Dúcas E-News

This informative e-newsletter offers members insights into Irish culture, history, and the latest happenings at the IACI. Besides providing updates on IACI programming, this publication offers feature articles, educational information, book reviews, and a wealth of other information.  It's Irish American culture, delivered straight to your e-mail inbox! We invite you to view a sample copy below.

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We are seeking contributors to our new monthly e-news. Some suggestions: local events, recipes, book/music/play reviews, Irish facts, helpful website links, or anything else you would like to share.

We would also like to highlight Irish Way alumni. If you are willing to share your experiences and how the Irish Way changed your life, please contact us.


We appreciate your donations, which allow the Irish American Cultural Institute to provides leadership and resources to preserve, interpret, and promote Irish and Irish American Cultures. Click here to donate


Oct. 1 - Batt Burns, Storyteller - Drew University, Madison, NJ

Feb. 26 -Washington's Ball - Morristown, NJ

For more information, or to list your upcoming event - contact us




Over 1000 Irish Coats of Arms images and Irish genealogy information for the Irish family names listed can be found in the Gallery. Click here.


Can you recommend a useful site? Click here to share it with us!



Sept. 17 : (Rochester, NY) Celtic Music Society presents Lunasa, co-sponsored by the IACI Rochester Chapter. Click Here to learn more.

Sept. 18: (Sea Girt, NJ) Irish Festival at the Jersey Shore - Please be sure to stop by the Cultural & Heritage pavillion to say hello to our new Chairman, Peter Halas. Click here to learn more.

Sept. 18: (Rockaway, NJ) The IAANJ will host a session featuring the band "Hanging Out to Dry", followed by a one woman play performed by actress Lisa Bansavage. Click here to learn more

Oct. 15: Rochester Chapter presents Sean Tyrrell. Click here to learn more.

Michael McCarthy, Rochester Chapter Board Member has recently released his book entitled "From Cork to the New World: A journey for Survival". This work of historical fiction,based on the true story of the McCarthy and Sullivan families, follows their travels from poverty-stricken Ireland to their joining the Peter Robinson Settlement in Canada.


What in the world are you saying? Although they speak English in Ireland, you may not always understand what is being said. See if you can match each Irish word with its meaning. Click here to play these Irish word games.


For a limited time only, IACI Members will have the opportunity to complete their Eire-Ireland library. For a nominal shipping and handling fee ($10 per issue-domestic / $20 per issue-International), free back issues will be available to active members. This offer is based on availability and on a first come, first served basis. For more information, or to order back issues, please contact us.


Go Raibh Maith Agaibh (Thank You)

We would like to thank the following for their support of the IACI:

  • CIE Tours - Sponsor of the SurfChixx concert at Drew University
  • Drew University - partnership with the IACI for the SurfChixx
  • Jodi Church - IACI Volunteer
  • John Cisco - IACI Volunteer
  • Mike Sutherland - IACI Volunteer


Walking the Rolling Hills of Eire toward Change - by Molly Ferns

From the moment I knew my hair was red I knew what heritage was. Red hair means Irish and Scottish; Irish and Scottish means pride. I was culturally bred, pushed into Irish Dance at six and took up the Snare for a bagpipe band at eleven. I adored my culture, but that all changed when I entered High School.

High School girls’ pettiness may seem exaggerated in the wake of movies like Mean Girls. In truth these “popular” girls do exist; girls with more money, more friends, more ways to flaunt it. Imagine rich girls, tan (more orange), with long, straight hair, decked out in Abercrombie and Fitch. So, at 15, although I could not lose my red hair, I tried to blend in with the crowd in other ways.

I had to sneak playing my beloved snare – secretly rushing off to bagpipe band practice when no one was looking. I became an Irish dance dropout, something, of which I am still ashamed. School work fell down the priority ladder, making room for a boyfriend, new wardrobe, and a new hairstyle which only happened after excessive morning hours of flat iron heat. I ran for class office, thinking it would somehow make me more popular. Ultimately, I was losing site of myself and there would be little time left.

Luckily there was still time to go to Ireland..... Click here to read more.

Are you an Irish Way Alumni? Would you like to share your story, tell us how the IW changed your life, or reconnect with other IW alumni?
Contact us.


By Deirdre McKiernan Hetzler




Many Irish and Irish Americans take pride in their ethnic heritage, but know little about it. With this issue, we initiate a column intended to give us all “a reason for the faith that is in us.” The Irish have contributed significantly to this country, and to the world, and we Irish need to spread the good news.


Did you know, for example, that the famous Newgrange is one of three 5,000 years old Stone Age burial mounds in the Boyne Valley (Knowth and Dowth being the others), making them older than Stonehenge in England, and even older than the pyramids in Egypt? The construction is so precisely engineered that at each winter solstice the rising sun illuminates the inner chamber at Newgrange. (Quite a feat, considering having to calculate on a sunny winter morning in Ireland!) This makes it the world’s oldest known astronomical observatory!


And speaking of scientific discoveries, did you know that the largest telescope in the 19th century world was built by an Irishman? In 1845, William Parsons, third Earl of Rosse, built this telescope on the grounds of his castle in Birr, Co. Offaly. Its six-foot mirror weighed four tons and was the largest metal mirror ever cast; the 54 foot long telescope tube was probably Ireland’s biggest barrel. The telescope can still be seen by visitors to Birr Castle; the museum on the grounds details much of Parson’s scientific experimentation.


