Irish-American Heritage Month Spotlight: Peter McAlevey

Name and occupation:

Peter McAlevey, Motion Picture Producer and former correspondent for Newsweek

What do you love most about being of Irish heritage?

Being born a Catholic…and a Democrat!

Can you tell us any interesting Irish history facts?

1.)    In Gaelic (both the Irish and Scottish versions) the “Mick” prefix means “son of.” Just as in Sweden, say, Swenson means “Swen’s son” or in old England, “Johnson” meant “John’s son,”  in Gaelic, my name,  McAlevey means that back there a couple of centuries ago a guy named “Levy” washed up in Dublin (probably an impressed sailor from the Spanish Armada, much of which grounded on the Irish coast) and had a kid, hence named “Mc-A-Levy” or son of a Levy.

2.)    If it had been Scotland, it would have been “MacAlevey”—Irish use “Mc”; Scots “Mac.” (MacGeorge would be a “son of George” in Edinborough!)

3.)    The Armada wasn’t the last Navy to wash up in Ireland, of course. Steven Speilberg used the undeveloped south coast to double for the Normandy of 1944 in both “Saving Private Ryan” and his HBO epic “Band of Brothers.”

4.)    Not far away, however, the beautiful seaside around West Cork has, over the last decade, become the sort of Hamptons of nearby London (just a short hop over the Irish  Sea), attracting film stars and directors, theater heavies and, of course, just like the Hamptons “The City” investment backers.  It has all the same problems as the Hamptons as well, with the newcomers driving up property prices and forcing the locals out!

5.)    American’s use the phrase “beyond the Pale” all the time to mean behavior too far out there to be believed. Little do they know that this once meant something very special to the Irish. After the British brutally colonized the Irish, the natives rose up in rebellion. So wild were they, and so fearless, that the English colonists eventually retreated to an area around Dublin, where to this day stand there former Great Houses, the Guinness brewery and other signs to the Irish enslavement. Why? Because the government in London was so afraid of the Irish locals that they promised the colonists that the could only protect them if they lived in a half-circle on the map inscribed 60 miles out from the Dublin. Anything beyond that, the English government told it’s people, and they couldn’t protect them—they were living “beyond the Pale,” which is what the half-circle described.

Who or what inspires you most?

James Joyce I supposed—when I was a student, I twice lectured on him at Trinity College, Dublin. It was a bit like carrying coals to Newcastle—imagine, an American telling the Irish about their national hero!

Something about you that would surprise us:

In Northern Ireland, of course, where my family is from, gambling is legal, as it is in Britian. Should you go to a casino there to this day, look at the bottom of a book of matches and, at least the last time any of us were there, it still says “A McAlevey establishment.” My great uncle Hugh was sort of what Howard Hughes was to Las Vegas, the gambling king of Belfast. Unfortunately, like Hughes, he died leaving no heirs.


  • Irish-American Heritage Month Spotlight: Michael J. Larkin (
  • Irish-American Heritrage Month Spotlight: Belinda Blakley (

Amy Winehouse: What Your Reaction to Her Death Means to Me


(Real Quotes from around the web)

  • What a waste of talent!

  • I’m not surprised she’s dead!

  • It’s her own fault!

  • I guess she should of gone to Rehab!

  • Fuck Amy Winehouse!

So many of you have become uncaring, unsympathetic, and desensitized to death, especially celebrity deaths. What if Amy Winehouse were your relative? Would you still feel the same way?

So what she has a song called Rehab where she talks about avoiding getting help with her real life drug addition. Addiction is a disease that millions of people all over the world are suffering from. Some will get clean and some will not. It’s not humorous to make fun of or disrespect anyone that has passed on from a drug overdose.

So what you are an ex addict that was able to beat your demon. Congratulations, you obviously have a wonderful support system and are a much stronger person than Amy and all the other people who have succumb to addiction.

Lastly, Amy Winehouse has family and close friends who are devastated and will miss her dearly. If you don’t give a damn about Amy, at least think of her family.

Note: The cause of her death has not yet been confirmed.

Here’s the music video for her song, You Know I’m No Good. Since she warned us she was trouble, is this also an indication that we should not care?