From the Publisher by Maura De Freitas
The Celtic Connection is a tabloid size newspaper, with international distribution, published 10 times a year from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Submissions are welcome but will not be returned, so please keep a copy for yourself. Opinions expressed in the paper and on this site are not necessarily those of the publisher, but rather a reflection of voices in the community.
All correspondence must include a name, address, telephone number and email address when appropriate.
Words remain one of our most powerful weapons
Be kind, for every man is fighting a hard battle.
– Ian MacLaren, a noted Scotsman,
author of “Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush.”
Another year draws to a close as we put the final touches to our combined December/January.
It has now been 22 years since my mother Catholine Butler and I launched The Celtic Connection and it remains one of the most fulfilling, fascinating and passionate journeys of our lives. It is such a privilege and we are deeply grateful to everyone for your support.
This past year once again has been filled with great highs and lows along with messages of hope and even survival in the face of great adversity.
We continue to highlight the generous work of so many whose contributions enrich and benefit others across western Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest.
The world is changing at a pace never seen before and yet for all the progress, history continues to repeat itself. The global economic struggle has led to much instability and enormous changes, particularly across the European Union.
In Ireland so many young and talented are now leaving behind family and friends to seek a better future abroad.
Our local communities continue to welcome these new arrivals who bring renewed vitality and fresh ideas to our cultural organizations.
It has also galvanized many groups and organizations to provide assistance and support to help those new arrivals to once again find their feet in a new country.
I am reminded of a quote which has been variously attributed over the years, but seems most likely to have come from a Scotsman by the name of Ian MacLaren.
He is recorded as a noted theologian and author of Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush, although it is believed this was the pseudonym or pen name of a Reverend John Watson [1850 –1907].
In 1897 MacLaren along with other celebrities, was asked to send a Christmas message to an influential religious weekly in England.
He responded by sending the short but striking sentence: “Be kind, for every man is fighting a hard battle.”
The article reads: “No message is more needed in our days of stress and storm, of selfish striving and merciless competition.”
It would seem that as much as we have progressed over 100 years later, the message remains relevant even today.
This past year we have published news of violence, cruelty, even suicide as the result of bullying in society.
Humanity continues to struggle with our greatest weaknesses and each time we succumb to our most basic instincts or hurt one another, we wound the collective soul of this world in which we all share.
We are fragile spirits, regardless of the rough coat we sometimes wear on the exterior. In an age filled with so many pressures, we are all guilty of the occasional thoughtless and unkind remark.
Words are powerful weapons which can evoke the most visceral reactions. While we may agree to disagree, solutions are found always through dialogue, not anger.
Sadly it is often too late, after trouble and heartache and sorrow came into my own lives or those closest to our hearts that we fully understand the power of these simple words.
“Be kind, for every man (and woman) is fighting a hard battle.”
In closing, we would like to wish all of you many bright blessings and much peace in this season of forgiveness and goodwill. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.
Until next year,
Our dedicated distribution team: Helping to deliver our monthly paper into your hands
ANGIE PARK distributes to Richmond, Marpole, Kerrisdale, Burnaby, New Westminster, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam and Port Moody.
Bo of Quicksilver Messengers ready to distribute in South Granville, Granville Island, False Creek and the west side of Vancouver.
KATHY AND ED Griffin in Surrey getting ready to distribute the papers in the Surrey area. The Griffin home is also a central distribution point.
COLLEEN Carpenter at 2 AM proofreading The Celtic Connection before it goes to press.
COLLEEN Carpenter [standing] and (L-R) Vanessa De Freitas and Catholine Butler [seated] in the garage organizing docupaks for dispatch to the Greyhound bus.
BACK from the printers and unloading more bundles of The Celtic Connection: (L-R) Tom, Don and Linda.
DOUG MEDLEY with the librarian as he delivers to the Edgemont Library in North Vancouver.
BRENDA AND FRANK Dudfield who distribute to Cloverdale, Surrey, Langley and Fort Langley picking up at Kathy Griffin’s home.
