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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Father Flanagan's Ireland​ Birthplace of a Dream

Long before he rose to prominence and attained international acclaim for his revolutionary work with America's abandoned and orphaned children, Father Edward Flanagan was an Irish farm lad, growing up in the emerald pastures of his homeland, learning the lessons of life on a parent's knee and in nature's bosom.

Born into a large and loving family, Father Flanagan's childhood was one of stories and songs, work and wonder. Edward was the “little shepherd boy," keeping watch as sheep and cattle grazed the gentle slopes and lush valleys near the village of Ballymoe. Remarking on his rural upbringing, Father Flanagan fondly recalled a life “full of beauty and loveliness."

Now, in Father Flanagan's Ireland, Birthplace of a Dream, photographer Michael Buckley's vivid and poignant images capture those pristine landscapes and ancient edifices that were young Edward's constant companions more than a century ago and which retain their unspoiled splendor today. The weathered limestone of his birthplace; the waterlogged lands where his tender hands gathered peat; the rock altars where his ancestors found spiritual sustenance; the schools where faith and fact converged; the rivers and fields where God's handiwork blossomed; and the villages where inequality and opportunity ​merged.

In the heart of the Irish countryside, in spaces that have inspired generations of artists, poets, and philosophers, the seeds of Father Flanagan's virtuous life were sown. This photographic journey is an illuminating and intimate look at the Ireland of the great priest's youth, the land where he lived and labored, the land where he is remembered and revered.

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About the Authors
MICHAEL (MIKE) BUCKLEY has worked as Boys Town's photographer for fifteen years. From posed portraits to candid snapshots, he captures and preserves a visual record of Boys Town's organizational history. Buckley earned degrees in history and photojournalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

THOMAS LYNCH has worked at Boys Town for thirty years and currently serves as the director of the Boys Town Hall of History and Community Programs. Lynch, who earned his degree in history from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, also heads the organization's volunteer program and was responsible for gathering documentation in support of the cause for canonization of Boys Town's founder, Father Edward​