Upcoming Events

The Westchase Tavern and IS Member Ciaran Simon present Ms. Audrey Parker Day to raise money and canned Goods for The Houston Food Bank. This Soup, Chili, Stew and Dessert Cook-Off  will be held this Sunday Nov 11th at high noon, 10630 Westheimer, just outside Beltway 8


The Irish Network will be hosting their next “Third Thursday Mixer” is on the 15th of November at Molly’s Irish Pub, downtown from 6:30 PM 509 Main St., Houston Texas 77002. We look forward to getting together as a community for another installment of our highly successful series of networking mixers. This series of events is ideal for those new to Houston or just visiting family, friends or like how most of us end up here – work.


Friday, November 9th through Sunday the 11th – If you would like to watch some irish dancing or even take part in a Ceili, the 39th Annual Féile Houston  click here for more details.


Wednesday November 21, 10 PM it’s Blaggards at The Continental Club, 3700 Main St. Houston, TX Thanksgiving Eve with Blaggards and Beetle (21yrs+)


More Blaggards? Friday November 23 at Ashford Pub, starting at 9:30 PM 13308 Westheimer Rd Houston, TX. This is a 21+ show and there is a small cover charge. More info at Blaggards.com


We also want to highlight the Houston Gaels, End of Year Dinner Dance taking place on December 1. Please take a look at that event on their Facebook page – it promises to be a great night out with a ‘Gatsby Extravaganza’ theme.

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Smoked Thanksgiving Turkeys

Let the good  Knights of Columbus 803,  at the  Cathedral do the cooking this Thanksgiving, they are  a sponsor of Irish Aires,.. They are preparing and cooking delicious Smoked Turkeys  and will be ready for pick-up Wednesday the 22nd. Get your order in by Wednesday November 14th, by contacting Matthew Goitia at 832-758 1433 or e-mail matthew.goitia@gmail.com 

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Saturday November 10, 2018, Féile Houston 2018 presents a Céilí and Party from 8pm-midnight! Come and enjoy dancing, step-abouts, and Ceilí dances. Don’t worry we will teach you the Céilí. And starting at 9pm there will be the annual Costume Contest! Dress to impress! There is a small fee to attend. The address is Marriott Houston Westchase, 2900 Briar Park Dr., Houston, TX, 77042, (Near Beltway 8 West and Westheimer Rd). There will be more dancing competitions tomorrow, Sunday November 11. More info at feilehouston.com/
Sunday November 11th 2018 at high noon, The Westchase Tavern and Irish Society Member Ciaran Simon present Ms. Audrey Parker Day to raise money and canned goods for The Houston Food Bank. This Soup, Chili, Stew and Dessert Cook-Off will be held at The Westchase Tavern, 10630 Westheimer, just outside Beltway 8. Come on out for a good cause- to help end hunger in Houston!
Thursday November 15, 2018 from starting at 6:30pm, The Irish Network will be hosting their next “Third Thursday Mixer.” This will be at Molly’s Irish Pub, downtown at 509 Main St., Houston Texas 77002. We look forward to getting together as a community for another installment of our highly successful series of networking mixers. This series of events is ideal for those new to Houston or just visiting family, friends or as most of us end up here – work.
Saturday, November 17, 2018 it’s a full day of entertainment from Wylde Meade! At 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. the band will play at the 26th Annual Artist’s Warehouse Houston ArtCrawl 2018. Once again we’ll be at the entrance to Mother Dog studios to help kick things off! The address is 720 Walnut Street. Then from 6:30-8:30pm Wylde Meade brings Celtic, Folk and Early Music laced with tunes from a variety of cultures to EQ Heights. NO COVER – Tipping brings thanksgivings! EQ Heights is at 1030 Heights Boulevard in Houston.
ALSO Saturday, November 17th 2018 from 7pm- 9pm it’s a Scottish Dance with the Houston Royal Scottish Country Dance Society. Please come join us for our next seasonal ceilidh at Immanuel Lutheran Church(in the gym), 306 E 15th Street, Houston TX 77008. Park and enter off Cortlandt Street. The dances combine elegance, energy and precision with Scotland’s older Strathspeys and Reels. So if you’re looking for a good time, want to EXERCISE both MIND AND BODY and would like to join a GREAT COMMUNITY OF FRIENDS– Come Scottish Country Dancing! There is a small fee to attend. More information at http://www.houstonrscds.org
Wednesday November 21 at 10pm it’s Blaggards at The Continental Club, 3700 Main St.
Houston, TX Thanksgiving Eve with Blaggards and Beetle. 21+ Blaggards.com
Friday November 23 and Sunday November 25 it’s Wylde Meade performing at Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. The location is 6003 Memorial Dr, Houston, TX 77265.
ALSO Friday November 23 it’s Blaggards again, this time at Ashford Pub, starting at 9:30 PM 13308 Westheimer Rd Houston, TX. This is a 21+ show and there is a small cover charge. More info at Blaggards.com
December 1 2018 from 6pm-midnight it’s the Houston Gaels, End of Year Dinner Dance at 1806 N Memorial Way, Houston, TX 77007-8420. Please take a look at that event on their Facebook page – it promises to be a great night out with a ‘Gatsby Extravaganza’ theme.


