Lowell’s Irish Cultural Week is underway

Following a beautiful Mass at St. Patrick’s Church, several dozen hardy souls braved the frigid temperatures and biting wind to process from the church to Lowell City Hall for a short ceremony celebrating the start of the 34th annual Irish Cultural Week.

c6lxmmmuoaajyygMayor Edward J. Kennedy and State Senator Eileen M. Donoghue read proclamations from the city and state, respectively, inside the atrium at city hall. Eileen Sullivan, a member of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 1wreath, sang the Irish national anthem before the group headed outdoors for the official raising of the Irish flag, performed by Irishman of the Year Ray Ralls.

The festivities concluded with the group walking to Cardinal O’Connell Parkway to place a wreath at the Irish monument.

Visit LowellIrish.com to view a full list of the week’s activities, including the annual Dinner Dance at Lenzi’s on Saturday, March 11, at which the Lucky Leprechaun drawing, featuring a grand prize of $5,000, will be drawn. On Sunday, March 12, the traditional Ceili will be held at the Lowell Lodge of Elks.

To purchase tickets to the dinner dance ($38) or the Lucky Leprechaun drawing ($25), contact Lowell AOH Division 19 president Steve Daly at (978) 204-4723 or steve-daly@comcast.net.

Tranquility by the Sea

I recently returned from an 11-day journey to Ireland, my first ever trip to this beautiful country. From the moment I stepped off the plane I was entranced, joking with my family that if I hadn’t already purchased a ticket back to Boston I’d be nowhere to be found on departure day.

Our trip was a whirlwind of activity – in fact, we tried to do so much that I think we missed out on a lot, if that makes sense. We went from Blarney to Dublin to Belfast to Kingscourt, Cavan, to Galway and, finally, Bunratty before flying out of Shannon Airport. There were so many places in between that I’d have loved to discover but simply ran out of time.

On our last full day in Ireland, after stopping at the Cliffs of Moher, we came across the beautiful ruins of Kilmacrehy Church and its cemeteries, just east of Liscannor in County Clare. I was struck by its raw beauty, the tranquility disrupted only by the occasional mooing of cows in the neighboring field and the distance sound of the waves on Kilmacrehy Beach.

There are literally hundreds of these cemeteries dotting the Irish countryside. I hope when – not if – I return I’ll be able to explore more of them. Below are some of the photos taken during our stop at Kilmacrehy.

President, AOH Lowell Division 19