GABRIEL CLARK of Prudential Sterling Realty delivering The Celtic Connection to Laurie Lang of the Tam O’Shanter Highland Dancers.
OLIVER AND MARILYN Grealish deliver in Edmonton, Alberta. They are shown above at Fort Edmonton Park.
HAZEL of Quicksilver Messengers, packing her vehicle with bundles for distribution in downtown Vancouver.
MAURA DE FREITAS holding a copy of The Celtic Connection fresh off the press. She is pictured with Brian Thompson and Don Roberts of Horizon Printers.
KEVIN BOGGAN picking up to deliver in East Vancouver and North and West Vancouver.
LINDA ROBB packing her vehicle with bundles for the early morning Quick Shuttle bus to Seattle and for dispatch to Canada Post.
JOANNE LONG (L) and Jim Carbin (centre) distribute in Abbotsford and Mission. Bill Duncan (R) delivers in Maple Ridge.
SANDRA NISBET picking up for delivery in White Rock.
HEATHER MURPHY and Nanci Spieker deliver in Seattle – here they are pictured at a Mariners’ game delivering the papers.
NEVILLE THOMAS of the Dylan Thomas Society and Eifion Williams of the Welsh Society of Vancouver loading up their vehicle for delivery of The Celtic Connection in Vancouver.
By CATHOLINE BUTLER
VANCOUVER – Each month as we go to press with The Celtic Connection, there is a small army of people waiting in the wings ready to take the printed bundles and get them into the hands of our readers.
On these pages, we have featured a photographic round-up of some of these hard-working people who help deliver the paper across British Columbia and Alberta in western Canada and Seattle in the U.S. Pacific Northwest.
Our distribution team is the life blood of our publication and when The Celtic Connection comes off the press, it is delivered back to the Butler garage to prepare for dispatch.
This becomes the scene of a feverish hive of activity as papers are stuffed into docupaks for dispatch across B.C. and Alberta on the next Greyhound bus.
Other volunteers work to prepare the post office dispatch for our subscribers, others get papers ready for the Quick Shuttle bus which will transport bundles across the U.S./Canada border down to Seattle for distribution.
The garage door opens and closes as each new driver arrives ready and armed with paperwork for their respective districts. Many have been doing this job for years and it is quick and efficient as they jump out, load their papers, and they’re off.
Our friendly Quicksilver Messengers have been distributing our publication for over a decade, and they do the downtown area and beyond.
When the papers come off the press at the anticipated time, distribution works like a well-oiled machine. But when something happens and there is a delay for one reason or another – then it’s plan B into action. Fortunately, our team is very flexible and understanding and willing to work around our schedule.
Many of our drivers are old hands and they know their routes backwards. They tell us that they love distributing the paper because they know so many people along the way and many readers have been eagerly awaiting the latest edition.
That is very inspiring for us, especially since Maura and myself have worked long into the night and early hours of the morning for many days to meet the press deadline.
It’s sort of like Santa Clause after his midnight run. We go to bed for a rest knowing that The Celtic Connection is in safe hands with our dedicated drivers and volunteers.
One person who deserves special mention is Colleen Carpenter. She serves in a variety of capacities, helping to co-ordinate distribution and she performs many clerical functions. She also proofreads the newspaper, often working through the night alongside Maura, and then coming in the following morning to work on distribution with myself.
Maura and I thank everyone of you from the bottom of our hearts for your fantastic dedication and hard work – we couldn’t do it without you!
Our most heartfelt thanks to everyone for your support
[PHOTO by Paddy and Bernie Todd]
CATHOLINE BUTLER and Maura De Freitas were each presented with a Certificate of Appreciation for 20 years of dedicated service to the Celtic communities of B.C., Alberta and Washington state at the March 19 dinner/dance hosted by the Irish Heritage Society of Canada in Vancouver. Shown above: (L-R) Eilis Courtney (President of the Irish Women’s Network of B.C.) with Catholine Butler, Maura de Freitas and Tony McCamley (President of the Irish Heritage Society of Canada).
