Charles Flanagan T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade 


Michael Fisher  Northern Standard  Thursday 14th July 2016

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Charles Flanagan TD has said pursuing the British government on the issue of the Dublin Monaghan bombings in 1974 was a major priority for him and for the Irish government. He told the Dáil his commitment was reflected in the Programme for a Partnership Government that was agreed in May.

In a written response to questions tabled by the Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and that party’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Deputy Darragh O’Brien, Minister Flanagan said the all-Party Dáil motion on the Dublin-Monaghan bombing that was adopted in the House on 25th May had been conveyed to the British Government. This motion, like the two previously adopted in 2008 and 2011, called on the British Government to allow access by an independent, international judicial figure to all original documents relating to the bombings.

Mr Flanagan continued: “The Government is committed to actively pursuing the implementation of these all-Party Dáil motions relating to the Dublin Monaghan bombing atrocities. To this end, I wrote to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in late May, conveying a copy of the recent resolution. In addition, I raised the matter in my bilateral meeting with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in Belfast last week. In this meeting I advised the Secretary of State that this latest motion represents the consensus political view in Ireland that an independent, international judicial review of all the relevant documents is required to establish the full facts of the Dublin Monaghan bombings.”

“I underlined that the absence of a response from the British Government was of deep concern to the Government and indeed this House and emphasised the urgent need to respond to the three Dáil motions. Secretary of State Villiers recognised the importance that the Government and Dáil Éireann attach to this case and she indicated that the British Government is considering a response which would adequately address the motions.”

“The Government will continue to raise this matter with the British Government, urging them to provide a satisfactory response to the motions that have been adopted by this House. I have made clear to the Secretary of State that there is a pressing need to provide answers to the families of the victims. The Taoiseach has also raised this issue with Prime Minister Cameron emphasising the Government’s continued support for the Dáil motions.”

“Many families continue to deal not only with the awful pain of losing a loved one, but also with the struggle for answers decades after these traumatic events. Accordingly, the establishment of a new comprehensive framework for dealing with the past, as envisaged in the Stormont House Agreement, is a priority for the Government.”

In conclusion, the Minister said he continued to engage with the British Government, the NI Executive and the Northern Ireland political parties in discussions to find a route to a final agreement on legacy issues. He said the Irish government believed that the legacy institutions agreed under the Stormont House Agreement offered the best hope of helping the thousands of families impacted by the troubles. He was therefore working to secure the necessary political agreement to get the legacy bodies established and up-and-running as soon as possible.



Enterprise Train at Belfast Central Station http://www.seat61.com

The refurbished Enterprise train was taken off the Belfast to Dublin service owing to safety concerns about its doors. The doors are reported to have opened on two occasions when the cross-border train was still moving.

The first of the newly-refurbished Enterprise fleet went into service on the Belfast to Dublin line in November. The £12.2m upgrade programme included an extensive safety approval process but issues around the doors saw the first train removed from service.

Update: On Wednesday (13th January) Translink said a detailed technical investigation and review of the door mechanisms by its engineering team, specialist door contractors and the train door manufacturer had been carried out and the train was now back in service.

Ian Campbell, General Manager, Engineering with Translink explained: “When these incidents occurred, all the appropriate safety and operational procedures were carried out. We immediately addressed the issue, removed the train from service and reported the event to the relevant safety authorities.  “We would strongly reassure our passengers and the wider public that there was no imminent danger for our customers travelling on board as a result of these two unrelated door faults.”

In light of the door faults, the Railway Safety Commission had banned the trains from operating in the Republic. Translink said it had satisfied the Irish rail authority’s concerns and the upgraded train would be returned into service.

“We will continue to collaborate with the Railway Safety Commission as we work to bring this significant Enterprise train refurbishment programme to fruition which will ultimately provide a much enhanced quality of service to passengers travelling on this important cross border route,” they concluded. The RSC said it had finished a review of evidence submitted by NI Railways and was satisfied that the circumstances which gave rise to the prohibition notice had been remedied.

A news release in September 2015 from the Special EU Programmes Body said the first newly refurbished Enterprise train had entered the ‘testing and commissioning phase’ of Translink NI Railways’ train upgrade programme which has received £12.2 million funding from the EU’s INTERREG IVA Programme. The major service overhaul will improve the cross-border rail experience for customers travelling between Belfast and Dublin as well as ensure the long-term reliability of the service for the next 10 years.

The refurbishment programme has been financed through the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) with support from the Department of Regional Development and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) in Ireland.

Chris Conway, Translink Group Chief Executive, said: “The project continues to progress well as we enter this important ‘testing and commissioning’ phase in which this first fully refurbished train will be checked to ensure it complies with all necessary safety regulations and technical specifications. This will include ‘on-track’ testing of important new features such as passenger information systems, seat reservation systems and CCTV, as well as ensuring the reliability of all the train’s management systems.”

“Following successful completion of this important project phase and all necessary safety approvals, the first train can then be introduced into passenger service so that our customers can enjoy an all-new Enterprise journey experience with an emphasis on comfort, service and value. We would like to thank the European Union, Department for Regional Development and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in Ireland for essential funding to deliver this project.”

“We would also like to thank our customers for their continued patience and support as we work hard to complete this major rail project. We look forward to welcoming them on board their new Enterprise service and delivering passenger growth on this important route,” said Chris.

Paul Boylan, Programme Manager at the SEUPB which manages the EU’s INTERREG IVA Programme, said: “Developing cross-border transport infrastructure is a key facet in the INTERREG IVA Programme, which aims to enhance co-operation for a more sustainable cross-border region. The improvements being implemented by the Translink NI Railways train upgrade programme will bring a wide range of social and economic benefits to people living and working along the Belfast – Dublin rail corridor and we look forward to the programme’s successful completion.”

