Posts Tagged 'Northern Ireland'

Tommy McCoole – artist

Most of you know Tommy McCoole from his responses in the comment section of the post about my visit to the McCool homestead in Northern Ireland.

Two of our most treasured items from Northern Ireland are two prints given to us by Tommy.

Here are the prints are mounted above our mantel.

Tommy McCoole artwork

Tommy McCoole artwork

Tommy’s artwork (and bio) can be viewed at TMcCooleArt.com.

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Finn McCool t-shirt iron on transfer

Available on UK’s eBay. Finn McCool Ireland Irish A4 TShirt Iron-On Transfer http://bit.ly/7OmeMY

Finn McCool’s Football Club

Finn McCool’s Football Club by Stephen Rea is more than a soccer book. Finn McCool’s is a pub in New Orleans. The football (soccer) club is comprised of patrons. The story is about their lives being shaken after hurricane Katrina. Alas, I have not read the book but a friend has a copy (hurry up, Steve). The below information is directly from the Amazon web page for the book. If you are interested in buying a copy, please click here (this is a link to Amazon which gives me a miniscule commission).  Thank you.

Review
“Score 10-nil for Rea and the McCools.” –The Irish American Post

Review
“Rea’s book brings one of the biggest stories of the century down to a touching, emotional, personal level in a solid debut effort.”

Product Description
After jetting around the world, Stephen Rea left Belfast to settle in New Orleans in 2004. Life in the Deep South proved to be startlingly different from that in Northern Ireland, and Rea struggled to find an outlet for his love of soccer. Before long, the Ulsterman stumbled upon Finn McCool’s pub and the wonderfully eccentric, international crowd that gathers there to watch European football games.

Frank “the Tank,” the pot-growing Dutch national; Dave “the Rave” Ashton, a forty-six-year-old physiotherapist from Manchester dubbed “the world’s oldest teenager”; and Benji Haswell, a former political activist from South Africa, are three of the rare and vibrant characters who populated the pub’s stools. Soon Rea, along with this idiosyncratic mix of locals and ex-pat regulars, formed a pub soccer team, joined a league, and started dreaming of victory.

On August 28, 2005, with former pro footballer Scottish Steve “Macca” McAnespie as their coach, members of the team sat in the pub discussing their upcoming match. The next day, Hurricane Katrina enveloped the Gulf Coast, scattering Rea and his teammates around the world in seek of shelter and stability.

This luminous, gripping work follows the author and Finn regulars as they rebuild their lives and their team. With a masterful combination of dry humor and astute profundity, Rea reflects on his adopted city, providing powerful insight into the lives of the foreign-born and minority groups that stayed behind during Katrina due to the little they had to lose. Filled with equally hilarious and sobering anecdotes and no shortage of good soccer stories, Rea seamlessly weaves his experiences alongside his teammates’ harrowing survival stories. A breathtaking and incredible debut celebrating camaraderie, sportsmanship, and survival, “Finn McCool’s Football Club” stands out as a haunting and powerful memoir filled with laughter, loss, astonishment, and of course, soccer.

From the Publisher
“An uplifting account of friendship, football, and overcoming the odds in the face of tragedy. Stephen Rea has scored an impressive winner.”
–Derek Rae, senior UEFA Champions League commentator, ESPN

“Great story about real characters bonded by a passion for football and life.”
–Stephen Nicol, two-time MLS All-Star coach, head coach, New England Revolution

“‘Finn McCool’s Football Club” is a must-read for soccer fans.”
–Tommy Smyth, “The Auld Onion Bag Man,” ESPN commentator