HILARY REILLY the Deputy Head of Mission with the Embassy of Ireland in Ottawa and Maura De Freitas of The Celtic Connection are piped in to the hall on March 19 by B.C. Regiment Irish Pipes and Drums led by Pat Connell.
There are no words to adequately express our profound gratitude to everyone who supported the March 19 dinner/dance hosted by the Irish Heritage Society of Canada in honour of our 20th anniversary.
It takes a massive effort to put together, promote and sell any event, and credit must be given to George and Teresa McDonnell and everyone on the IHS board of directors who worked so hard behind the scenes to make the evening such a resounding success.
Credit must also be given to Eilis Courtney and the Irish Women’s Network for their great organizational skills with the silent auction. So many people generously donated items that really enhanced the value of the auction. Thank you to everyone.
We were staggered when George presented us with a cheque for $8,500 as proceeds from the night. These funds will help to keep the presses rolling for this newspaper and ensure continuity for a new generation after 20 years of publishing.
Over the years we have welcomed many newcomers and covered events far and wide across the Celtic spectrum. We have also marked the sad passing of many of our dearly beloved fellow Celts.
The Celtic Connection is an historical archive of all those years and will provide a record in years to come of the various groups and individuals who were part of this Celtic circle of western Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest.
Working as we do behind the scenes, often late into the night, weaving together material from sources far and wide, it is gratifying to emerge and discover that there is an appreciative audience out there.
Thank you for your continued support and generosity – we will continue to make this a Celtic cultural crossroads where your voices can be heard.
In closing, I would like to mention that it was a wonderful surprise to welcome Hilary Reilly, the new Deputy Head of Mission with the Embassy of Ireland in Ottawa as a special guest at the dinner/dance.
Our most heartfelt thanks to everyone for your presence at our fundraising event and for your continued support as a reader, contributor, or advertiser in these pages.
Blessings upon each
and every one of you,
Valuable information for Irish on working holiday programme
As you know, the young Irish people that are currently in Canada on the working holiday programme are eligible to apply for a two year extension. A large number of them want to avail of this opportunity but may need to have their passports rushed.
The urgent processing service will only apply to those applicants who are here on the working holiday programme. Therefore, I would be grateful if you could assist us in getting this information to them.
Applicants wishing to have their passports renewed in order to apply for the second year working holiday extension should e-mail: email@example.com.
The following should be submitted when applying:
- A completed and suitably witnessed passport application form (APS2E) and FOUR photographs, two of which must be date stamped by the photographer and signed by an approved witness with the form number included.
- Copy of current working holiday visa.
- Fee of $200 certified cheque/postal or bank money order (fee includes $80 for urgent processing service);
- Applications should be sent to the Embassy at 130 Albert Street, Suite 1105, Ottawa, ON K1P 5G4 by Registered Post/Xpress post or priority post. Two days AFTER sending the application, e-mail Siobhán Doran to confirm the application has been received and everything is in order.
I want to stress that it is important that they email me TWO days after sending the application, otherwise I will not be able to ensure they get their passports in time.
Embassy of Ireland
Copies of The Celtic Connection eagerly snapped up at St. Pat’s parade
On March 20 I was delighted with the Vancouver Celtic Festival's St. Patrick’s Day parade, and thought I'd mention how wonderful it was to see The Celtic Connection entry at the parade.
Handing out copies of the newspaper along the parade route was a very nice touch. I saw many eager hands extended from spectators to receive their copy. I noticed a throng of excitement along the parade route when the lucky recipients received theirs!
It was even more gratifying as an avid reader and advertiser in The Celtic Connection newspaper to note so many actually reading the paper – during and long after the parade was finished!
Thanks again, Catholine and Maura, for so much you do to connect the Celtic community. Your extra efforts at events such as this do not go unnoticed and are very much appreciated.
Executive & Artistic Director
CeltFest Vancouver Island
A very fond farewell to Christine Anderson
By CATHOLINE BUTLER
Christine Anderson has been the graphic artist for The Celtic Connection for about the past 12 years. Originally from Arnprior, Ontario, she and her family decided a few years ago, to leave Vancouver and move closer to family.