On November 17th the first refurbished Enterprise set made the journey between Belfast Central station and Dublin Connolly, passing through Newry.


NI Regional Development Minister Michelle McIlveen MLA and Chris Conway, Group Chief Executive for Translink chat with customer Edna Murray from Belfast as the newly refurbished Enterprise train left Belfast for Dublin in November

Transport Minister, Michelle McIlveen said: “The Northern Ireland Executive has invested significantly in railways and trains over the last decade with 43 new trains at a cost of around £200million in total. This has resulted in a tremendous growth in passenger numbers with a doubling of rail passengers in the last decade. Last year alone nearly 13.5million rail journeys were made in Northern Ireland.”

“I am confident that this major improvement in the Enterprise trains will encourage even more growth in rail passengers along this key strategic rail link.”

Welcoming the launch, (then) Finance Minister Arlene Foster said: “The Enterprise service between Belfast and Dublin provides an important infrastructure link for passengers travelling between the two cities. This delivery of this project, supported under the EU’s INTERREG IVA programme, will deliver social and economic benefits for citizens in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which will in turn contribute to economic growth and prosperity.”

Speaking at Belfast Central Station ahead of the train’s departure to Dublin Connolly Station, Translink Group Chief Executive Chris Conway said: “This is great news for our customers. The service looks and feels like a modern new train with the emphasis on comfort, service and value.”

“Customers will first notice the train’s striking modern new look with a stylish purple, red and grey livery. Stepping on board, the transformation is incredible with vibrant, eye-catching new colour schemes, attractive seating with power sockets, plush carpets, new tables and lighting. Once all trains are completed we will also have our new electronic seat reservation displays operating.”



Several hundred people, mostly Romanians, held a protest outside the Norwegian Embassy at Molesworth Street in Dublin at lunchttime on Friday. Gardaí had blocked off the street to allow the demonstration, which passed off without incident.


The banners, posters and placards called on Norway to return ‘the children’ to the Bodnariu family. Other slogans called on Norway to “stop child kidnapping”.


So I later checked out the background to the case. I found this article by Christian Ionescu (Bodnariu), a brother of Marius whose five children had been taken from him and his wife by the authorities in Norway last November.

Bodnariu Marian Constantin (Marius), a Romanian citizen, his wife Ruth Johanne Bodnariu, a Norwegian citizen, and their 5 children (Eliana, Naomi Matthew, John and baby Ezekiel who is only three months old) with joint citizenship in Romania and Norway.  Marius and Ruth, former members of Philadelphia Pentecostal Church in Bucharest, married in Romania, moved to / settled in Norway approximately 10 years ago to start, and raise, a family in Ruth’s hometown. This past Monday, November 16th (2015), Child Welfare Services (Barnevernet) “kidnapped” the two oldest children (Eliana and Naomi) from school without the knowledge of their parents.  Barnevarnet, accompanied by police, then came to the Bodnariu home and forcibly took custody of the two older boys (Matthew and John); leaving a devastated Ruth at home with only three month old Ezekiel while Marius was at work. Marius promptly came home from work to understand what was taking place and, together with Ruth, visited the police station and Barnevernet to resolve the situation.  Because Ruth was crying and devastated by the events, Barnevernet and four policemen showed up at their family home on Tuesday, November 17, without any court order or documentation, and also took 3 month old Ezekiel on the stated grounds that the mother posed a danger to her child.

On Wednesday, November 18, Barneverent notified Ruth that her kids were separated into two families and that the children already started integrating into their new lifestyle. The Barnevernet also told Ruth that “The kids don’t even miss you, what kind of parents are you?”  On the other hand, the children are told that their parents abandoned them and that they do not care! These actions of the Barneverent terrifies any normal parent who loves their children!

What happens in Norway via the Barneverent, under the guise of “child welfare,” is outrageous and unfathomable!  Children are considered property of the state; a premise utilized by the Barnevernet to abduct children and place them in foster family care for any unchecked/unregulated/unaudited reason as upheld by the Barnevernet. A quick search on the internet will yield results highlighting hundreds of cases of abuse and testimonies from affected families. The Barnevernet has a history of prevalently focusing their efforts on immigrant families or on families in which one of the parents is of a different nationality (as in my brother’s case, Romanian).

Documentation has evidenced that the Barnevernet has a long history of acting on unimaginable grounds including: the father putting the child to do certain chores in the home, the baby sleeping in the same bed as the parent or the child weighing one kilogram lighter than the national average for his/her age group. Norwegian children are taught in school to notify their teachers if a parent asks them to do their homework, or do something that a child in their childishness finds unappealing, so that teachers help the children get rid of such parents. Children are interrogated in great detail at school about their home life with what can be interpreted as malicious intent for identifying grounds on which the Barneverent can “interpret” seemingly fickle and unsubstantiated grievances. Furthermore, the Barnevernet is NOT objective in its actions and proceedings.  Quite to the contrary, the Barneverent incentivizes and rewards its employees for “generating” leads that can create to case work for the organization.

I testify, and vehemently vouch, for Marius and Ruth having given birth to and raised a “normal” family with Christian values.  These parents love their children and have taken every imaginable step in raising their children with loving caring in all aspects of their well-being.  The tearing apart of their family by the Barnevernet is a living nightmare for Marius and Ruth.  Their hope is founded, and rests, in God; He can change any situation and He is ALWAYS in control!”