From the Inside Flap
“Stephen Rea uses one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history as the backdrop for a love story–not your average love story either, as it’s also the love of a city, the ties that bind friends, and the passion for a sport. Soccer brings fans from around the globe together and that has never been proven more true than in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Rea’s book brings one of the biggest stories of the century down to a touching, emotional, personal level in a solid debut effort.” –Phil Schoen, GolTV commentator In 2004, Belfast-born Stephen Rea moved to New Orleans, a city where “football” means something entirely different than what it does for the British. After struggling to find a place to watch European soccer games, Rea discovered Finn McCool’s pub and its mixed clientele of good-humored European ex-pats, charismatic New Orleanians, and assorted matchless personalities. Irishmen exchanged jokes with the Scots, and the Dutch, English, and South African sat together swapping stories over murky drinks. Rea the Ulsterman became a regular and before long he was playing on the pub’s motley over-thirty-five fledgling soccer team. Gathered at the bar on August 27, 2005, members of the team were discussing their upcoming match, untroubled by the impending storm and unknowing that their city and team would nearly be obliterated by Hurricane Katrina in a matter of hours. Days later, the lucky among them were scattered across the country; the others struggled to survive as they awaited rescue in New Orleans. With clarity and compassion, Rea examines the disaster as he profiles the experiences of his teammates and their efforts to resurrect the team and pub that had become so central in all of their lives. A gripping and moving memoir about an unusual pub team and a devastating natural disaster, this work is a celebration of ex-pats and pubs, soccer and sportsmanship, and the strength it takes to rebuild a team, a city, and a life.

From the Back Cover
“Stephen Rea’s gripping tale of how he and his New Orleanian band of %ifutbol%r player/friends survived Hurricane Katrina and regrouped is a study in tenacity. . . . Sports lovers, particularly those who dig soccer, can find plenty of action within the pages, as well. This is a book for fans of New Orleans, of the universal ball game, of ex-pats and of pubs. Score 10-nil for Rea and the McCools.” –The Irish American Post “An uplifting account of friendship, football, and overcoming the odds in the face of tragedy. Stephen Rea has scored an impressive winner.” –Derek Rae, senior UEFA Champions League commentator, ESPN “%b%iFinn McCool’s Football Club%r is a must-read for soccer fans. The grit and determination displayed by these lads in the face of disaster is amazing. Their spirit and never-say-die attitude is captivating. When the history of soccer is written in the U.S., I hope the players, management, and fans of the Finn McCool’s club will get proper recognition for the major role they were able to play in promoting ‘the Beautiful Game.'” –Tommy Smyth, “the Auld Onion Bag Man,” ESPN commentator “Great story about real characters bonded by a passion for football and life.” –Stephen Nicol, two-time MLS All-Stars coach and head coach, New England Revolution

McCool homestead in Northern Ireland, Part 2

Here are more pictures from our trip to the McCool property in County Londonderry.

McCooles Road

Street sign at the intersection with A6, about 1/2 mile northwest of the Castledawson roundabout.

IMC 1735

The stone found in the second (newer) McCool house.

ireland-012

Another view of the second McCool house

ireland-042

Wonderful view of the main McCool house and property from the start of the path

McCool homestead in Northern Ireland

My family was extremely fortunate to be guided to the McCool ancestral home by a distant cousin living in the area. Tommy McCoole shared much history and great times. The home (first picture below) was occupied by John and Olivia McCool in the 1670s. A second building (second picture below) on the property dates back almost as far; it was probably built for one of the sons.

The above link goes to a Google Map showing a bird’s eye view of the area. Note McCool’s Road on the left side of the map. The road going to the right of the farm is closed to traffic. We had to hop a fence (escorted) and walk to the McCool houses. Follow the top whiteish, grayish line. The two buildings are near the end of the road(s). The first (lower) building is the son’s home. The upper building is the original house. Note the river to the right of the houses; you can scroll the map (and pan out) to follow the River Moyola to Lough Neagh.

McCool Ancestral Home, Toberhead, Northern Ireland

McCool Ancestral Home, Toberhead, Northern Ireland

 

McCool Ancestral Home (#2), Toberhead, Northern Ireland

McCool Ancestral Home (#2), Toberhead, Northern Ireland