Just a few months before his assassination, John F. Kennedy made the first trip by a sitting U.S. President to Ireland. For an Irish Catholic, it was a bit of a homecoming. The Irish greeted him as their hero.
The Winter Oylmpics are just days away and people are still considering how Russia's social and political situation will influence the games. In Sochi, where the games are being held, the town's mayor asserted that gay people are welcome at the games, provided they follow the country's strict laws, but they won't find any local gay people. That claim was quickly disproven. That story and more in today's Global Scan.
Roddy Doyle made a splash in the mid-1980s with his first novel, The Commitments. He then took those characters on two more journeys with The Snapper and then The Van. Afterwards, he put them on a shelf for more than 20 years. But Ireland's recent economic crisis brought him back to the world of Jimmy Rabbitte's Dublin in a new novel called The Guts.
During a wedding in Ireland last year, Father Ray Kelly stepped to the microphone and sang a version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." One attendee posted the performance on You Tube, and now Kelly has a record contract and his debut album has been released.
Hare Squead is a hip-hop trio based in Dublin. They're first generation immigrants from Africa who happened to run into each other while skateboarding in Ireland's capital. Just two years later they're one of the hottest acts around.
Irish voters approved a constitutional ban on abortion in 1983. Thousands of Irish women have traveled abroad for the procedure since then — and there's a new movement to get them to tell their stories.