The Dublin protest was one of a number of demonstrations by Romanians that were held at Norwegian embassies and consulates in various parts of the world, including London, where 1300 people took part.


Crystal Serenity docking in Dublin  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Crystal Serenity docking in Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

The company describes it as “the very best cruise ship in the world”. Crystal Serenity operated by Crystal Cruises was mooring in Dublin this morning as I was passing over the East Link bridge. So I went down to the Poolbeg Yacht Club and Marina to take a closer look at the liner, which is 250m in length and has room for just over 1000 passengers.

The master was manoeuvring her very adroitly in reverse in order to turn and berth. The same vessel had been in Waterford on Monday and visited Holyhead, Liverpool and Greenock prior to arrival at 10:30am. On Saturday night she will head for Belfast, arriving at 7am on Sunday, thence to Derry, Galway, Portland and Jersey in the Channel Islands, reaching the final destination, Dover, on Saturday week at the end of an 83-days cruise of the Mediterranean-West, that began in Lisbon on May 17th.

Crystal Serenity docking in Dublin  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Crystal Serenity docking in Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

Described as an elegant mid-size ship for mature travellers featuring high class service, Crystal Serenity is best suited to sophisticated travellers, typically over 50, who are looking for contemporary ship surroundings, with fine quality fittings and furnishings, a wide range of public rooms and facilities, and excellent food and service from a well-trained staff.

After a recent $17 million redesign – the latest in the ship’s two year $52 million investment – it boasts a chic and contemporary style featuring several cruise industry firsts, such as a chef’s herb garden as part of vibrant “vertical walls” of greenery. Next year beginning on August 16, 2016, Crystal Serenity will sail a unique 32 day itinerary from Seward, Alaska to New York City via the Northwest Passage.

Astor berthed at East Wall Bridge near 3Arena in River Liffey, Dublin  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Astor berthed at East Wall Bridge near 3Arena in River Liffey, Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

As I was approaching the East Link bridge on my way into the city, I saw the cruise ship MS ASTOR moored at the quayside close to the 3Arena. It is a relatively small ship as cruise vessels go (579ft long). It is owned by Cruise & Maritime Voyages and can accommodate 600 passengers. It was extensively refurbished in 2010. Astor left Dublin around 5pm this evening and as I write is in the Irish Sea passing off the County Down coast en route for Derry.

Thursday of last week was the biggest ever day for cruise tourism in Dublin. The Port welcomed the arrival of four luxury cruise ships, all within a four hour window, with a total of 13,000 visitors. Placed end to end, the four cruise ships would stretch to more than one kilometre. Dublin Port’s cruise business is now firmly on track for a record year in 2015 with nearly 100 cruise ships bringing 200,000 visitors to Dublin expected for the full year.

The Royal Princess (330m long), Celebrity Silhouette (319m long), MV Horizon (208m long) and Magellan (222m long) cruise ships arrived at the mouth of the River Liffey between 3:30am and 7:00am on July 23rd, giving their passengers and crew a day to spend sightseeing in the capital. Cruise ship arrivals typically deliver a €100 per passenger spend, meaning an economic boost of €1.3million for the city today. These ships’ passengers originate primarily from the United States of America, France and Great Britain.

Crystal Serenity docking in Dublin  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Crystal Serenity docking in Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

At 330m long, the most impressive arrival was the 19-deck Royal Princess measuring just three metres shy of MSC Splendida, the longest cruise ship ever to dock at Dublin Port earlier this summer. The Crystal Serenity, the MSC Splendida, Royal Princess and the Celebrity Silhouette had to manoeuvre stern first (‘reverse’) into Dublin Port, given their lengths. This complex manoeuvre was co-ordinated by the port’s Harbour Master, Capt. David Dignam, and the port’s pilots with the assistance of two tugs.

With Dublin Port Company’s ABR Project recently approved by An Bord Pleanála, this practice will no longer be required as larger ships will be able to routinely call at Dublin, turn within the expanded Alexandra Basin West and berth as far upriver as East Link Bridge.  The project, once complete, will mean an even brighter future for cruise tourism to the capital with Dublin Port able to handle the world’s largest cruise liners, including the 360m long Allure of the Seas. This in turn will create a positive economic impact for the city, enhance inbound tourism and contribute to the development of Docklands.

Eamonn O’Reilly, Chief Executive, Dublin Port Company, said: “Dublin City is a marquee destination for the world’s largest cruise lines. Our location at the heart of the city means that passengers can maximise their time in the capital, taking in the city’s sights, shops and attractions with ease. Dublin Port’s cruise business is growing from strength to strength. We are already on track for a record year in 2015, and with work on our ABR Project commencing before the end of the year, the future of cruise tourism to the capital is now secure.”    

The MSC Splendida cruise liner, the longest ship ever to call at Dublin Port, arrived in May, one of 83 cruise calls confirmed for Dublin Port this year. Currently ranked as the 11th longest cruise ship in the world, accommodating her arrival pushed the boundaries of the port’s operational limits.

The ship’s 4,600 passengers and crew were greeted on arrival by a Celtic-inspired welcome on the quayside featuring a live ceili band, Irish drummers, dancers and entertainment before passengers departed for the city’s shops and attractions. On board, the MSC Splendida boasts a VIP section with 24 hour butler service and features more than a dozen bars and lounges, spa and Turkish baths, four swimming pools, squash courts and a Formula 1 simulator, all spread over 18 decks.

