Isla's poem about Irish hero Michael Collins goes viral

Isla Corbett in Brisbane

A poem about Micheal Collins written by a 12-year-old Irish girl, Isla Corbett, who lives in Brisbane, has gone viral online and she will be interviewed about the experience on Cork radio station 96FM and 103FM tomorrow.

Isla penned The Ballad of Michael Collins for a school English assignment at The Gap High School. The class had been asked to write about their hero. Isla’s teacher awarded her an A for her efforts.

Isla was born in Cork and her family moved to Australia in 2011, first to Sydney and then settling in Brisbane. The family moved back to Ireland for several years to care for Isla’s elderly grandparents.

Isla took a great interest in Irish history at school in Whitegate, County Cork. Her great-grandfather and great-granduncles had all fought alongside Michael Collins and served in the Free State Army under his leadership.

Despite being just 12 years old, Isla shows great promise as a poet and her poem has reached more than 50,000 people all over the world on Facebook. It was also shared by Micheal Collins House, a museum dedicated to the life and times of the revolutionary, soldier and politician, in Clonakilty, County Cork.

You can hear Isla’s interview at 11.30am Irish time (9.30pm Queensland time) on December 17 at www.96fm.ie

The Ballad of Michael Collins

1916 was the start, the war in full commence,
When British troops were swarming in to slaughter and dispense,
Against the Empire’s daunting might, Ireland stood no chance,
When Michael Collins heard the news and came to take a stance.

He joined the Easter Rising, allied by Plunkett n’ Pearse,
They seized the grandest buildings to face a battle fierce,
The British were enraged and the Rebels they engaged,
Using brutal force, war on Dublin had been waged.

Furious were the citizens, their home had been destroyed,
Their relatives deceased and their souls devoid of joy,
The once thriving streets, now blown up and aflame,
And so they thought the Rebels were the only ones to blame.

Cornered up with guns, the rebellion’s state was bleak,
Arrested by the British with their spirits far from weak,
The cruel retribution saw 2,000 sent to camps,
And the brave leaders’ fates were sealed harshly with a stamp.

15 killed by firing squad, without a trial or care,
Connolly so wounded he was shot tied in a chair,
With the barbarism shown, Irish anger had arose,
And turned the former traitors into national heroes.

By the time of Collin’s release, plans were brewing in his head,
Of how he could prevent Ireland’s suffering and dread,
He motivated an army and beat the British crown,
Guerrilla tactics he invented were used to bring them down.

Dáil Éireann was established, but it came with a price,
Half a country only, the rich north the Brits would slice,
Civil war engulfed the land, Collins ambushed with a gun,
Ireland’s greatest hero shot down at 31.

1916 was the start, the war in full commence,
When British troops were swarming in to slaughter and dispense,
He’d fought strong like a lion, saving Ireland Collins swore,
He hadn’t won the battle, but he had won the war.

Family appeals for help for car-crash victim Seán

Seán Ryan Shiner is a valued member of the Melbourne Shamrocks and the Golden/Kilfeacle GAA clubs.

An Irish family has launched an urgent appeal for funds towards the treatment of a Tipperary man who was left with life-changing injuries after a car crash in Melbourne.

Seán Ryan Shiner was involved in a horrific car accident on November 21. It has left him with life-changing injuries.

A passionate hurler, Seán had to have emergency surgery to try to save his right foot, which proved unsuccessful. He had to have his foot amputated and plates put into his left hip.

His parents have already flown out to be by his side while his undergoes treatment and rehabilitation at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. Seán will need to undergo a number of additional surgeries in the coming weeks and months.

Seán’s sister Denise said: “Seán is a true sportsman. He has played across many disciplines with different clubs over the years, endearing himself to club mates and competitors alike. Those who know him will have seen him on rugby and football pitches but we all know that it is hurling and, of course, greyhounds that are his big loves.”

Seán had originally been planning to spend the next five years living and working in Australia but those plans now look likely to change. He will likely need to remain in Australia while his recovery continues and the Shiner family are appealing for help in funding the coasts of his ongoing care and rehab.

Seán’s family say they are “grateful and blessed” that he is still here with them and added: “We are hoping to raise adequate money to help with the enormous expenses that he will incur in the coming weeks, months and beyond to help with his rehabilitation. “

If you can help, go to the Seán Ryan Shiner Injury Fund page on Go Fund Me.

Former Shebeen manager and Aussie resident Terry has living wake

Terry Murphy’s living wake video, as shared on Justin McNulty MLA’s Facebook page.

Imagine having a huge living wake, a funeral where all your friends and family come together to celebrate your life and say goodbye while you’re still alive?

That was exactly what Terry Murphy, a former resident in Australia who ran a famous Shebeen bar in Lislea, County Armagh, did over the weekend. Terry had been recently diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Justin McNulty MLA, left, with Terry Murphy.

On Saturday night, he had a living wake in the bar that he used to run, and around 500 people came along to pay their respects to him. There was plenty of food and drink on the night and local newspaper The Cross Examiner reports that “the craic was 90”.

John Egan, a friend of Terry’s, told the newspaper: “He wanted all his old friends and everyone he knew to come along. Every room was full of music and craic. The man himself was there and in good form.”

He added: “That man woke up this morning knowing he is loved by so many and got to see his send-off.”