This posting is updated regularly.

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Passing of Jeannie Kearns

With sadness we report the passing of Jeannie Kearnes the Grand Dame of the Houston St Patrick’s Day Parade. Jeannie and her husband , the late Doc Kearns, started working the parade almost 60 years ago and have continued with daughter Mary and Grandson Sean. Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers.

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Summer Irish dance camps

Some local Irish dance camps will take place this summer.  If you are an Irish dance teacher and want your information here, email me at rttew@yahoo.com.

Schedule camps today are Tew Academy of Irish Dance June 4-8 1.2 P.M. Ages three through adult always welcome.  Email rttew@yahoo.com for more information.


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New Irish dance podcast coming in June

By Richard Tew

Former Riverdance/Lord of the Dance performer and Irish dance judge Martin Percival is set to launch his new podcast which will discuss a wide range of topics related to Irish dance.

Irish dance history,  its current state and its future will be discussed by the art form’s top exponents and historians each week starting in June.

To listen, click here.

To listen to my interview with Martin, click here. 

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Events for March 2018 in and around Houston


Every Thursday February 8-March 8: St. Patrick’s Parade Weekly Happy Hour at Platypus Brewery!  Come out and enjoy happy hour with your friends and donate to the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Irish Dancers and music every Thursday February 8-March 8 starting at 5pm! Platypus Brewery is located at 1902 Washington Ave, Suite E, Houston, Texas 77007.


Saturday March 10 at 8pm it’s The Celtic Tenors at Cypress Creek FACE in Spring, TX.  The only tenor group with a truly global audience, The Celtic Tenors will give you a night to remember. An evening with the tenors means a professional, sparkling and most of all, good humoured performance. They genuinely love what they do and you’ll see that shine through in each rendition of beautiful Celtic songs, exhilarating classics, a capellas and popular contemporary songs. Tickets available at cypresscreeekface.org or call (281) 440-4850.


Sunday Afternoon, March 11,2018 from 1-5pm The Houston St. Patrick’s Parade Commission invites you to The Grand Marshal Reception, Honoring The 2018 Grand Marshals Kent Hargett And Michael Martin of Godfrey’s Rangers at The Gorgeous Gael 5555 Morningside In Rice Village.  Featuring Irish Music and Dancing with a Light Buffet And Drink Specials.  This is a good time to relax before parade week starts. Come congratulate Kent And Michael for all the years of service to the Houston St. Patrick’s Parade.


Sunday March 11 @ 2 p.m. it’s the Spring, TX Annual FM 1960 St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The FM 1960 St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held in Spring, just outside of Houston.  The entire family will enjoy the floats, dance troupes, antique cars, marchers,  local businesses and more.


Sunday March 11 @ 4:00pm until 6:00pm at St. Arnold’s Brewery, 2000 Lyons Avenue, Houston, TX 77020 Tickets $40 ($45 at the door).  Join us for our 5th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Fête for a relaxing evening with friends and neighbors! You get to have a wonderful time and help support the DHOH mission making a difference in the lives of Young Adult Cancer Fighters! Enjoy Shepard’s Pie, courtesy of the Bull & Bear Irish Pub, while listening to traditional Irish music by a talented troupe of acoustic musicians.


Friday March 16 at 7pm The Jig is Up! at American Legon Post 49011702 Old Galveston Rd Houston, TX  Age restrictions: All Ages. 281-481-1179. We are proud to be sharing our music with the veterans of South Houston American Legion Post 490 again this year.



