This site includes the postings from the Irish Aires email list. This includes a listing of Irish/Celtic events in the Houston area and other information that the Irish Aires radio program posts.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Ann Ivins Tuam Herald Memorial

(Poster's Note: Thanks to Lyn Brogan of the Irish Society for passing this on to us. Ann was a great friend to Bertha & myself, as she was to many others in the Irish American community in Houston. We were some of those friends who had the pleasure of being together with herself & Len in Houston & in Ireland. We miss her very much! Jay & Bertha Dooling) ********************************** This article appeared in the Tuam Herald and was written by David Burke, one of Ann's friends in Ireland, who is owner and editor of the Tuam Herald. He wrote this after her memorial service on Galway Bay The text from the article appears below. Warm Regards, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year, Len Ivins ---- Farewell to a real Southern lady ANYONE who reads for pleasure will be familiar with the notion of the Southern belle. She is a native of the southern states of the USA, where the climate is benign and the pace of life is slow. At her best she is a beautiful, well brought up woman, intelligent and gracious, welcoming and quietly efficient, accomplished in many arts, not the least of which is hospitality. In a word, she is charming. The self-willed, self- centered, self-absorbed Scarlett O'Hara she is not. Few of us have the opportunity to meet this paragon face to face, but I count myself among that happy number. The first time I met this Southern lady was far from her native soil Ñ it was in St. Mary's Cathedral, Tuam, and I think it was at a service to commemorate the Famine, or some other event with a historical connection. Her name was Ann Caraway Ivins, and she was in Tuam because a famous ancestor of hers came from these parts. He was Dick Dowling, the hero of the Battle of Sabine Pass during the American Civil War in September 1863. I had already heard of Dowling, and had published one or two pieces about him, prompted at first by the late Tess Dowling of Kilbannon, who claimed him as an ancestral connection. So Ann and I had something to discuss, and it quickly became apparent that one of the central driving forces of her life was to research her illustrious great-granduncle as deeply as could be. In the years that followed Ann and her husband Len visited Ireland at least once every year. They had a timeshare in a cottage near Barna, and from there they ranged the length and breadth of the country, often with friends from Houston, where Ann was born and which Len, a northerner, came to call home. The story of Dick Dowling has been told several times in these pages, and for me by far the most enjoyable of these was the report that resulted from a trip to Houston to attend the annual re-enactment of the battle at Sabine, a small community on the estuary of the Sabine River on the Gulf of Mexico. Thanks to Ann's enthusiasm and contacts I had the run of the battlefield with my camera, while all the other spectators were confined behind safety barriers. I was able to get close to the three cannon which were being fired at regular intervals towards a replica gunboat. Everything about this exercise was authentic, from the uniforms to the black powder to the ramrods and sponges, except for the absence of cannonballs. The days that followed were filled with visits to other historical Texan sites, from Galveston to the Battleship Texas to the Houston Space Museum. I met many of the friends of Ann and Len, and experienced real southern hospitality in their home and elsewhere. I left with a sense of having been much more than a transient visitor with a camera and a notebook, but a friend, and in the years that followed that friendship was built on at gatherings in Tuam and Barna, and when I had the pleasure of sharing lecture platforms with her in Tuam and in the Curragh Camp to speak about the re-enactments and the cannon drills. The most recent meeting was a year or so ago, when Ann visited Galway Bay for the last time. We drank a toast to the memory of another of her Irish friends, Joe O'Halloran, editor of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Journal: we knew then that she was ill, but little did we think that the next glass we would raise in that place would be to her memory. Ann died at 4 a.m. on June 18 of this year in Las Vegas, Nevada. Despite her illness, she had insisted on flying there to fulfill a long-standing commitment for her son Michael's birthday and her nephew Philip's graduation. That was the kind of determination that characterized all she did. There was a Mass for her in St. Basil's Chapel at the University of St. Thomas in Houston in August, and at the end of October her Irish and English friends gathered in Furbo Church to pray for her soul and share their memories, before some of her ashes were scattered on Galway Bay. The celebrant was the parish priest emeritus of Spiddal, Fr. Tom Kyne, a native of Corner Chapel, near Headford, and a man beloved of generations of students from his time as chaplain in UCG. He used the beautiful image of the clim'n, the day's gathering of seaweed being towed out behind the boat on the evening tide, to illustrate the journey through life. After the Mass Ann was remembered by Dr. Tony Claffey of Tuam, who recalled first hearing of her while he was researching Dick Dowling in 1994. His letter of inquiry was answered in an hour-long phone call from Houston. Tony went on to say: "Never was a query more enthusiastically and comprehensively answered. In the decade that elapsed since then Ann related the story of Dick Dowling to many in Ireland through the spoken and written word. Her lecture to the Old Tuam Society was soon followed by her successive unveiling of a plaque (on the Town Hall) and a painting of Dowling. Ann went on to find with Tony Claffey Dick Dowling's birthplace at Knock, Milltown, on a day which ended in driving rain but which she described as one of the happiest of her life. Other tributes were paid by Tim Collins, a fellow historian and medical librarian at NUI, Galway, and by Barbara Haworth, who with her husband Brian had become friends with the Ivinses in England and ended up traveling often to meet them in Ireland. Ann was proud to be a native Houstonian, and a sixth generation Texan on her paternal side. Her great-great-grandfather was Nathaniel Jackson Caraway, a Major in the Confederate States Army. He was Oran M. Roberts' aide-de-camp and was mortally wounded in the Battle of Jenkins Ferry in Arkansas in May 1864. The connection with Major Richard William Dick Dowling, C.S.A., was on her maternal side. She was educated in Houston and graduated from St. Agnes' Academy in 1965. She completed a B.A. degree in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin, an Associate's degree in Real Estate Management from San Antonio College, and an M.B.A. from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. A busy woman, she worked in the real estate industry in San Antonio and in Houston where she was a broker associate with Madeline O'Brien Realtors for several years. Up to their retirement in 1996 she was deeply involved in the very successful development business she owned with Len. At the time of her untimely death she was still working on a book on Dowling's life, which she had brought to an advanced stage before she died, and which will be completed and published. Her biography of Dick Dowling was included in the 2001 Houston Independent School District's Ireland Curriculum Guide. She was active in several Irish and Texan historical groups, a board member of The Irish Society; a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Robert E. Lee Chapter in Houston; a board member of the Harris County Historical Society, and an appointed member of the Harris County Historical Commission. She was also a member of the Old Tuam Society and the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society. The person who knew her best was her husband Len, who told the congregation that Ann was the great gift that God had given him in his life. He said "In a much complicated, exposed and traveled life, I have never met a finer human being than Ann. She was warm, loving, fair, sensitive, intelligent and effervescent ... she simply made me the happiest man on the face of the earth." She is survived by Len, by their son Michael, by four children and eleven grandchildren by marriage, and by friends in the USA, England, and Ireland who will always count themselves lucky to have known this quintessential Southern lady. David Burke **********************************
We should honor her memory as the 2005 G
We should honor her memory as the 2005 St Patrick's Day Parade Grand Marshall in abstentia.....
You are exactly right. The Parade will be dedicated to her memory, as will the Emerald Ball on which she frequently worked.

This year is the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the Dick Dowling Statue. The ceremonies this year will be dedicated to her memory.

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