In the early years of The Celtic Connection, Christine and her husband Joe Burke, who is originally from Dublin, were both graphic artists and sign painters and for awhile, both of them worked as graphic artists on ad production for the publication.
When they lived in Vancouver, both Christine and Joe played Gaelic football and were both active members with the Vancouver Irish Sporting and Social Club.
Each time that Christine was pregnant with their three boys – Jude, Frankie and Stephen – we would be holding our breath that she would be rushed to the hospital to give birth on deadline for the paper. However, each time she managed to time their arrival so it was always in between publications and we would breath a collective sigh of relief.
Since their move, Joe has gone on to work for Canada Post and Christine and her four sisters have opened an organic restaurant and serve the best food that Mother Nature has to offer. Their restaurant is called the Four Sisters and they pride themselves on making healthy food.
We wish Christine and her sisters very best wishes in their new venture and welcome Ainsley Baldwin, another graphic artist and Gaelic football player to The Celtic Connection family. She is based in Edmonton, Alberta.
Ainsley has done graphic work and design for the Western Canada GAA and came highly recommended by Ronan Dean, another Gaelic football and hurler and past chairman, Western Canada Division, GAA.
Ainsley started work with us for the busy and hectic March publication it was really a baptism of fire and she has come through with flying colours ever since.
We have really been blessed to have such dedicated and loyal personnel over the past 20 years (this is our 20th anniversary), and we give thanks to all of them.
20 years later: The changing face of our communities
When you’re busy, the years slip by so quickly you hardly notice the passage of time. I find one concrete way to get a chronological reading is to look at the children in our life and our community.
This is the case with The Celtic Connection. When Catholine and myself launched the first issue of this paper we were told that if we could survive five years, we might have a chance in the often turbulent world of publishing.
So many other publications have come and gone since our first edition. So many groups, organizations, and in fact individuals have moved on to other realms since we first arrived on the scene.
And here we are, still covering the news and views of the Celtic world for our readers 20 years later. It was a very bumpy ride in the early years and often we hardly had time to lift our head to look around before we were swamped with another tidal wave.
It was frantic, it was intense, and it was demanding but you know, we had a lot of help. We could not have done it without the support of countless people who came forward – angels actually – who were there for us often at the very moment we needed them most.
In particular, I have to mention our advertisers who have been the lifeblood of The Celtic Connection – without them we would not have a newspaper.
I tell you this story because I am reminded how the years have passed when I look at the children I have known. One in particular comes to mind: Catherine Flynn, our cover artist.
When I first met Catherine, it seems like just yesterday. She was an adorable little Irish dancer dressed in costume (much like the little girl on our cover this month), around the age of six or seven years old.
She had been assigned the job of presenting a bouquet of red roses to a well-known Celtic singer following her performance and Catherine performed her function flawlessly. I have to say my heart was captured.
Anyway, throughout the years Catherine has been a part of the growth and evolution of The Celtic Connection. She has a love of Celtic culture and was drawn to the energy and creative spirit in publishing and, along with her younger sister Christine, she has often worked as a volunteer in many capacities with the paper.
Catherine has grown now into a young woman but she still nurtures the flame of her Celtic heritage. When I see how she has matured, I realize how we have also aged and how The Celtic Connection has weathered the storms and reached adulthood.
In our communities we now see a whole new generation of young people arriving. It is particularly evident in the face of Irish communities across Canada and the United States.
During the years of the mighty Celtic Tiger, there was very little immigration and some groups and organizations simply disappeared with an aging population and diminishing memberships.
The global economic downturn has changed that trend and, sadly, Ireland’s loss has now become our gain. There is a renewal of purpose as many communities are working to help a flood of new arrivals adjust and prosper. You will find many of these voices reflected in the following pages of this issue.
Throughout these years, The Celtic Connection has been a constant presence and we still need your support to ensure that we continue to connect a new generation.