  • Saturday March 10 it’s Blaggards back in Houston, TX at Molly’s Pub Downtown. Sat Mar 10 Pimlico Irish Pub, 2:00 PM 810 Waugh Dr Ste 100, Houston, TX 281-974-4038. FREE, ALL AGES
  • ALSO Sat March 10 at 10pm Blaggards will be in a No Cover, 21+ show at Molly’s Pub 509 Main St, Downtown Houston 713-222-1033
  • Sunday March 11 Blaggards at a FREE, ALL AGES show at Canned Acoustica at Discovery Green, 5:00 PM, 1500 McKinney St Houston, TX. Several bands are playing; BLAGGARDS GO ON 8:30-9pm
  • Thursday Mar 15 Blaggards in a 21+ show at Kenneally’s Irish Pub, 7:00 PM 2111 S Shepherd Dr Houston, TX713-630-0486



March 17 from 8am Sunday March 18 at 2pm it’s the St. Patrick’s Day Festival at Lucky’s Pub – Downtown, 801 Saint Emanuel, Houston, TX 77003.  Lucky’s Pub will close the streets to host the area’s largest St. Patrick’s Day Party, which is where the winners of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade floats contest will be announced at Lucky Pub Downtown. The event will feature Irish music, bagpipers, leprechauns, dancing, food and drinks. General admission will be free until noon.


Saturday, March 17 at 10:30 AM – 1:30 PM: University of St. Thomas Annual St. Patrick’s Day Mass and Brunch open to the Public · Hosted by Center for Irish Studies  at the Chapel of St. Basil 1018 W Alabama St, Houston, TX 77006


St. Patrick’s Day Party at Saint Arnold 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM Admission is free, free, free! We’ll have a stage in our front parking lot featuring live music from Murder the Stout, The Real McCoys, Tomfooligans, and Dead Rabbits. Throughout the day, we’ll be releasing special stout beers. Food will be available from food trucks Happy Endings, Sticky’s Chicken, and Oh My Gogi. Our regular beer lineup and commemorative St. Patrick’s Day glassware will also be available. Entertainment includes the World Elevated Beer Pouring Championship and the Donegal Beard Growing Competition. Email josh_nelson@saintarnold.com to enter the competition. 2000 Lyons Ave. Houston, TX 77020


Saturday March 17, St. Patrick’s Day from 11am-4pm it’s  The Jig is Up! at The Gorgeous Gael 5555 Morningside Dr. Houston TX Age restrictions: All Ages.832-667-8321. Come out and hear some great traditional Irish tunes and songs.


11am-2am St. Patrick’s Day at the Duck!  2018 will be McGonigel’s Mucky Duck’s 29th year as Houston’s home for family-friendly St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Food and drink booths outside under a big top tent with fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, beef Guinness, corned beef and cabbage, and, homemade bread pudding with Jameson’s Irish Whiskey Sauce. Entertainment includes Piper Jones Band, Clann Kelly Irish Dancers, Kristin Coyle & The Black Swans, Clandestine, The Here And Now, Frances Cunningham, Drake Irish Dancers, Martin Burniston and more.

There will be two seating times for the reserved area, 11am-4pm and 4:30pm until closing.  For those who purchase the second seating at 4:30pm, your Emerald Reserve Tickets allows for General Admission at 11:00am, your reserved seating will be available at 4:30pm. You must be over 21 for entrance to the Emerald Reserve seating area. http://www.mcgonigels.com/


March 17 @ 12 p.m. 59th Annual Houston St. Patrick’s Parade, 1800 Texas Ave., Houston, TX 77003  The 59th Annual Houston St. Patrick’s Parade will step off at the Clock Tower at MinuteMaid Park on Texas. This year’s parade will be a two-hour event themed “Houston Strong. Irish Proud.” Take the family to enjoy the spectacle of the parade, which will include over 100 entries, including marching bands, graceful Irish step dancers, floats, colorful characters and maybe even a green leprechaun or two. FREE


Griff’s Shenanigans bar brings Music, Beer & Friends. All day & night. Get your tickets early. 3416 Roseland St Houston, TX 77006    p 713.528.9912


1:00 p.m. Houston St Patrick’s Day Weekend Pub Crawl 2018 at 2811 Travis, Houston, TX  77006 $12.95.


