep the emails coming: we love to hear from you.
Blue-eyed grass in Ireland and Bermuda
Kieran Griffin writes from Cromane about Sisyrinchium bermudiana, or blue-eyed grass, which as well as being Bermuda’s national flower, as we wrote on August 12th, is native to Ireland: “I have a particular affection for this beautiful plant, having observed it regularly in Co Kerry in the late 1990s. Prompted by your article, I revisited a site near my home in Co Kerry after a lapse of almost 15 years. I am happy to report that about 20 plants were observed. I am sure there are many more – it is a very extensive area, and, as you mentioned, it can be elusive. Thank you for helping to rekindle my interest in all things botanical: boots, notebook and hand lens are once again at the ready.”
And from Two Mile House, in Co Kildare, John O’Connell adds: “You may be aware of a similar botanical story to that of blue-eyes grass. Irish lady’s tresses – Spiranthes romanzoffiana, had its first home in North America.”
Mary Barrett’s headstone outside Seattle
Donal Grogan writes from Little Island, in Co Cork, about our August 19th piece on Samuel Maylor, who erected a headstone to his wife on Whidbey Island, in Washington state: “Cork has a Maylor Street. Is there a connection to Samuel? I assume there must be, as I have never met anyone called Maylor in Cork, so it’s obviously not a common name here.”
Irish in Buenos Aires
After our article about Irish Connections in Argentina, and particularly its capital, Rose O’Connor writes: “A number of years ago my husband and I were in Buenos Aires. We visited Recoleta Cemetery, which is one of the sights to see in that city. As we walked along its main avenue we were astonished to find that the two most prominent monuments were to Irish people.
“On one side was a huge Celtic cross in memory of Fr Anthony Fahy, a Dominican priest from Loughrea, Co Galway. He became well known for his care of the Irish community in Argentina. He also set up a hospital in the city under the care of Irish Sisters of Mercy nuns. Facing Fr Fahy’s monument is a huge green pillar topped with a sailing ship, in memory of Adm William Brown, the founder of the Argentinian navy, who was born in Foxford, Co Mayo, in 1777.
“To visit Eva Perón’s place of rest – she’s buried with her own family – one has to follow signposts, but the two Irish memorials are right there as you walk in the main gate. We were told that every St Patrick’s Day there is a gathering at the cemetery, and wreaths are laid in memory of these two men.
“One of the things that I found fascinating was that the Celtic cross was sculpted by Earleys and Company of Dublin, whose business flourished between 1861 and 1975, so obviously it was shipped out.
“Incidentally, another person with Irish connections is Eduardo Wilde (1844-1913), a doctor and writer who was a relative of Oscar Wilde. While in Buenos Aires we stayed at Rooney’s Boutique Hotel, which is owned and run by a man from Belfast.”
The most Irish connection of all?
Pádraig Ferguson from Blackrock, Co Dublin, writes: “Many of us probably think of the potato as an Irish vegetable rather than as a recent migrant. I wondered if this was a narrow Irish viewpoint. I have a book, The Potato, by Larry Zuckerman, a US author, and his viewpoint confirms the Irish relationship with it: ‘No European nation has had a longer, more intimate partnership with the potato than Ireland.’ ”
If you know of an Irish connection that would interest readers of this column, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with details of the story, as well as your contact address