Wishing everyone a very happy St. Patrick’s Day and a special mention to all those who have been working so tirelessly to organize events this month – thank you for all your toil and hard work – we all benefit from your efforts.
Catholine Butler Awarded First Annual ISSC Spirit Award
RONAN Matthews presented the 2010 ISSC Spirit Award for Lifetime Achievement to Catholine Butler.
VANCOUVER – It was a glittering night of awards at the Irish Sporting and Social ClubÂ’s 35th anniversary banquet and annual awards held on September 17.
It was a full house at the Croatian Cultural Centre with so many new arrivals from Ireland bringing such a welcome and refreshing young energy to the club. The room was buzzing with excitement as guests began to arrive.
There were numerous highlights that evening Â– not the least was the pride of welcoming home the conquering heroes. The Vancouver Harps hurling team, led by captain Sean Towmey, seized the crown at the 2010 North American Junior A Hurling Championships held in Chicago.
While Canadian teams have participated in the past, this is the first time the trophy has been hoisted in the Great White North.
Among the special guests that evening were John Dooley, the founding president of the Club Â– now mayor of Nelson, British Columbia Â– and another founding member Ray Byrne.
There was a huge array of awards presented after a delicious buffet dinner and indeed, there was much to celebrate.
Ronan Deane did a magnificent job as usual as Master of Ceremonies.
The culmination of the evening was the inaugural presentation of this yearÂ’s 2010 Spirit Award for Lifetime Achievement and Catholine Butler of The Celtic Connection was the honoured recipient.
John OÂ’Flynn gave an eloquent introduction to Catholine prior to Ronan Matthews of the ISSC presenting her with the award.
The following is John OÂ’FlynnÂ’s introduction:
Prior to Catholine Butler's arrival to Vancouver in 1988, she worked in Alberta as the Western Canadian Manager for OÂ’SheaÂ’s Market Ireland while hosting her own television show for a year called Celtic Time in Calgary and a radio show for a few years, also called Celtic Time in Edmonton.
From 1970 to 1980, Catholine was the owner of the Irish Entertainment Agency in Ottawa, Ontario and was part-owner of the Molly MaguireÂ’s Irish Pub in both Ottawa and Montreal, Quebec and part-owner of ElaineÂ’s Irish Pub in Ottawa.
From 1974 to 1982, Catholine worked as a fundraiser on the Gatineau Pioneer Cemetery in Martindale, Quebec. Here, she spearheaded the restoration of an Irish Famine immigrant's graveyard in Martindale.
Catholine was also a founding member of Club Tir na Nog, an Irish cultural club consisting of over 2,000 members from 1965 to 1970.
I have spoken thus far of what can really be spoken of as a Â“lifetimeÂ” of achievements by Catholine in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. I haven't even begun to speak about what her life and actions here in Vancouver, British Columbia have meant for our proud Gaelic Athletic Association club Â“West of the Rockies.Â”
Catholine was the first person to ever bring in the All Ireland Hurling Final to New Westminster and Vancouver for the Gaelic Football Final in 1990 and 1991.
In that same year of 1991, along with her daughter Maura, they created The Celtic Connection newspaper that has allowed our club such gracious coverage these last 19 years.
Catholine assisted in producing an eight page supplement of our club's history during our 30th anniversary celebrations in 2005.
Now, to mention her marriage in 1994 to the legend who is Tom Butler, no doubt was a GAA marriage in the heavens and an Irish Sporting and Social Club Â“coupÂ” to have these two lovers unite!
GAA sporting communities across this country have nodded their heads in affirmation for what our club can claim in recognizing Catholine's achievements during her time here in Vancouver. All ages of Irish know that a great choice was made by our club in such a wonderful selection.
I recall a few lines from a song we know:
A Mother's love is a blessing, no matter where you roam. Keep her while she's living, you'll miss her when she's gone. Love her as in childhood.....And so Catholine...I'll finish with words from your daughter, Maura:
Â“It gives me great joy to see my mother Catholine Butler receive the first-ever Spirit Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Vancouver Irish Sporting and Social Club. I believe this award is extremely well-deserved and could go to no worthier recipient.