Starting at noon: PIMLICO IRISH PUB The St. Patrick’s Day celebration will have live music, real longhorns for photos, bagpipes, green beer, and lots of party favors.  Pimlico Irish Pub is known for the best pint of Guinness in Houston. 810 Waugh Dr | Houston, TX 77019


Saturday March 17th, 2018 from 6:00-8:30pm (Please note the early hour!) Constant Billy joins with our good friends Wylde Meade to bring you the best darn St. Patrick’s Day ever! The mayhem begins at 6pm at our favorite living room, EQ Heights. Will we do some Irish standards? Probably! Will we sing a song or two with Wylde Meade? It is possible! EQ Heights is located at 1030 Heights Boulevard in Houston. They have great food and coffee, and now serve beer and wine also. Call (713) 434-6923 fo mo info. Come get in on the craic!  No cover charge- we’ll pass the hat. Free parking! http://www.constantbilly.com


The Dead Rabbits are also playing March 17-18 at Houston Undrgrnd at Punk Rock Paddy’s Day!  Houston Undrgrnd, 850 McKee, Houston, Texas 77002


There are other events going on in the Houston area, some of which actually have a connection to Ireland or Irish Culture.  A random sample: https://www.eventbrite.com/d/tx–houston/st-patrick-day-parade/



Sunday March 18 at 8:45am  The Jig is Up!  at the Memorial Hermann Half Marathon 2277 Plaza Drive, Sugar Land, TX 77479. No Cover. All Ages. 281-242-7700. Annual St. Patrick’s Day Half-Marathon sponsored by Finish Line Sports. We will serenade the runners and their support staff and fans as they finish the race and assemble for their awards.


Friday March 23 it’s Blaggards at 10:00 at 2-A-Days Sports Bar, 10555 Pearland Pkwy G Houston, TX (713) 991-0453. Age: 21+ .


Thursday March 29th 2018 from 7-8pm Constant Billy returns to Platypus Brewing! Platypus Brewing is located at 1902 Washington Ave Houston TX 77007. They brew terrific beer and have great food also. This is an Irish Social, and it’s a lot of fun. Come have a fresh-brewed beer with Constant Billy! http://www.constantbilly.com


ALSO Thursday, March 29 from 8 PM – 10 PM it’s Hugh Morrison – at the Retrospect Coffee Bar Singer/Songwriter Showcase. Open to the public.  3709 La Branch St, Houston, Texas 77004


Friday March 30 at 8:30 it’s Blaggards again at Mo’s Irish Pub – 14102 Mueschke Rd in Cypress, TX 281-251-0715.  No Cover, Kid Friendly.



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Frank Kelly’s Christmas Countdown

