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The Craic Downunder

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Bushfires on Hannaford family premises.


The fishing fleet in Kilmore Quay,  Ce na Cille Moire, take another battering during a winter storm this Week. Meanwhile the residents of Kilmore, Victoria, Australia, are slowly recovering from the devastating bushfires of late 2012.  Amazingly, the lovely rural village of Kilmore, Victoria, was named by settlers from Kilmore,  County Wexford. It even hosts the famous Assumption College, arguably the best Australian Rules Football college in the entire country. Founded, you will be surprised to know, by Irish priests.  Oh, and Kilmore, Victoria, also boasts a wonderful turf racing course and a lovely trotting track.  A true Wexford heaven, perhaps.

I am only amazed by what those emigrant settlers saw in common between the two towns. Kilmore, Victoria is miles from the sea, and, unfortunately, suffers from severe bushfires from time to time.  Kolmore, Wexford, by contrast has not, on my information, suffered many fire hazards in recent years, but has a fishing fleet, for which, only brave men may apply. All the same, the links between Ireland and Australia are historically strong, and if anything, in recent years, are becoming even stronger.

My name is Marcus MacPherson, and I will be bringing you a column, named as you can see, The Craic, which examines the strong links between Ireland and Australia. I will also study the huge impact Irish emigrants had in Australia, their rebellions, their achievements and their notoriety. We will discover how, for example, the Irish themselves, alone, managed to split Australia into two warring camps during the football season. Why Australia is clearly split into two camps, the Australian Football League, who effectively absorbed the GAA in Australia, and the northern states who still stubbornly play rugby.  And how Association football, soccer, was, in the long run the big loser.

Oh, and in case you think this is a sports column, we will also interview friends who have lived in both countries, find out about their travels and who they have met. Name dropping IS invited in your feedback. I discovered, during my years backpacking and working overseas, that the old saying, The truth is often stranger than fiction, to be only too true.

Next week we will be examining the effect of the Irish immigrants on the government of my home state, Victoria, and how they secured universal suffrage and womens’ voting rights seventy years before many in the Old World were entitled to even speak about politics, let alone vote.

Now be brave in Ireland, I know the winter is long and cold, but stay solid with The Liberal, a warm drink and a kind heart! Will speak with you all again next week,  slan go foill my friends!


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