For almost 20 years, Catholine has been at the pulse of the local Irish community. After a lifetime of work in Irish communities across Canada, Catholine brings with her a wealth of experience. Her contacts, her approachability, and her willingness to help others have earned her this wonderful honour you bestow on her tonight. From my deepest heart, thank you.Â”
And so, Catholine.....We honour you. Thank you!
The Celtic Connection - Western Canada's Irish Centre
CATHOLINE BUTLER and Maura De Freitas (McCay) of The Celtic Connection.
By JOHN O'FLYNN
In the inaugural issue of the Toronto-based Irish Connections Canada I wrote of the excitement generated by Tony and Gwen McCamley and the Irish Heritage Society of Canada with their plans for an Irish Centre in "Beautiful 'Irish' Columbia."
Now it is time to share with you, dear reader, the story of the other 'Irish Centre' that has nourished our communities in Western Canada.
This Irish Centre has been The Celtic Connection, a tabloid size newspaper with international distribution, published 10 times a year from Vancouver.
For the past 18 years, Catholine Butler and Maura De Freitas (McCay) have been tireless in producing this monthly masterpiece with many volunteer writers and supporters.
They have stood witness to the joys and sorrows of our community and with each issue published they continue to share more about the wonderful and diverse people who make up the Celtic family.
From their earliest moments as a publication, I remember trying to sell papers for a $1 donation for this beginning enterprise. Occasionally, a person would try to walk off with the paper and I would have to chase down the 'loonie' or get the paper back altogether!
I would think, in an uncharitable way, what an ungrateful lot some were by their indifference in 1991. But how things have changed!
How appreciative people are for The Celtic Connection in our communities and many repay them with paid subscriptions and by supporting the culturally-minded advertisers who come through for the paper each month.
The Celtic Connection has been a part of my family over the years. From East Vancouver to White Rock, from Powell River to Richmond and to North Vancouver, the paper has been a most welcomed guest.
Particularly during my time in Powell River, the paper kept me in touch with the "craic" from back home in Vancouver but also the sad telling of the passing of many a good Gael.
The likes of a J.J. Hyland, Tom Gibbons and Mike O'Malley, just to name a few, come to mind. The paper gave me the chance to remember and rekindle the affection I had for those people and recall their contributions to the Irish Community back home.
As an active community member of the Gaelic Athletic Association, it is evident of the glowing appreciation for Maura and Catholine's voluntary counsel to people and willingness to answer those who have questions about Irish culture, sport, art, education and even citizenship.
I want to re-echo a common suggestion that the Irish and Canadian citizens of the Western Canadian provinces are in need of a full time, paid, consular office.
The Government of Ireland has heard from our community that a consular office should be established in this beautiful part of Canada where a friendly, open and accessible welcome would be given to all, as mirrored by Maura and Catholine of The Celtic Connection.
The paper has received on two occasions an award from the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada in the category of "Best Editorial and Visual Interpretation," and in recognition of "the outstanding achievements, contributions, and community service by The Celtic Connection."
Finally, without the presence of The Celtic Connection, the Vancouver Irish Sporting and Social Club would never have had the opportunity to publish its 30th Anniversary supplement without the support of culturally minded advertisers and supporters of the paper in October 2004.
I am forever grateful for the staff in going "out on the limb" with this anniversary idea and in helping to make it a memorable keepsake of written history for the Irish community.
Thank you for documenting the times of our Irish - Canadian lives these last 18 years. You have made life's journey all the gladder!
[Reproduced with kind permission from Eamonn O'Loghlin, editor of Irish Connections Canada. This article was published in the Summer 2009 edition of Irish Connections Canada.]
Editor's Note [Irish Connections Canada]: Over the years I have had the pleasure of connecting with Maura and Catholine on many an occasion. They have always been there for the Irish and all the Celts of the West and have been helpful to us whenever we were seeking information or direction. Check out their website at: www.celtic-connection.com.For more information, call (604) 434-3747.