For those of you who enjoy our annual playing of Frank Kelly”s Christmas Countdown…I am putting a download , which is lifted from You Tube, and the written lyrics as well
Happy Christmas from the Irish Aires Crew
Christmas Countdown
Frank Kelly
Day One
Dear Nuala,
Thank you very much for your lovely present of a partridge in a pear-tree
We’re getting the hang of feeding the partridge now,
Although it was difficult at first to win its confidence
It bit the mother rather badly on the hand
But they’re good friends now and we’re keeping the pear-tree indoors in a bucket
Thank you again
Yours affectionately, Gobnait O’Lúnasa
Day Two
Dear Nuala,
I cannot tell you how surprised we were to hear from you so soon again and to receive your lovely present of two turtle doves
You really are too kind
At first the partridge was very jealous
And suspicious of the doves and they had a terrible row the night the doves arrived
We had to send for the vet but the birds are okay again
And the stitches are due to some out in a week or two
The vet’s bill was 8 but the mother is over her annoyance now
And the doves and the partridge are watching the telly from the pear-tree as I write Yours ever, Gobnait
Day Three
Dear Nuala,
We must be foremost in your thoughts
I had only posted my letter when the three French hens arrived
There was another sort-out between the hens and the doves,
Who sided with the partridge, and the vet had to be sent for again
The mother was raging because the bill was 16 this time
But she has almost cooled down
However, the fact that the birds’ droppings keep falling down
On her hair whilen she’s watching the telly, doesn’t help matters
Thanking you for your kindness
I remain, your Gobnait
Day Four
Dear Nuala,
You mustn’t have received my last letter when you were sending us the four calling birds There was pandemonium in the pear-tree again last night and the vet’s bill was 32
The mother is on sedation as I write
I know you meant no harm and remain your close friend
Day Five
Your generosity knows no bounds
Five gold rings! When the parcel arrived I was scared stiff that it might be more birds, because the smell in the living-room is atrocious
However, I don’t want to seem ungrateful for the beautiful rings
Your affectionate friend, Gobnait
Day Six
What are you trying to do to us? It isn’t that we don’t appreciate your generosity
But the six geese have not alone nearly murdered the calling birds
But they laid their eggs on top of the vet’s head
From the pear-tree and his bill was 68 in cash !
My mother is munching 60 grains of Valium a day
And talking to herself in a most alarming way
You must keep your feelings for me in check
Day Seven
We are not amused by your little joke
Seven swans-a-swimming is a most romantic idea but not in the bath of a private house
We cannot use the bathroom now because they’ve gone completely savage
And rush the door every time we try to enter
If things go on this way, the mother and I will smell as bad as the living-room carpet Please lay off It is not fair
Day Eight
Who the hell do you think gave you the right to send eight,
Hefty maids-a-milking here, to eat us out of house and home?
Their cattle are all over the front lawn
And have trampled the hell out of the mother’s rose-beds
The swans invaded the living-room in a sneak attack
And the ensuing battle between them and the calling birds,
Turtle doves, French hens and partridge make the battle
Of the Somme seem like Wanderly Wagon
The mother is on a bottle of whiskey a day, as well as the sixty grains of Valium
I’m very annoyed with you
Day Nine
Listen you looser!
There’s enough pandemonium in this place night and day without nine drummers drumming, while the eight flaming maids-a-milking are beating my poor, old alcoholic mother out of her own kitchen and gobbling everything in sight
I’m warning you, you’re making an enemy of me
Day Ten
Listen manure-face,
I hope you’ll be haunted by the strains of ten pipers piping
Which you sent to torment us last night
They were aided in their evil work by those maniac drummers
And it wasn’t a pleasant sight to look out the window
And see eight hefty maids-a-milking pogo-ing around with the ensuing punk-rock uproar
My mother has just finished her third bottle of whiskey,
On top of a hundred and twenty four grains of Valium
You’ll get yours!
Gobnait O’Lúnasa
Day Eleven
You have scandalized my mother, you dirty Jezebel,
It was bad enough to have eight maids-a-milking dancing to punk music on the front lawn but they’ve now been joined by your friends the eleven Lords-a-leaping
And the antics of the whole lot of them would leave
The most decadent days of the Roman Empire looking like Outlook
I’ll get you yet, you loud bag!
Day Twelve
Listen slurry head,
You have ruined our lives
The twelve maidens dancing turned up last night
And beat the living daylights out of the eight maids-a-milking,
‘Cause they found them carrying on with the eleven Lords-a-leaping
Meanwhile, the swans got out of the living-room,
Where they’d been hiding since the big battle,
And savaged hell out of the Lords and all the Maids
There were eight ambulances here last night, and the local Civil Defence as well
The mother is in a home for the bewildered
And I’m sitting here, up to my neck in birds’ droppings, empty whiskey
And Valium bottles, birds’ blood and feathers,
While the flaming cows eat the leaves off the pear-tree
I’m a broken man
Songwriters: Frank Kelly / Jim Doherty

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Tew Academy’s Becca Bryan brings home World medals

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Sunday, April 23, Becca Bryan, a dancer and assistant instructor at the Tew Academy of Irish Dance, competed at the 2017 World Irish Dance Championships in Killarney, Ireland and brought home medals and a 15th place finish out of a large pool of very talented dancers.

Congratulations to her on a great performance!

For more about the Tew Academy of Irish Dance, visit their website at http://www.tewacademy.org.

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Martin McGuinness: Sinn Féin politician dies aged 66

BBC March 21, 2017

Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland’s former deputy first minister, has died aged 66.

It is understood he had been suffering from a rare heart condition. His funeral will be in Derry on Thursday.

The former IRA leader turned peacemaker worked at the heart of the power-sharing government following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

The Queen is sending a private message to Mr McGuinness’ widow, Buckingham Palace confirmed.

Among the seismic moments in his time in government was the famous handshake with the Queen in 2012 and a toast to her Majesty at Windsor Castle.

Mr. McGuinness became deputy first minister in 2007, standing alongside Democratic Unionist Party leaders Ian Paisley, Peter Robinson and Arlene Foster.

He died in the early hours of Tuesday in a Derry hospital with his family by his side.

The Northern Ireland Assembly will be recalled on Wednesday due to Mr McGuinness’ death. “Bogside Republicans never retire,” a defiant but tearful Martin McGuinness told his supporters on the night he called time on his political career.

He never travelled far from his roots but his political journey took him far beyond the comfort of Derry’s Bogside.