In a further boost for cruise tourism to the city, Dublin Port Company has also announced that Dublin Port will become the first Irish port to welcome Disney Cruise Line following confirmation that “Disney Magic” will call to Dublin in 2016. The 300m long Disney Magic will make her maiden call to Dublin Port on 26th May 2016 as part of a transatlantic cruise starting in Port Canaveral, Florida and finishing in Dover, England. Disney Magic will visit Dublin again on 13th June 2016 as part of a 12 night cruise around Britain with Dublin selected as the only destination in Ireland. She will bring 2,700 passengers and a complement of 950 cast and crew to the city each time. The selection by Disney Cruise Line of Dublin as its chosen destination in Ireland highlights the strength of Dublin as an attraction for cruise tourism. Disney Cruise Line now joins a long list of the world’s largest cruise lines choosing to call to Dublin Port.

In a separate development, Dublin Port Company and Dublin City Council will also jointly host the Cruise Europe Conference in Dublin in 2016. The three day event attracts over 200 delegates from leading cruise destinations throughout Europe (including the Mediterranean, Spain and Portugal, the Baltic region and Northern Europe), from all the major cruise lines and service suppliers to the cruise industry worldwide. This is the first time that the event will take place in Dublin, providing a high profile opportunity to showcase the city as a leading cruise tourism destination.

Commenting on the challenge of bringing the MSC Splendida into Dublin Port, Dublin Port’s Harbour Master, Capt. Dignam, explained: “When asked whether we could accommodate these larger ships our first challenge was to see how we could safely bring a ship into and out of the port, especially when the river is too narrow to allow it to turn within the port. The result of our many simulation exercises has convinced me and the cruise lines that, weather permitting, we can safely enter the port bow first and then manoeuvre stern first out (or vice versa). Due credit must be given to the skills of our pilots and the masters of our tugs “Shackleton” and “Beaufort”, combined with the expertise of the cruise ships’ Masters and their ships’ enormous manoeuvring capabilities”.

Crystal Serenity docking in Dublin  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Crystal Serenity docking in Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher


Saint Kevin's Park, Dublin. Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Saint Kevin’s Park, Dublin. Photo: © Michael Fisher

The first reference in historical annals to Saint Kevin’s Church is in 1226. The Church was situated in the Irish section of the city and the parish extended from the mouth of the Dodder to Milltown. In 1584 Archbishop Dermot Hurley was laid to rest in a secret grave within the church, having been executed for alleged treason. Bishop Rothe wrote in ‘Analecta Hibernia’ in 1609 that in view of the throngs of pilgrims to the grave and the remarkable occurrences there that the church was rebuilt and a special entrance made. A memorial to the Archbishop is situated at the south-eastern corner of the church.

In 1698 the parish was offered to the French Huguenots as a place of worship and a burial ground. Although the use of the church as a Catholic place of worship ceased under the penal legislation of Elizabeth and James I, the graveyard continued to be used by Catholics until the end of the 19th century. Over the years various reconstructions and additions to the church took place and the vestry was floored, while burials continued in the remaining sections. An archaeological excavation in 1967 uncovered some medieval family graves, coins and tiles from that period.

The church was restored in 1872 and was used as a place of worship until 1912. The church bell was sold for scrap in 1919 and the 18th century font in which the Duke of Wellington had been baptised was given to Taney church in Dundrum. In 1962 after long negotiations, the ruins of the church and the graveyard were transferred to Dublin Corporation and were developed as a park. Some of the headstones remain undisturbed and all others have been placed along the outer walls of the church and perimeter walls of the park.

The Keogh Grave, St Kevin's Park Photo:  © Michael Fisher

The Keogh Grave, St Kevin’s Park Photo: © Michael Fisher

John Keogh, Mount Jerome, one of the founders of the Catholic Convention of 1792, died Nov. 13th 1817, aged 77.
Also his wife Mary, died Dec. 1st 1823, aged 66.
Also his father Cornelius Keogh, died August 19th 1774, aged 66.
Also his mother Abigail Keogh, died Sept. 20th 1779, aged 66.
Also his daughter Mary Keogh, died April 20th 1804, aged 18.
John Keogh was a successful businessman, and became a member of the Catholic committee seeking alleviation of Penal Laws in 1790. He was a close friend of Theobald Wolfe Tone and following his imprisonment in 1798 the cause was taken up by Daniel O’Connell.

The Moore Grave, St Kevin's Park Photo:  © Michael Fisher

The Moore Grave, St Kevin’s Park Photo: © Michael Fisher

John Moore Esq. Formerly Barrack Master at Islandbridge, (in the County of) Dublin, died Dec. 17th 1825, aged 84 (years).
Also Anastasia Moore, alias Coda, his wife, died May 8th 1832, aged 68.
Also six of their children who died young and their daughter Ellen, died Feb. 4th 1846.
Deeply mourned by her brother, Thomas Moore, the bard of his much beloved country, Ireland.
The Moores lived at 12 Aungier Street, where they ran a grocery business. Thomas, the eldest of the Moore children, attended Trinity College with Robert Emmett. He was renowned for his poetry and music and was lauded by Byron, Scott and Wordsworth. Thomas Moore had the headstone here erected for his parents and sisters.

The Darcy Grave, St Kevin's Park Photo:  © Michael Fisher

The Darcy Grave, St Kevin’s Park Photo: © Michael Fisher

Belongs to John Darcy, Brewer, Usher’s St.
His father, Mathew Darcy, died August 6th 1824.
Also his mother, Mrs Mary Darcy, died March 30th 1814.
Also his eldest brother, Arthur Darcy, died Sept. 7th 1823.
John Darcy was a popular Catholic businessman who died in 1825. Such was the scandal when the rector at St Kevin’s refused to allow Catholic prayers be said at the graveside that Daniel O’Connell used it to effect legislation establishing cemeteries at Goldenbridge and Glasnevin.