A CONNECTION MADE
By MALCOLM PARRY
PHOTO: Malcolm Parry
PUBLISHER Maura De Freitas (McCay) with her mother Catholine Butler who handles advertising and promotion for The Celtic Connection.
A generation has passed since Jack Wallace redesigned The Vancouver Sun in the big-city style he'd polished as a San Francisco Chronicle staffer and Hearst organization trouble-shooter.
Wallace died at age 87 in 2002, a decade after he'd literally breathed life into the smaller but far-reaching Vancouver-based The Celtic Connection.
That's the 10-times-yearly newspaper-format publication (www.celtic-connection.com) that Maura De Freitas (then Maura McCay), and her mother Catholine Butler founded with $40,000 in 1990, after De Freitas relinquished her co-ownership of a small Celtic-arts magazine called The Coracle.
The Celtic Connection's initial 5,000 print run is now double that at city-based Horizon Publications, and its unaudited readership reportedly totals 30,000 in Canada, the U.S. and Celtic pockets elsewhere.
That gentle climb aside, and with comparably modest revenues in the $150,000 range, the paper has the zesty, professional format of a much heavier hitter. In 2005, Ontario Lt.-Gov. James Karl Bartleman handed publisher De Freitas the Ethnomedia Week celebration's Best in Editorial and Information trophy.
De Freitas, 53, recently credited The Celtic Connection's survival and success to "mentor" Wallace. But the dead don't speak. Former administrative assistant to a mining firm vice-president De Freitas does, and in a way that makes the native of Ottawa's Gatineau Valley acceptable to English, Irish, Scots and Welsh readers. "Groups that don't always get on well together," she said with a slight twinkle.
"I think we've crossed a lot of lines, and in a diplomatic way," Butler said. Those lines included the early suspicion that the two were Irish Republican Army (IRA) supporters.
"There was distrust," De Freitas recalled. "Of our politics, our motives, and essentially what was our agenda. But it dissolved. We extended a hand, and made an effort to connect to the community."
The Irish took it first, said Butler, who reviews, reports, handles all advertising sales and "takes no abuse, I never have."
She and De Freitas do take donations, though, from community organizations and individuals like global philanthropist Elinore Detiger, who gave the then-fledgling Celtic Connection $10,000 back in 1992.
In return, they provide a mix of international news and comment, feature articles, culture and sports reports, and regional coverage, including a page headed Seattle Irish News.
Still, it was The Coracle magazine that gave De Freitas bigger ideas. "I'd go to [Celtic] events to set up artwork, and people asked: 'Where are you going next?' I'd tell them, and they would ask: 'How come I don't know about that?'
"I realized that, though they had cousins and were related culturally, they weren't communicating with one another." That turned on her entrepreneurial light. "Since The Celtic Connection was created," she said recently, "they do have a means of communicating, and there's been a lot more of it between the various cultural groups."
She spoke as the harvest season called lughnasadh began. That was also when native Irish contracted the one-year trial marriages that might or might not be formalized the following fall. They and fellow Celts appear to have made their minds up regarding De Freitas and Butler's newspaper.
[We gratefully acknowledge permission to reprint thanks to The Vancouver Sun and Malcolm Parry. The above article was initially published in the August 6 edition of The Vancouver Sun in the B.C. Business Section.]
The Celtic Connection Wins
VANCOUVER - The Celtic Connection has been selected to receive an award from the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada under the chairmanship of Dr. Bikram Lamba.
This is the second time The Celtic Connection has been honoured with this prestigious award in the category of "Best Editorial and Visual Interpretation," and in recognition of "the outstanding achievements, contributions, and community service by The Celtic Connection."
The Celtic Connection was also selected among over 300 ethnic media publications serving communities from coast-to-coast across Canada. The first award was presented to publisher Maura McCay by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario at Queen's Park in Toronto in 2005.