The Parsons family were quite the inventors. William’s eldest son, Laurence, devised a way of taking the first accurate measurements of the moon’s temperature. And Charles, another son, invented the steam turbine in 1884. The latter revolutionized marine transport and naval warfare; it also made it possible to generate cheap and plentiful electricity.


An astronomer at the Armagh Observatory, Thomas Romney Robinson, built the first device capable of measuring wind speed and showed it to the Royal Irish Academy in 1850. The device consisted of four hemispherical caps which spun freely around a central spindle as the wind blew them. A mechanism Robinson designed counted how often the caps spun each minute, and thus could calculate the wind speed.


Would you be surprised to know that an Irishman won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1951? His name was Ernest T.S. Walton.


More to come in the months ahead.


Reviewed by Jodi Church

Renowned storyteller Batt Burns, with the help of illustrator Igor Oleynikov, has released a collection of 13 Irish folktales entitled The King with Horse’s Ears and Other Irish Folktales as part of the Folktales of the World Series. The sources of his tales include his grandfather, school days, the 17th Century monks of Skellig Michael, and ancient Irish legends.


The stories are varied and fascinating filled with leprechauns, fairies, seals, thieves, barbers, and a poignant story referencing home evictions and emigration to America. “A Famous Thief” is an amusing story detailing the exploits of a well-know thief, Gadai Dubh, outsmarted by his own apprentice. One envisions Burns summoning the ghosts of storytellers past for a lively evening by the fire.


In an especially nice touch, each tale is introduced with brief background information providing some cultural context for the reader. It also provides a hint as to the lesson the reader should learn at the end of the tale. There are pronunciation footnotes and a glossary of Irish terms at the end of the book.


The reading level and tone are easily accessible to children ten years or older, while younger children will delight in the fabulous illustrations provided by Igor Oleynikov. The illustrations have a dream-like quality as if they appear in a dream. The King with Horse’s Ears and Other Irish Folktales is perfect bedtime reading for all ages.




We all know the Irish have the gift of gab and the ability to bring light to challenging situations with their words. I wonder sometimes though if we realize the power of this gift and what it means to those around us.


I have always been proud to be part of a culture that takes life in stride by “rising to the occasion” while keeping a strong sense of humor intact. They say laughter is the best medicine and the Irish have certainly figured out how to use laughter and light-heartedness to see them through many challenges. After being raised by an Irish American mother, very important that I mention American because my mother always reminded me that I am an American of Irish descent, who had an expression for every life experience; I can personally attest to this.


I remember as a child when I would become jealous of my sisters or feel sorry for myself, my mother would say to me in a sing-song voice:


Nobody loves me, nobody cares. I am going to eat whole lot of worms and die--big fat juicy ones and itsy, bitsy teensy ones, and I am going to chew them up and spit them in your eye.


After hearing that, I would immediately start laughing and realize how silly I was being. Remembering these funny words and the way in which my mother delivered them still makes me laugh and reminds me to take a step back and re-evaluate a situation. Her ability to do this through humor taught me to keep my sense of humor in life. That is powerful message to teach a child with just a silly little statement.


When I share my mother’s funny antidotes and wisdom, I am able to make others laugh at themselves or a situation and pass that wisdom along, which is the gift the Irish give to those around us.


I have started compiling new expressions from my readers for the sequel to my book “Wise Words & Witty Expressions,” which is a collection of all the expressions my parents said to me growing up—funny, profound and sarcastic—to help me navigate life’s ups and downs. If you have an expression that you would like to share with me, I would love to add it to my collection. You can click here to leave a comment on my website www.reneegatz.com where you can also learn more about me and my book.


I look forward to speaking with you again next month. Until then, all of life’s best to you!




We are in the process of planning our 37th year of the Irish Way. Please visit the new Irish Way website - www.irishway.org to learn more about the upcoming program. We are also seeking Counselors for the program. Preference is given to past Irish Way attendees who will have graduated from college by July 2011.

Would you be willing to promote the Irish Way in your area? Contact us to learn more.

Plans are being made for Irish Way reunions. If you would like to be included on the invitation list, please contact us to update your contact information.


Chocolate Whiskey Cake

1 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1 1/2 cups brewed coffee
1/2 cup American Bourbon whiskey
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, in bits
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter 10 inch bundt pan and dust with sugar. Heat coffee, whiskey, butter and cocoa powder in a 3 quart saucepan, whisking until butter is melted. Remove from heat, add sugar and whisk until dissolved. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and cool 5 minutes, While chocolate mixture cools, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, beat eggs with vanilla, then whisk into chocolate mixture. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined (batter will be thin and bubbly). Pour batter into bundt pan and bake until skewer inserted in center comes out clean--approx. 40-50 minutes. Cool 20 minutes on wire rack, then remove cake and cool completely. Makes one cake, serves 8-12.

Note: Cake improves in flavor if made at least one day ahead and kept in a cake keeper or wrapped in plastic. Can be made up to five days ahead and kept chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving.

*recipe courtesy of April/May 2010 Irish America magazine