The Joly Grave, St Kevin's Park Photo:  © Michael Fisher

The Joly Grave, St Kevin’s Park Photo: © Michael Fisher

Jasper Joly, died Nov. 9th 1823, aged 84.
Also his wife Mary, died Dec. 13th 1825, qged 84.
Also Catherine, wife of Charles Joly of Harcourt Tce. Died Feb. 27th 1858, aged 43. Also Charles Joly.
Jasper Joly was a Captain in the Irish Volunteers in 1779 and is said to have hidden Lord Edward Fitzgerald in a well in his garden while he was on the run from English forces.

Memorial to Archbishop of Cashel Dr Dermot O'Hurley in St Kevin's Park, Dublin Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Memorial to Archbishop of Cashel Dr Dermot O’Hurley in St Kevin’s Park, Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

BLESSED DERMOT O’HURLEY ARCHBISHOP OF CASHEL 1531-1584 (see article yesterday)

The Fr John Austin Grave, St Kevin's Park Photo:  © Michael Fisher

The Fr John Austin Grave, St Kevin’s Park Photo: © Michael Fisher

FR JOHN AUSTIN SJ GRAVE  (as transcribed by Bowden)
“To the memory of
Rev John Austin
Of the City of Dublin, a Priest,
And until the suppression of the Society of Jesus,
A professed Jesuit;
During six and thirty years
A pious learned and indefatigable labourer
In the vineyard (sic.) of the Lord.
Who after deserving well
Of the rich, whom he admonished,
Of the poor, whom he relieved,
Of youth, whom he instructed,
Of the orphan, to whom he was a father,
Of all ranks of men whom he,
By making himself all in all,
Was active in opening to Jesus Christ.
On the 29th September, 1784
Closed, in the 66 year of his age,
A life, worn out in the sight of the Lord.
Weeping for her faithful Minister,
On the 8th December 1786,
With grateful hand
Erected this monument”

The Fr John Austin Grave, St Kevin's Park Photo:  © Michael Fisher

The Fr John Austin Grave, St Kevin’s Park Photo: © Michael Fisher

John Austin was born in New Street in 1717. He was professed (as a priest) in 1750 and went on to establish a seminary in Saul’s Court, off Fishamble Street. He continued his preaching throughout the city for over thirty-five years and died aged 66 in 1784.

The Fr John Austin SJ Grave, St Kevin's Park Photo:  © Michael Fisher

The Fr John Austin SJ Grave, St Kevin’s Park Photo: © Michael Fisher

Perhaps the Parks Department along with the Jesuits might consider a tidy-up of the grave sign and surrounding this summer, in time for Fr Austin’s anniversary in September. It seems a while since any maintenance was undertaken.

Headstone with 'IHS' sign for grave of nJohn Feagan, Gentleman of Arron (Arran) Quay, Dublin, in St Kevin's Park.  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Headstone with ‘IHS’ sign for grave of nJohn Feagan, Gentleman of Arron (Arran) Quay, Dublin, in St Kevin’s Park. Photo: © Michael Fisher


Entrance to St Kevin's Park, Dublin Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Entrance to St Kevin’s Park, Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

Visiting a hidden-away part of Dublin city centre earlier this month near Aungier Street, I came across a little-known story about a significant event in the history of the Irish Catholic church 431 years ago on this day. By coincidence, June 20th 1584 was also a Saturday. Walking along Camden Row off Wexford Street, I came across a small green area behind a wall, with an interesting arch and gate at the entrance: Saint Kevin’s Park. I decided to take a look. There is a very helpful information board at the entrance, provided by the Parks Division of Dublin Corporation (now Dublin City Council).

Entrance to St Kevin's Park, Dublin Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Entrance to St Kevin’s Park, Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

This is the story of one of the Irish Catholic Martyrs during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. On 27th September 1992, he was beatified by Pope John Paul II, alongside sixteen other Irish martyrs, who share this feastday. Another martyr, Saint Oliver Plunkett, was beatified in 1920 and canonised in 1975.

Ruins of St Kevin's Church in St Kevin's Park, Dublin Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Ruins of St Kevin’s Church in St Kevin’s Park, Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

Inside the park you can see the ruins of Saint Kevin’s church. Beside the wall at the south-eastern corner, there is a stone memorial resembling a pulpit, with the bishop’s coat of arms on the front and on top, a bronze plaque with a dedication to Archbishop O’Hurley.

Memorial to Archbishop of Cashel Dr Dermot O'Hurley in St Kevin's Park, Dublin Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Memorial to Archbishop of Cashel Dr Dermot O’Hurley in St Kevin’s Park, Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher


Memorial plaque with story of Archbishop Dermot O'Hurley in St Kevin's Park, Dublin Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Memorial plaque with story of Archbishop Dermot O’Hurley in St Kevin’s Park, Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

Dr Dermot O’Hurley was born at, or near, Emly, Co. Tipperary, about 1530. His family were well off by the standards of the time and as a young man Dermot was sent abroad to study law at the University of Louvain, where he graduated with an M.A. in 1551. In 1581 Pope Gregory XIII asked Dermot O’Hurley, still a layman, to become the new Archbishop of Cashel and he accepted. He was ordained on 13th August 1581 and on 11th September that year was appointed Archbishop of Cashel. O’Hurley was aware that his appointment would mean life as a fugitive, ministering where possible, in dangerous conditions. In the summer of 1583 he arrived in Ireland. He never reached Cashel. While sheltering at Slane Castle he was recognised. By October he had been arrested and imprisoned in Dublin Castle. Believing that he was actively participating in a plot to overthrow the English rule in Ireland, Dermot O’Hurley was repeatedly interrogated and tortured. This included roasting the Archbishop’s legs in two boots filled with boiling pitch and oil. Throughout the torture he persistently

Memorial plaque with story of Archbishop Dermot O'Hurley in St Kevin's Park, Dublin Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Memorial plaque with story of Archbishop Dermot O’Hurley in St Kevin’s Park, Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

protested that his mission was one of peace and that he had no information to give to his captors. The authorities also resorted to bribery. This proved to be equally fruitless and an order for his execution was received from England on Saturday 20th June, 1584. Dermot O’Hurley was taken, very early on a midsummer morning from his cell in Ship Street, to Hoggin Green, near St Stephen’s Green, (then a swampy area with wildfowl) to be hanged. He got an opportunity to speak a few words to people who were in the Green that morning.  

