Famous old homes for Irish village
SeÃ¡n O'Driscoll, in New York
Developers of a $17 million Irish village in upstate New York have said that they plan to recreate New York Governor Mr George Pataki's ancestral cottage on the site next year.
The cottage will be one of 32, one for each Irish county, which will be modelled on the ancestral homes of famous Americans, including presidents Kennedy, Regan and Clinton.
The centre will also have an 1860s replica Irish village, as well as a separate area of shops staffed by actors in period costume.
The developers of the non-profit Michael J. Quill Irish Cultural and Sports Centre will also be meeting in New York city this month to decide on a design for a tribute to Irish police, fire service and emergency service personnel to be built on the site.
The 130-acre East Durham park will be in the district of Irish-American Congressman Mr John Sweeney, who is currently seeking $3 million in federal funds for the project.
Other funding will come from 170,000 bricks offered to the public. These will be laid on a platform created in the shape of Ireland. Each county will be marked by its flag colours, and the Quill Centre hopes that Irish-American families will purchase bricks to put on their ancestral county.
The bricks, at $100 each, will cover most of the cost of the project if sold in sufficient quantities.
In preparation for recreating the homes of famous Irish-Americans, Governor Pakati's mother, Margaret, has displayed plans of a house in Co Louth where her mother lived.
The president of the Quill Centre, Mr Ken Dudley, said that thatchers had already begun working on the park, and the developers would research the homes of others famous Irish-Americans.
"We're hoping to recreate the homes of some famous actors and actresses. Some of the famous Irish companies; we're hoping they will get involved as well."
Mr Dudley said the park would be marked by three different parts - the ancestral homes of famous Irish-Americans, the 1860s village, and the shops recreating old Irish streets.
"I try to say that there are actually three Irish villages," he said. "The first one is the living, historical Irish village depicting life between 1860 and 1870, and that's going to be acting out life as it happened; there will be people dressed in costumes. It will be like Williamsburg in Virginia or Bunratty in Clare. That should be finished in 2007, depending on the success on the fundraising.
"We got $500,000 from federal money last year, and that's going to be a little shopping outlet. We should have that open by next year."
Other funding will come from the federal budget and private donations.
"This is a very big undertaking," Mr Dudley said. "Everyone on the board is a volunteer, and we have a small staff that we are developing now. We have another $650,000 in the pipeline that we are waiting to receive."