Meanwhile, local MLA Justin McNulty, speaking to Joe.ie, said: “Terry is a character and there is widespread affection for him locally in Lislea, in South Armagh, in Newry, and in Australia where he lived for a time.”

Put your family name on display at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin

You can add your family to The Power of a Name exhibition at the museum or online.

Calling all descendants of Irish emigrants to Australia. EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin is offering you the chance to take part in their The Power of a Name exhibition by adding your emigrant ancestor’s name to their Emigrant Wall.

This new, interactive exhibition will be seen by visitors from all over the world and invites you to bring their name home. The museum honours Irish emigrants by telling their stories and keeping their memories alive.

Patrick Greene, CEO and Museum Director of EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, said: “Every person who left Ireland is part of our emigration history.

“The life they started in a new country is part of the impact of the Irish abroad and this exhibition aims to pay tribute to them and spotlight a powerful part of their story – their name.”

He added: “These journeys were not taken lightly and this exhibition marks the decisions they made to leave and celebrates the journeys they made and the lives they went on to build.”

The Power of a Name exhibition is now open at the museum in Dublin’s Docklands.

If you would like to take part and add your Irish ancestors who emigrated to Australia, simply fill in their names, where they emigrated from and the year they left on the online form by clicking here.

To learn more, visit www.epicchq.com.

Epic Ned Kelly movie set to premiere on Australia Day

Oscar winner Russell Crowe starring in True History of the Kelly Gang.

An epic fictionalised telling of the story of Irish-Australian bushranger and outlaw Ned Kelly, True History of the Kelly Gang, will open in select Australian cinemas on January 9, just 17 days before it makes its Australia Day television premiere on streaming service Stan.

The cast features BAFTA award-winner George MacKay as Ned Kelly. Nicholas Hoult, Essie Davis, Charlie Hunnam and Russell Crowe co-star. 

Inspired by Peter Carey’s Booker prize-winning novel, Justin Kurzel’s film shatters the mythology of the notorious icon to reveal the essence behind the life of Ned Kelly.

Spanning the younger years of Ned’s life to the time leading up to his death, the film explores the blurred boundaries between what is bad and what is good, and the motivations for the demise of its hero. Youth and tragedy collide in the Kelly Gang, and at the beating heart of this tale is the fractured and powerful love story between a mother and a son.

Justin Kurzel, director and producer said: “I am thrilled in the boldness and daring by Stan to embrace our ambitious film. For Australians to see our take on Peter Carey’s extraordinary book in cinemas and on Stan over the summer is very exciting. I hope as many eyes as possible get the opportunity to see a film the makers are deeply proud of.”

It will be released into Irish cinemas on February 28, 2020.

Brisbane Irish are digging deep to help drought-affected farmers

Brisbane Irish SEQ Drought Run

A group of Irish friends living in Brisbane are planning to do a Christmas drought run to help farmers in the Southern Downs.

Organiser Richard Lenihan said: “Australia is currently facing its worst drought to date and farmers in rural towns will face their toughest summer yet, if it doesn’t rain in the next few months.

“So, we as a group of friends living in Brisbane, together with your help, have decided we want to help where we can this Christmas.”

The group will concentrate their efforts around the town of Stanthorpe which is facing a critical water shortage.

Richard added: “We are going straight to the front lines, personally handing out donations from a dedicated collection yard and heading out to a few farms that are doing it worst, meeting with the farmers first-hand and seeing the affects of this drought with our own eyes.

“We are going ensure that every single cent raised raised and donations made are going straight to those doing it extra tough.”

If you would like to help, you can donate at the group’s Go Fund Me! page here.

The group is also looking for local businesses to come forward with their services. They are looking for trucks, trailers or work utes, plus drivers, to cart supplies on a Saturday from Brisbane to Stanthorpe. They also need donations of water and animal fodder, as well as gift cards which can be distributed to needy families.

For more information, go to the group’s Facebook page here.

Letterkenny museum puts farmers’ gold find on display

Tullydonnell Gold Hoard which dates from the Bronze Age.

The heaviest intact prehistoric gold hoard ever found in Ireland has gone on public display at the Donegal County Museum in Letterkenny.

The four large gold rings were found last year by farmers in Tullydonnell lower in east Donegal.

One of the farmers, Norman Witherow, said they were just finishing up working on drainage in a field when they discovered the rings beneath a stone.

He said he did not think much of them at first and put them aside, but showed them to a goldsmith friend some days later. He was advised to contact the National Museum in Dublin and the rings were brought to the capital that night.

Now, Donegal County Museum has brought the Tullydonnell Lower Gold Hoard back home to Donegal, where it will be on display until Saturday, 30 November.

A spokesperson for Donegal County Museum said: “This exceptional gold hoard, dating from the Late Bronze Age (1200 to 800BC), was discovered by chance in June 2018, when farmers took the opportunity of a dry summer to improve drainage at the base of a field at Tullydonnell Lower in East Donegal. They uncovered a small pit covered by a boulder which contained four solid gold overlapping rings. Together these objects weigh over 4kg (8.8lbs). They are the heaviest intact prehistoric gold hoard ever found in Ireland.”


The museum is encouraging people to take the opportunity to view these national treasures. Admission is free and all are welcome.