Spending most of Saturday, August 5th with "the Great Dogs of Ireland", perhaps 3,000 visitors came to our area, at the Dublin Ohio Irish Festival.
It is the second largest Irish festival in the USA.
To see one wolfhound for the first time is something to behold, to see seven together is quite a scene. The majestic power of these Irish natives is evident, as well as their gentleness and friendliness to complete strangers. Offering their heads for accepted petting and willingness to accomodate all with aplomb, and just be part of the crowd.
Doesn't it reflect in the Irish immigrants as well?
Wearing the "Legalize The Irish .ORG" shirt with them stirred questions. I gladly educated enquirers as to the plight of immigrants today coming from Eire.
I asked what county your ancestors came from and explained, they couldn't do that now! Were they terrorists back then? Were they hopeful to come to America to prosper and raise their families, and become part of the great quilt of America?
I explained that that has not changed in 2006, and handed them the congressional contacts and flyer with Presidents Kennedy and Reagan and explained their families would not be welcomed TODAY.
Hopefully they will follow through with calls and faxes to their representatives.
Also at the festival, our hurling club was giving demonstrations of that grandest of Irish sports. Perhaps 1000 came to ask questions, and give the sliotar a good whack into the net. Noticing my and a fellow hurlers shirts, questions were again raised.
I called over 3 native Irish lads, and asked , "do you think they represent a threat to America ?"
Prior to this the lads were explaining the art of swinging the hurley at the sliotar(ball) with that great brogue of Wexford and Tipperary . Point made, and explained the need to contact their reresentatives to work at this cause.
The night before the festival, I met with our Ancient Order of Hibernians president Mike McKenzie, Mark Heffernan Div.2 Akron, Ohio. The next day he was departing for Ireland. His stop at Kennedy airport would have a layover for 2 hours before departing. He assured me of wearing the "Legalize the Irish" at the airport during this time, and would follow up with our members upon his return to the actions we must all do.
Past Chair, Freedom for all Ireland
Ancient Order of Hibernians
Mark Heffernan Div 2, Akron, Ohio
Past Chairman, GAA Akron Celtic Guards Hurling Club