‘I am a priest anointed and also a Bishop, although unworthy of so sacred dignities, and no cause could they find against me that might in the least degree deserve the pains of death, but merely my function of priesthood wherein they have proceeded against me in all points cruelly contrary to their own laws’. 

The Very Rev. Dean (Thomas H.) Kinane P.P., V.G. in his book “The Life of Dr O’Hurley Archbishop of Cashel” published in 1893 states ‘Mr William Fitzsimmons a citizen of Dublin (let his name be emblazoned in gold and held up to

Memorial plaque with story of Archbishop Dermot O'Hurley in St Kevin's Park, Dublin Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Memorial plaque with story of Archbishop Dermot O’Hurley in St Kevin’s Park, Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

the admiration of posterity) got private possession of the holy relic of the body of the martyr, lovingly and reverentially encased in a wooden urn, the best that could be procured under the circumstances and consigned it to it’s (sic.) mother earth in the ruinous church of St Kevin’. The Catholic Bishop of Ossory, David Rothe, in ‘Analecta Hibernia’ written about 1609 and published in Cologne in 1717, relates that the church was rebuilt ‘in view of the throng of pilgrims to the grave “in vicino oratorio” (in the vicinity of the oratory) of Saint Kevin and the remarkable occurrances (sic.) there’.  Rev. S. O Muirthuile  S.J. in ‘A Martyred Archbishop of Cashel’ (1935) writes ‘we may be sure that this holy place played its part in strengthening the faith of the Catholic people of Anglo-Irish Dublin during the glorious history of persecution. It was a strange disposition of God’s providence that he who had been consecrated to spend his life in the apostolate of Cashel became in death a most eloquent apostle of Dublin’. 

Memorial plaque with story of Archbishop Dermot O'Hurley in St Kevin's Park, Dublin Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Memorial plaque with story of Archbishop Dermot O’Hurley in St Kevin’s Park, Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

The above reference to Slane Castle caught my attention and I decided to investigate it further. The Castle referred to is not the present building, the home of the Conyngham family since 1703. The Castle was for many years the seat of the Flemings, an Anglo-Catholic family. The tenth Baron Slane Thomas Fleming (died 1601) was a member of the Parliament of Ireland of 1585. He was the son of James Fleming, a grandson of James Fleming, 7th Baron Slane.

An entrance to the current Slane Castle, Co. Meath Photo:  © Michael Fisher

An entrance to the current Slane Castle, Co. Meath Photo: © Michael Fisher

His mother was Ismay Dillon, daughter of Sir Bartholomew Dillon, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland. He succeeded to the barony after the death of his cousin James Fleming, 9th Baron Slane. He was the only noble to serve with Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex against Turlough Luineach O’Neill, the ruler of Ulster, in March 1574. He was one of the leaders of the opposition to the policies of Sir John Perrot, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in the 1580s. His relative the thirteenth Baron Slane was (Catholic) Archbishop of Dublin, a Franciscan priest who, like O’Hurley, had studied at Louvain.

Coat of arms of Archbishop Dermot O'Hurley of Cashel on memorial in St Kevin's Park, Dublin Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Coat of arms of Archbishop Dermot O’Hurley of Cashel on memorial in St Kevin’s Park, Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

The episcopal motto for Archbishop O’Hurley was “Ardente Fide” (burning, or ardent faith) and the coat of arms forms part of the memorial in the park. So on this anniversary let us remember him and the other Irish martyrs who died for their faith. Semper et ubique fidelis, in the words of our school motto in Dublin.


Caitriona Balfe: official photo from www.OutlanderTVNews.com

Caitriona Balfe: official photo from http://www.OutlanderTVNews.com


Michael Fisher  Northern Standard  Thursday 28th May p.1 and p.2

Caitriona Balfe who is currently filming a second television series of ‘Outlander’ in Scotland was in Dublin last weekend for the Irish Film and Television Academy film and drama awards. The Monaghan actress, who is from Tydavnet, began a very successful career in modelling at the age of 19. She featured in advertising campaigns for many top fashion brands and graced the covers of magazines such as Vogue and Elle. In 2009 Caitriona returned to her initial career choice in drama. She moved from New York to Los Angeles. spending her first year in the city taking acting classes. She appeared in the films Super 8, as the protagonist’s mother, Now You See Me, as Michael Caine’s character’s wife, and Escape Plan as the CIA lawyer that hires Sylvester Stallone’s character. In 2012 she portrayed Alex #34 in The Beauty Inside, a social film divided into six episodes which narrates the story of a man named Alex (Topher Grace) who wakes up in a different body every day. The following year she starred in the music videos for First Fires by British musician Bonobo, and for Chloroform by French band Phoenix. The actress was part of the main cast of the Warner Brothers web series H+: The Digital Series, in which she played Breanna Sheehan, one of the executives of a biotechnology company that develops an implanted computer which allows people to be connected to the Internet 24 hours a day.

