A Television Interview.

My knees are still shaking after my first interview, as shown on  Our Community Forum.

I would like to thank Yantee Slobert for his calming influence before I went into the Cardinal Television studio, and the capable hands of Cecil Felton, who had to maintain the calm. This was Tim’s first tv interview: I think he has found a new home.



Amish Country and the Delaware.


And I managed to achieve a balance between work and play. I visited my Uncle Christy and cousin, Peggy in New Jersey and we did two day-trips.

Washing day, Amish country, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania


The first involved a two-hour drive to Lancaster County to see the Amish community.

My distant-cousin, Bobby Farrell met us and took us around the area. We had a wonderful afternoon in his company.

Monday was washing day and we feasted our eyes on lines of laundry. They were impressive.







The countryside is beautiful, undulating country, with farmsteads stretched before us.  We also had a feast at the “Good and Plenty.”

Amish farmstead

The following day, we visited New Hope, on the Delaware. New Hope is gorgeous, reminiscent of an old English town. And there was a breeze from the Delaware. I had sympathy with George Washington, when he had to make a difficult crossing not far from where I stood.


And there was a very pretty grist mill, I cannot remember where…


Susan B. Anthony National Historic Landmark Home, Rochester, NY.


Again, with Dr Tim Madigan leading the way, I got the wonderful opportunity to visit the Rochester home of the legendary Civil Rights leader, Susan B. Anthony. Rochester was her home for forty of her most political years. She held common cause with Frederick Douglass, and they were long-time friends.

Ann, standing before a poster depicting the connection between Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass.

Anthony, who braved hostile mobs, being hung in effigy and having her imaged dragged through the streets, devoted her life to abolition and suffrage. She was an impassioned advocate of the 13th Ammendment outlawing slavery. She followed this with campaigns for Black and women’s full citizenship.

But visiting her home and taking the tour was a revelation to me.

I walked through the hallway, climbed the stairs and paused before the photographs; this brought home to me the balance she achieved in her life.

She loved her home, she loved to cook and sew and her home was also a well-oiled machine, where she gave direction, space and opportunity to highly organised campaigns.

I was delighted to experience it.

Frederick Douglass’ plot, Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester, NY



Any trip to Rochester would be incomplete without visiting Mount Hope Cemetery,  site of Frederick Douglass’ family plot.  And again, thanks to Dr Tim Madigan, my intrepid guide.


Ann, being shown the way to the Douglass plot

I visited before I read any descriptive brochures and was immediately impressed with the setting. It is beautiful. Carpeted with a perfect covering of snow, the undulating ground, trees and winding roads suggested peace, mystery and beauty. I could easily agree with the brochure’s assessment of this American Victorian Cemetery: “one of the most beautiful and enchanting cemeteries in America.”

The city of Rochester purchased an initial 54 acres in 1836, and it now stands at 196 acres with more that 370,000 people buried here.


Amongst these many people with their many stories are two of significance to my work: Frederick Douglass and his friend and associate, Susan B. Anthony.


And  abutting the roadway, is the Douglass plot.



Conference Proceedings


The Frederick Douglass and Ireland Conference embraced the academic and wider Rochester communities.  College President, Dr Donald Bain welcomed the conference delegates and later hosted a luncheon. Academic papers discussed the historical and literary contexts of Douglass’ Irish connections and sat comfortably beside recitations of a Douglass speech and two dramatic presentations of Douglass’ words. These were provided by the wonderful students from School #12’s Frederick Douglass Club, under the capable hands of their advisor, Michelle Garcia-Daniels and David Anderson, Community Scholar in Residence at Nazareth College, Rochester.

The SJFC College news posted an account of the proceedings.

Just back from Rochester, New York. Feast your eyes …


Conference Schedule


A Diversion …


My thesis is pockmarked with diversions. Actually, I am glad that most of these have happened because it has focused my thesis and made it deeper, richer. This post gives an example of one, non-academic diversion; let me explain. My eldest child, Michael enjoys kayaking. He participated in the intervarsities kayaking competitions in Castlebar, Co. Mayo earlier in the year. There is a poster to summarise the event. Speaking as a parent, it is really bad when there is a poster!

Michael is under the upturned blue boat, before the fall....

My son is the paddler under the dark blue kayak. The one on top of the fall. Before the descent.  And there were stitches, some sticky tape and a broken nose …

My daughter also enjoys kayaking. She was also at the intervarsities that weekend. And she didn’t recognise her brother after the injuries. And they are now doing their exams at their respective colleges …