A Newspaper For Others to Emulate
By Malcolm Perry,
The Vancouver Sun (2003)
"Maura McCay's 10-times yearly Celtic Connection continues to be a special-interest newspaper for others - even academic types - to emulate. It's always packed with relevant local and international news and opinion. It is several graphic cuts above most of its ilk editorially and - most importantly - its advertisements never feature fuzzy mugshots of various Roys, Mikes and Badahurs seeking custom for their body shops, roofing firms and gas-fitting enterprises."
A Real Pulse in Connecting People Within the Celtic Community
By RUTH CARSON
VANCOUVER - For the past 12 years, The Celtic Connection has been informing the Celtic Community in Western Canada. Last month's edition distributed over 13,000 papers and the distribution span covered as far east as Winnipeg and Butte, Montana and as far south as Seattle, Washington.
The wide readership also extends to subscribers who are from as far afield as Australia, Ireland and Great Britain. Recently, a journalist for the Vancouver Sun, Malcolm Parry, commended The Celtic Connection by writing that it "continues to be a special interest newspaper for others - even academic types to emulate. It's always packed with relevant local and international news and opinion."
CATHOLINE BUTLER and Maura McCay have worked as a team for the past 12 years in serving the Celtic community.
Quite remarkably the majority of the work undertaken to publish this specialized newspaper is carried out by three people. Twelve years ago, Maura McCay had realized there was a need for a newspaper which allowed the Celtic Community to have a voice in Western Canada.
As publisher, she has numerous responsibilities including editing and layout and design and Catholine Butler manages advertising and contributes articles. Five years ago Colleen Carpenter, who is described by Catholine as "a general handyman,' joined the staff. She works on "so many aspects - distribution, proofing, secretarial, and the production end with Maura."
"People who don't know about the paper never realize that we're a small team. The media use us as a news source for the Celtic Community, it's great to see we have that kind of profile and that we've reached that level of respect within the community and within the media," said Catholine.
Catholine attributes the unique qualities of the newspaper to the fact that "when people call us, they get an answer. We're very grassroots and very connected to the community. The community can call on us with their sadness and their joys. People appreciate that and the fact that we're interested in what happens to them on a daily basis."
"We get calls about newsworthy items and it's nice to know they have us in the forefront. We cover aspects which daily newspapers don't cover as it might not be newsworthy on a broad scale but are relevant to the Celtic Community."
"We get numerous enquiries and it's mostly the Irish queries we answer. The Irish community here doesn't have a cultural centre, unlike the Scots and Welsh. Ninety-nine percent of the time we're able to give an answer or put them in touch with someone who can."
Catholine told me about a recent enquiry from a woman living in Vancouver who was having a reunion with relatives from England and Ireland in New York. She wanted to know if The Celtic Connection knew about events occurring in New York on St. Patrick's Day.
Coincidentally Catholine had just interviewed the organizer of the New York St. Patrick's Day Parade, John Dunleavy. Catholine rang John Dunleavy who in due turn organized tickets in the parade stand and put the woman in touch with some of the Irish clubs in New York.
The Celtic Connection had their own celebration to organize for St. Patrick's Day. They participated in a fundraising event in conjunction with the Celtic Heritage Society and the Vancouver Irish Sporting and Social Club. "It was the first time we were involved with running a two-day event."
"We participated in every aspect of it, from looking after advertising, collecting items for door prizes and the silent auction, sending out press releases to the media, distributing tickets and answering telephone calls regarding bookings," said Catholine. The event was a huge success with over 1,200 people attending during the two days of celebrations.
Numerous enquiries are received by The Celtic Connection from fellow Celts who are visiting on work visas. The newspaper has succeeded in putting them in contact with different companies and securing employment. The paper's mission statement which is printed in each edition states, "This paper is dedicated to truth, the dignity of every person under God and the call to help another to live out that dignity".
Catholine feels that's really important, because "sometimes the media will take a story and blow it out of proportion, looking not so much at the truth but at selling papers." The Celtic Connection's name and mission statement are precisely apt for a newspaper which is a real pulse within the Celtic Community and truly connects Celts.
*Ruth Carson is a freelance Irish journalist who recently visited Vancouver. She has now returned to Ireland from where she will be contributing occasional freelance articles to The Celtic Connection.