In September 2013 Caitriona was cast as the lead character, Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser, on the Starz television series Outlander, based on the novels written by Diana Gabaldon. The series which was filmed in Scotland premiered in August 2014. She plays a mid-20th-century nurse who is transported back in time to the war-torn mid-18th-century Scottish Highlands. Both the series and her performance have received critical acclaim.

In December 2014 Entertainment Weekly named Caitriona Balfe as one of its twelve Breakout Stars of 2014.

In January it was announced that she had been added to the cast of the film Money Monster, directed by Jodie Foster and starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts. She will play the director of Public Relations of a company whose stock bottoms out, causing a man to lose all of his savings and subsequently take hostages on a live TV show.

In March 2015 she received a Saturn Award nomination for Best Actress on Television for her work in Outlander, the second series of which is currently being filmed. The following month she was named one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People in the World”.

Caitriona was one of four to be nominated for Best Actress in a Lead Role Drama in the Irish Film and Television Academy Awards. The award went to Charlie Murphy for her performance in the RTÉ television drama Love/Hate. The Academy also announced that Caitriona would be among four talented new actors and actresses nominated for the Rising Star Award, sponsored by the Irish Film Board. The judges decided that the award should go to actress Sarah Greene for her performance in the film Noble. Last year’s winner was Jamie Dornan and Michael Fassbender won in 2009.

Caitriona was also invited to be a guest presenter at the IFTA awards ceremony last Sunday at the Mansion House in Dublin. Veteran broadcaster Gay Byrne complimented her on her appearance and her voice. The event was broadcast by TV3 and was hosted by Caroline Morahan.

Her parents, former Garda Sergeant Jim Balfe and his wife Anne, told the Northern Standard they were both delighted at the progress Caitriona had made in the world of film and television, and she had worked hard to achieve her objectives. At their home in Mullantimore they showed me a painting by Caitriona. She was then a 16 year-old student at secondary school in Monaghan, and her artwork won first prize in a Garda credit union competition in 1995, an early sign of her tremendous talent.


Alicia Ehrecke of Inver College, Carrickmacross, receives a 'Very Highly Commended' Hot Press award for her short story from the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Christy Burke Photo: Hot Press

Alicia Ehrecke of Inver College, Carrickmacross, receives a ‘Very Highly Commended’ Hot Press award for her short story from the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Christy Burke Photo: Hot Press

Northern Standard: Thursday 7th May  Carrickmacross News

Alicia Ehrecke from Inver College in Carrickmacross, whose short story was published in The Northern Standard last week, has received one of the top awards in the prestigious Write Here, Write Now competition, run by Hot Press magazine.  Her entry ‘All the Same’ was Very Highly Commended in the Second-Level students’ category.

The day after receiving the award, 17 year-old Alicia returned to her home at Cottbus (near Berlin) in Germany. She had been studying at Inver College since last September as an exchange student.

The Principal Roddy Minogue said everyone at the College was delighted with her success, and he felt it would provide an inspiration to other students. He said Alicia had deserved recognition for her work as she had been a very good student who participated well in all classes and her attendance record during the eight months she spent there was excellent.

At the Mansion House in Dublin, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Christy Burke presented awards to Alicia and to the other winners. On the final day of the One City One Book festival, which this year celebrated one of the great modern Irish sagas – The Barrytown Trilogy by Roddy Doyle –  Hot Press, in association with Dublin City Libraries’ One City, One Book Festival, revealed Alicia as among the very best new, student writing talents in the country.

Alicia Ehrecke, Inver College, Carrickmacross  Photo: HotPress

Alicia Ehrecke, Inver College, Carrickmacross Photo: HotPress

Forty-four young student writers were invited to ‘Build Your Own Barrytown’. Before the awards ceremony, the shortlisted students were treated to a brilliantly insightful interview, as Roisin Dwyer of Hote Press quizzed Man Booker Prize winner Roddy Doyle on  the craft of writing. The Barrytown Trilogy author was a member of the judging panel, which also comprised IMPAC Award winner Kevin Barry, Rooney Prize winner Claire Kilroy, Hot Press editor Niall Stokes and composer Julie Feeney, who was also at The Mansion House to meet those shortlisted. The public had their say too, adding their voices to the mix, with Waterford’s Rose Keating receiving the special Readers’ Award.

The Write Here, Write Now student writing competition saw an instant and enormous reaction from young talent across the country. Thousands of entries were whittled down to a shortlist of 44, across the four categories of the competition. While the number of entries was huge, even more importantly – in both the Second and Third Level categories – the judges were enormously impressed by the superb quality of the submissions.

“Concerns have been expressed that young people are less interested now in the power of the written word. On the contrary, on this evidence, there is a new breed coming through with the ability to write in a way that is genuinely original, smart, powerfully contemporary and emotionally engaging,” said Hot Press editor Niall Stokes. “Hot Press has always been about supporting emerging Irish creativity – which is why a competition like Write Here, Write Now is so important to us. However, it is more important than ever for us to ensure that this latent talent is channelled effectively, so hopefully today’s event will provide the encouragement to Alicia and other remarkable young Monaghan writers to press on, work hard and develop their potential over the coming years.”

Roddy Doyle himself also gave his verdict, saying that some of the submissions as “frighteningly good – surprising, sharp, sometimes chilling, confident.”

