September was beckoned in to the sound of Irish celebration. Friday 7th September marked the first Tip O’Neill Award, received by Niall O’Dowd, who was also presented with a bottle of The Wild Geese Limited Edition Irish Whiskey.
The award has been established to commemorate the life and achievements of US Speaker Tip O’Neill and celebrate the achievements of members of the diaspora who exceed expectations in the their chosen field. Much like Tip O’Neill did.
Eighty Irish Americans, all relatives of Tip O’Neill travelled Home to Ireland to see the award given to Niall O’Dowd, founder of The Irish Voice newspaper and The Irish American magazine, whose broad support for the Irish both at home and in the US has often been undocumented. These Wild Geese met in Buncrana, where Tip O’Neill’s grandmother was born.
The Wild Geese Legend is a story of ‘Home’.
When Patrick Sarsfield and his followers were defeated at The Battle of The Boyne, they negotiated fair terms for the Irish people. Although they would live under foreign rule, they would be free. The condition: Sarsfeild and his followers must leave Ireland. With their heads held high, they marched to the shores of Limerick, where they met ships that would take them to Europe.
They took the name The Wild Geese in the hope and belief that this would be a temporary strategic exile in Europe.
Tragically Sarsfeild and many of The Wild Geese did not see Home again, but today Wild Geese from all corners of the world share Sarsfield’s dream of seeing Ireland. There are thought to be 80 million people of Irish descent in the world today, 50 million of which live in the USA. Ceremonies like the Tip O’Neill Award remind us of this eternal connection and what the diaspora can achieve.
One relative, Susan O’Neill fully appreciated this:
‘Coming here is like coming home. Tip’s grandmother Eunice Fullerton was born just outside Buncrana so we still see this place as home.’
‘When you’re an Irish-American, you never forget your Irish roots because it means so much about what we are and who we are’
The Wild Geese whiskey is extremely proud to have been a part of this occasion. Buncrana born Denis Grant presented both Niall O’Dowd and Tip’s son Thomas P. O’Neill III with a bottle of our superb whiskey, as a reminder of that special thing that unites us – ‘Home
Wherever you are in the world, if you are of Irish descent you are part of this story and entitled to call yourself Wild Geese