Friday, February 21, 2014


An Evening at the Atlanta History Center

By Doc Lawrence

ATLANTA-This year many of the most prominent sites on the planet will be decked out in green on St. Patrick’s Day. This was announced during an evening gathering at Atlanta’s renowned History Center during a soiree forever known as “Jump into Ireland,” a lavishly entertaining event promoting Ireland as a highly desirable travel destination.

Who would have thought that the gorgeous island with its friendly people would have to promote itself to Americans? “We have so much more now to offer than meets the eye,” one official told me as I was enjoying a glass of Jameson Irish Whiskey.
The Atlantic Coast of Ireland

The evening was emceed by  masters the art of good humor and storytelling, an attribute that is part of the Irish DNA. Music was from Atlanta’s own Buddy O’Reilly Band (“Born in a pub and raised on concert and festival stage”), complete with an Irish step dancer who provided lessons to some daring audience members. Wielding fiddles and wooden flute, uilleann pipes (Irish bagpipes), guitar, bodhran, (Irish drum) harmonica and banjo, the band kept things festive in anticipation of things soon to come on St. Patrick’s Day.

Waterford Crystal was showcased along with Jameson, the dominant beverage served to guests. A tour of the Irish Atlantic Cost and cities like Dublin became a virtual “vacation” for a few moments during a lovely evening down South.

This is the year during the Civil War Sesquicentennial when Atlanta commemorates the siege and Battle of Atlanta, the burning of the city and the beginning of the March to the Sea. With these events, there are profound connections to Ireland and her people who settled here.

The Buddy O'Rielly Band
150 years ago, Father Thomas O’Reilly, an Irish priest and native of county Cavan,  demanded in a face-to-face confrontation with General Sherman that the churches of Atlanta not be destroyed. Sherman backed down. The only portrait of Father O’Reilly is housed in the Atlanta History Center and a monument honoring him sits alongside Atlanta’s City Hall.

Another native of Ireland, Confederate General Patrick Cleburne was as a warrior and strategist, a major force in the Atlanta Campaign and the 1864 Battle of Atlanta.

Atlanta's Legendary Irish-American

Atlanta, with its heritage that includes the immortal Scarlett O’Hara, is the perfect place to begin a jump into Ireland. You can do this daily, non-stop, from our International airport.

More about Father O’Reilly:

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