“It is enormously reassuring to see the depth of young writing talent, which is reflected in the Write Here Write Now competition,” said Dublin City Librarian, Margaret Hayes. “Literature is so important to the life of a nation and indeed, as Roddy Doyle has illustrated so well with The Barrytown Trilogy, to the life of a city. Dublin City Libraries are at the heart of the drive to ensure that we never forget the value of reading. Not only that: one of our core objectives, through the Dublin UNESCO City of Literature Office, is to encourage writers – which is why we are so proud to have been involved in the success of  the Write Here, Write Now competition.”

The competition was supported by Dublin City Libraries, Dublin City Council, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Eason and Microsoft Office 365. The overall winners’ prizes included an internship during 2015 with Hot Press, the country’s leading music and lifestyle magazine, as well as a €250 cash prize, a Toshiba Click Mini and a Microsoft Sculpt Comfort Mouse. They also received an e-Reader, courtesy of Eason and will have their winning entry published in a special issue of Hot Press, potentially kick-starting their career in the best possible fashion. In addition, 22 students received a one-year subscription to Microsoft Office 365, an invaluable tool for students and creative types!

All the winning entries including Alicia’s can now be read at http://www.hotpress.com/writeherewritenow.


Kate Beagan at The Doorway Gallery Photo © Michael Fisher

Kate Beagan at The Doorway Gallery Photo © Michael Fisher


Kate Beagan's 'House on the Corner'  Photo © Michael Fisher

Kate Beagan’s ‘House on the Corner’     €1200     Photo © Michael Fisher

MICHAEL FISHER Northern Standard Thursday 16th April p.34  Carrickmacross News

Kate Beagan's 'Storm on the Horizon'   Photo © Michael Fisher

Kate Beagan’s ‘Storm on the Horizon’     RESERVED €1800     Photo © Michael Fisher

When the Northern Standard visited Kate Beagan in January at her studio in Donaghmoyne overlooking Manaan Castle golf course, she was busy preparing to exhibit her work in London and Dublin. She concentrates on painting contemporary landscapes, inspired by scenes close to where she lives.

Kate Beagan's 'Perbeach in Winter' Photo © Michael Fisher

Kate Beagan’s ‘Perbeach in Winter’     €2600     Photo © Michael Fisher

Old houses and fields provide the inspiration for much of her work. As she spoke to me three months ago, she was working on a large canvas. So it was a delight to be able to see the finished work, ‘Perbeach in Winter’ displayed prominently at the Doorway Gallery in Dublin at the opening of her solo exhibition last Thursday.

Kate Beagan's 'A Shaft of Light'  Photo © Michael Fisher

Kate Beagan’s ‘A Shaft of Light’     SOLD €800   Photo © Michael Fisher

The gallery at South Frederick Street was opened last year by Deirdre Carroll and Denise Donnelly.

Owners of The Doorway Gallery, Deirdre Carroll and Denise Donnelly Photo © Michael Fisher

Owners of The Doorway Gallery, Deirdre Carroll and Denise Donnelly Photo © Michael Fisher

‘I came upon a Place’ features 33 of Kate’s colourful works, with prices ranging from €350 for a small canvas up to €2600 for the large painting. Among the visitors on the opening night were her sister Karen Carleton, manager of the Mill Theatre in Dundrum and the artist and poet Roisin Duffy from Sreenty near Carrickmacross.

Kate Beagan and her sister Karen Carleton Photo © Michael Fisher

Kate Beagan and her sister Karen Carleton Photo © Michael Fisher

Some of Kate’s previous works have been sold to private collectors. Others have gone to clients in the public sector, including the Office of Public Works, and the business sector. Kate went to the St Louis Convent in Carrickmacross. She went to art college in Galway but did not finish her degree.

'After the Storm' by Kate Beagan Photo © Michael Fisher

‘After the Storm’ by Kate Beagan      SOLD €1800      Photo © Michael Fisher

She emigrated to Australia, where she spent ten years before returning to Ireland and took up her brushes again. Kate is married to Kevin and they have two daughters in their early 20s and a son aged 17. Another solo exhibition is due to be held in Mullingar in September.

'The Way Home' by Kate Beagan for Jack & Jill Foundation Auction Photo: Zoe Kelly facebook

‘The Way Home’ by Kate Beagan for Jack & Jill Foundation Auction Photo: Zoe Kelly facebook

Kate was one of two County Monaghan artists who contributed to the ‘Pigs on Parade’ in March in aid of Jonathan Irwin’s childrens’ charity, the Jack and Jill foundation. Her pig ‘The Way Home’ was sold at auction for €950.

'Baba Muc' by Niamh O'Connor for Jack & Jill Foundation Auction

‘Baba Muc’ by Niamh O’Connor for Jack & Jill Foundation Auction

Niamh O’Connor a friend of hers and fellow artist from Ballinode also created a pig ‘Baba Muc’ that fetched €600.

Kate’s latest exhibition runs until Thursday April 30th so if you are visiting Dublin, it’s worth visiting the Doorway Gallery, which is close to Trinity College and Leinster House.

Opening hours from 10:30am to 6:30pm Monday to Saturday.

Her pictures, at least fourteen of which have already been sold and one reserved, can also be viewed on the gallery’s website:


Kate Beagan's Paintings at The Doorway Gallery, Dublin  Photo © Michael Fisher

Kate Beagan’s Paintings at The Doorway Gallery, Dublin Photo © Michael Fisher

Kate Beagan's 'A Wet Morning'  Photo © Michael Fisher

Kate Beagan’s ‘A Wet Morning’     €800     Photo © Michael Fisher

Kate Beagan and Joseph Murphy, Dublin, at The Doorway Gallery exhibition Photo © Michael Fisher

Kate Beagan and Joseph Murphy, Dublin, at The Doorway Gallery exhibition Photo © Michael Fisher