Many of the 35 million Americans of Irish descent are here due to the worst famine to hit Europe in the 19th century, the Irish potato famine.
It drove more than a million people to flee mass starvation, many climbing aboard ships they hoped would ferry them to a better life in the New World. But the fate they would meet on what came to be known as "coffin ships" was often as grim or worse than the fate they were leaving behind; 100,000 passengers didn't survive the journey.
Toyo Ito, a 71-year-old architect based in Japan, is the winner of the 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize. The jury honored Ito for his more than four-decade career, in which he has created architecture that "projects an air of optimism, lightness and joy ... infused with both a sense of uniqueness and universality."
The scene of a car bomb explosion near the headquarters of Syria's ruling Baath party, in the center of Damascus, on Feb. 21. While the city is not involved in the fighting on a daily basis, the war is edging closer to the capital.
Credit Courtesy of author
Members of the government security forces relax at a cafe. Daily life carries on in Damascus two years after the uprising began.
Credit Joseph Eid / AFP/Getty Images
Supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad stage a rally in central Damascus on Feb. 12.
Originally published on Sun March 17, 2013 11:59 am
Editor's Note: The author is a Syrian citizen living in Damascus and is not being further identified for safety concerns.
In Damascus, you can smell the scent of gunpowder that wafts in from shelling on the outskirts of the capital. You hear fighter jets buzzing above. Ambulance sirens wail throughout the day, and death notices are regularly plastered on city walls.
Damascus is not under direct bombardment, like many other places in Syria that have been ravaged by an uprising now two years old. But the war is creeping closer, and residents feel the heat.
St. Patrick's Day in New York now means parades and green beer. But 50 years ago, it also meant green matzo balls at the annual banquet of the Loyal League of Yiddish Sons of Erin. The league was a fraternal organization of Irish-born Jews.
The major migration of Jews to Ireland started in the 1880s and '90s, says Hasia Diner, who teaches history and Judaic studies at New York University. Thousands moved, primarily from Lithuania.
Diner says the first generation of Irish Jews mostly worked as peddlers. But by the 20th century, peddlers became business owners.