Living History, — March 26, 2009 10:01 — 0 Comments

Dan Rooney, US Ambassador

We welcome the appointment as United States Ambassador to Ireland of honorary Meadow man Dan Rooney. It is of course, after the Rooney family that our estate was originally named Rooney’s Meadow.

Dan has many times visited our Community Centre at Whitegates, as guest of the local Community Association.


It was presumably in this area of town that Dan’s great-great grandfather James Rooney was born to James and Margaret (Connolly) Rooney way back in 1829 for he later owned an iron foundry in nearby Edward Street.  When that finally closed in the first year of the Great Famine, he went to Wales to work in an ironworks there.


Following Dan Rooney’s line back, we find that his great grandfather Arthur was born in Wales a few years later to the wife of younger James mentioned above. The said Arthur, at the early aged of 22 married Catherine Regan of similar age in Ebbw Vale in Wales and worked as an ironruffer in the ironworks of Squire Moran.


In turn, our new Ambassador’s Grandfather, Daniel was born to the last-named couple on 25 September 1874 at 73 Forge Row, Ebbw Vale. The memory of the family’s Irish heritage and links with the town of Newry, and with The Meadow, were kept alive with fond familial stories. Also visits were made to surviving family there.


Grandfather Daniel Rooney emigrated to the United States where, with his Irish wife, he came to own a pub there. They had nine children one of whom was Arthur J Rooney, the Ambassador’s father. It was he who in 1933 founded the Pittsburgh Steelers. He had five sons and the eldest Dan was born in Pittsburgh on 20 July 1932.


Our own Daniel M (Dan) Rooney, principal shareholder and President of the Pittsburgh Steelers American Football Club was appointed Ambassador to Ireland by President Barack Obama at the White House on 17 March 2009.

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