But Sinn Féin’s one-time chief negotiator always found his toughest negotiation was with his own people, especially in his home city where he faced threats from dissident republican


A visibly ailing Mr McGuinness stood down from his post in January to protest against the DUP’s handling of an energy scandal, in a move that triggered a snap election.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said: “Throughout his life Martin showed great determination, dignity and humility and it was no different during his short illness.

‘Historic contribution’

“He was a passionate republican who worked tirelessly for peace and reconciliation and for the re-unification of his country. But above all he loved his family and the people of Derry and he was immensely proud of both.”

Prime Minister Theresa May said although she could never “condone the path he took in the earlier part of his life, Martin McGuinness ultimately played a defining role in leading the republican movement away from violence”.

“In doing so, he made an essential and historic contribution to the extraordinary journey of Northern Ireland from conflict to peace,” she added.

Colin Parry, whose 12-year-old son, Tim, died in an IRA bomb in Warrington in 1993, said although he did not forgive the IRA or Martin McGuinness, he found him a man who was “sincere in his desire for peace”.

Julie Hambleton, whose sister, Maxine, was one of the 21 people killed in the Birmingham pub bombings in 1974, said “with his death, the truth is buried”.

“Mr McGuinness was very fortunate because he was able to live a full life unlike my sister, unlike 20 other victims and unlike so many other thousands of people who were murdered.”

No-one knows how many people Martin McGuinness killed, directly or indirectly.

As a senior commander in the Provisional IRA for many years, there is no doubt there was blood on his hands.

Security sources say he went on to become chief of staff of the organisation from the early 1980s, right through until the end of the IRA’s campaign of violence.

Nothing happened in Derry without him knowing.

Northern Ireland’s Chief Constable George Hamilton said: “Our society suffered grievously throughout our troubled history; and many police officers and their families are among those who suffered.

“Martin’s journey in life challenges all of us who care about the future; to be prepared to change; to demonstrate leadership; and to work to understand the world, not just from our own perspective, but from the perspectives of everyone in our community.”

Northern Ireland’s former first minister Arlene Foster expressed her “sincere condolences” at his death.

‘Personal journey’

“Today’s news will come as a shock to many people,” she said.

“First and foremost, Martin McGuinness was a much loved husband, father and grandfather. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife and the family circle at this very painful time of grief and loss.”

Northern Ireland Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, said Mr. McGuinness’ “personal journey and the clear influence he had on others in the republican movement were instrumental in shaping political institutions in Northern Ireland founded on exclusively peaceful and democratic means”.

Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Enda Kenny said his passing represented a “significant loss, not only to politics in Northern Ireland, but to the wider political landscape on this island and beyond”.

The Democratic Unionist Party MP, Nigel Dodds, survived an IRA gun attack in Belfast in 1996 as he was visiting his sick child in hospital.

“We can’t forget his past. He himself didn’t forget his past. This will also be a difficult day for victims. But he did help move people forward when it comes to the peace process,” he said.

Martin McGuinness grew up in Derry’s Bogside, radicalised, he said, by discrimination and murder on the streets of his city.

In 1972, at the age of 21, he was second-in-command of the IRA in Derry at the time of Bloody Sunday, when 14 civil rights protesters were killed in the city by soldiers.

He had a leading role in the IRA during a time when the paramilitary organisation was bombing his home city.

He was convicted by the Republic of Ireland’s Special Criminal Court after being arrested near a car containing explosives and ammunition. He served two prison sentences – he was also convicted of IRA membership.

But his leadership potential was spotted early and he was just 22 when he and Gerry Adams were flown to London for secret talks with the British government: MI5 considered him serious officer material with strategic vision.

He claimed he made the transition to politics when he left the IRA in 1974 but security experts believe he was still a leader during some of the organisation’s most notorious attacks in the mid 1980s.

The years that followed saw the IRA hunger strikes, the Brighton bombing when Margaret Thatcher and the Tory Party conference were targeted and the Enniskillen bomb in 1987, in which 11 people died.

The shift to politics came slowly. Martin McGuinness was chief negotiator in the blossoming peace process and took on the post of education minister.

By 2007, he was Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister standing alongside First Minister Ian Paisley. The two forged an unlikely alliance – but they were working together for the same goal.

He worked alongside DUP first minister Peter Robinson and, until January, was in office with Arlene Foster.

In recent years, he said: “My war is over. My job as a political leader is to prevent that war and I feel very passionate about it.”


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