Irish Rising in America

The 2003 Irish Tour of America


On Tuesday, March 25, the three winners fly from Dublin to Portland.

On Thursday, March 27 the NPDA National tournament begins and goes through Sunday, March 30. The Irish are hosted by Brent Northup during the tournament.

On Sunday night, March 30 Kara Heinrichs of Seattle University will take the Irish to dinner and drive them to Seattle.

On Monday, March 31, the Irish will be site-seeing downtown Seattle.  Then in the evening going to dinner with Bill Purcell from Seattle Pacific University, and then participate in a public debate on campus.

On Tuesday, April 1, William Purcell will take the Irish around Seattle to the Space Needle, Ballard Locks, and the Experience Music Project.  In the evening they will participate in a debate with Seattle University.

On Wednesday, April 2, Gary Gillespie will pick the Irish up and take them to the Boeing Flight Museum, Snoqualmie Falls, and the Microsoft campus.  Later that evening they will participate in a debate at Northwest College’s campus.

On Thursday morning, April 3, the Irish will depart for Dallas, Texas and be hosted by Southern Methodists University.  That evening they will participate in a public debate at the University of Dallas.

On Friday, April 4, the Irish will participate in a public debate at Southern Methodists University.  In the afternoon they will go site seeing.

On Saturday, April 5, the Irish will depart for Iowa City, Iowa.  That evening they will participate in a debate against Iowa’s International team.

On Sunday, April 6, the Irish are invited to judge or observe a high school debate and later in the afternoon visit a Mennonite community.

On Monday, April 7, the Irish will depart for Chicago and DePaul University.  In Chicago they will tour the Sears Towers, the Navy Pier, and the Art Institute.

On Tuesday, April 8, the Irish will tour DePaul University and have an evening debate.

On Wednesday, April 9, the Irish will be hosted by Carroll alum Katie Neff, who will show them Chicago night life. Neff is a member of Second City Comedy Workshop.

On Thursday, April 10, the Irish will depart for Dublin.

Irish Tour of America, arranged by Pax Rhetorica
Center for Global Dialogue
EIN: 81-1274216
Brent Northup, Founding Director


Introducing the Irish: Leo Mulrooney, Colm Coyne & Alison McIntyre 

Three college students from Dublin won the Irish Times Debate Championship held Friday night at Trinity College Dublin. Leo Mulrooney, Colm Coyne and Alison McIntyre will receive a tour of America as a prize – and will be the featured attraction at the NPDA banquet at the national tournament.

Leo Mulrooney: Leo Mulrooney, 20, is a junior at University College Dublin majoring in law. He intends to serve as a barrister in Ireland. Mulroney grew up in Dublin.

Colm Coyne: Colm Coyne, 27, is in his final year at University College Dublin with a joint major in economics and politics. He intends to continue study in graduate school, anticipating a career in politics or journalism. Coyne grew up in Clonmel, in southeast Ireland, where his family runs a restaurant.

Alison McIntyre: Alison McIntyre, 20 is a junior from Trinity College Dublin majoring in English with a minor in history. She anticipates further study in journalism or archaeology. McIntyre is from Meath, about 20 miles north of Dublin.


All three have extensive debate experience. Mulrooney has competed at the University Worlds Championship the past two years. Coyne was an Irish Times semi-finalist the past two years before winning this year. McIntyre was also an Irish Times semi finalist two years ago – and was part of the Irish team that finished in the top 10 at the World Schools Debating Competition in 2000.

Coyne will be making his first trip to the United States, but both McIntyre and Mulrooney have visited the states before.

The three Irish champions will be featured in an exhibition debate at the banquet that precedes the NPDA national tournament. They will debate Kyle DeBeer of Colorado College, Michael Owens of Wyoming and Mikel Steinfeld of Northern Arizona University.

All three were in shock on the night of their Irish victory. Twelve students took part in the final round, with two selected as ”team champions” (Mulrooney/Coyne) and one selected as the best individual (McIntyre). The announcement of the win brought a full auditorium of observers to their feet to cheer. The Irish take their debating seriously.

The topic of the final debate asked the students to assess whether or not history would ”judge harshly” the most recent decade of Irish development and growth.

The winners are eager for their trip to America.

”I’m delighted and can’t wait,” said McIntyre, who has never visited a city that wasn’t in the Eastern time zone.

”I’m really looking forward to meeting y’all,” laughed Mulrooney, not sounding convincingly Texan.

”I’m horrified and appalled,” said Coyne, with a sly grin. ”It was an obvious fix, and an indictment of the Irish debating world.”

Both Coyne and Mulrooney are part of the Literary and Historical Society of University College Dublin, the society of James Joyce.

None of the three has ever been skiing, so a trip to the slopes is on the schedule as part of their trip. ”No sense in seeing American beaches in winter,” they laughed.