Monday, May 29, 2017
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Senate President Stan Rosenberg
Massachusetts State Senate President Stan Rosenberg and members of the senate presented a recitation of excerpts from native son President John F. Kennedy, presented in his City on a Hill speech, spoken on the eve of his inauguration as the 35th President of the United States, given at the House of Representatives Chamber.
The recitation was created as part of the St. Patrick's Day festivites, and honors the centennial of President Kennedy's birthday of May 29, 1917, which is being celebrated this year by the John F. Kennedy Library and others throughout the Commonwealth.
Find year round information on the Irish in Massachusetts at IrishMassachusetts.com.
A group of Irish musicians, storytellers and comedians entertained the inmates at Charlestown Prison on March 15, 1918, according to a story in The Boston Globe.
Among the performers was uilleann piper Shaun O'Nolan (1871-1941), a recording artist on Columbia Records and a well-known piper in the Boston area for many years.
"Shaun O'Nolan, the Wicklow Piper, kept his audience in laughter for a full half-hour with his fund of Irish stories, sogs, wreading and Irish bagpipe selections."
Other acts include a piano solo by Mrs. A.W. McMunn, the St. James Auartet, a reading by C.A. Birmingham of John Boyle O'Reilly's poem, "Bohemia," and a monologue by Miss Katherine Hanley.
Humorist Billy Troy "sang a solo and told stories in Scotch, Italian and Irish dialects."
Find more about Boston Irish history at IrishHeritageTrail.com.
Saturday, March 18, 2017
Logan was the son of Lawrence Logan and Catherine O'Connor from Ballygar, County Galway, according to historian Michael J. Cummings. The Logan family lived on East Broadway in South Boston.
The Logan statue is part of Boston's Irish Heritage Trail, a collection of public landmarks, memorials, buildings and statues that tell the story of the Boston Irish from the 1700s to the present.
Find year round information on Boston's Irish community at IrishBoston.org.
In October, 1768, the British sent 4,000 troops to Boston after local citizens objected to a series of British taxes on the populace. This only led to increased tensions between British authority and colonial Boston. That tension escalated and came to a head in April 1775 during the Battles of Lexington and Concord, followed by the Battle of Bunker Hill in June 1775.
General Henry Knox played a key role in ending the British occupation of
Boston. The 25 year old Bostonian hatched a plan to capture the cannons at Fort Ticonderoga in New York, wheel them 300 miles to Boston. His plan was to position the cannons atop Dorchester Heights in South Boston and aim them at the British fleet in . Boston Harbor
General Henry Knox played a key role in ending the British occupation of
General George Washington gave him the go-ahead, despite objections from his senior command, and Knox set off with a group of men and captured 59 canons in December, and dragged them across the frozen landscape of western
Massachusetts, finally arriving in Cambridge on January 24. On March 5, British General Howe saw the guns aiming down at his fleet, and by March 17, 1776, the British troops, along with their sympathizers, evacuated Boston. George Washington later named Knox the first U.S. Secretary of War.
Read the full story on Henry Knox in Mass Moments.
For more about Boston Irish history, visit IrishHeritageTrail.com.
Saturday, March 4, 2017
Boston Massacre Memorial on Boston Common
The Boston Massacre took place on March 6,1770, and is said to have sparked the American Revolution. The episode took place when British troops fired into a crowd of Bostonians; four people were killed and a fifth victim died a few days later. The shooting came after a tense week of acrimony between Bostonians and the British soldiers, which included a fist fight in a local tavern, small skirmishes on the streets and taunting threats by both sides.
There are several interesting Irish connections to the Boston Massacre:
. The soldiers involved were from the 29th British regiment, led by Captain Thomas Preston. The regiment was mostly Irish soldiers who had been conscripted, often against their will. The names of the troops involved in the shooting were William Wemms, James Hartigan, William McCauley, Matthew Kilroy, William Warren, John Carroll and Hugh Montgomery.
. It was Captain Preston who ordered his men to present arms to keep the crowd at bay, but the taunting continued. Only years later was it revealed that the person who yelled out the fatal call to fire on the citizens was Montgomery.
. Thirty-one year old Patrick Carr, an Irish sailor who had come out of a house on Court Street and was moving toward the ruckus with fellow sailor Charles Connor, was the last man to be shot. He lingered for a few days and was able to give dying testimony that ultimately exonerated the soldiers. Carr and the other four victims are buried at the Old Granary Burying Ground.
. As the trial of Preston and his men loomed, an anti-Catholic dimension emerged. The Boston Gazette revealed that many of the soldiers the British sent to Boston were Irish Catholics, while the Providence Gazette suggested that Pope's Day, a virulent anti-Catholic event, should take place on the anniversary of the Boston Massacre so as to include Preston and the others in the effigy burning.
. The famous drawing of the Boston Massacre by engraver Paul Revere was actually done by 21 year old Henry Pelham, half brother of artist John Singleton Copley. Their mother, Mary Singleton Copley, had emigrated to Boston from County Clare in Ireland in 1736. Pelham was furious when he learned that his friend Revere had used his illustration without Pelham's permission.
. Over a century after the Massacre, in 1888, the Boston Massacre Memorial was unveiled on Boston Common, Irish-born poet John Boyle O'Reilly was selected to write and deliver a poem for the ceremony. The memorial was created by sculptor Robert Krauss.
The Bostonian Society at the Old State House has a full day of indoor activities on Saturday, March 4, 2017, to commemorate this historical event. Due to the severe cold weather today, the outdoor reenactment of the shooting is not taking place.
For more about Boston's Irish history, visit IrishHeritageTrail.com.
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Irish poet, lyricist and musician Thomas Moore, who wrote compelling lyrics to many of Ireland's ancient melodies, died on this day on February 25, 1852.
His ten-volume collection of Moore's Melodies, published between 1808 and 1834, helped revitalize interest in Irish music that was in danger of being marginalized and forgotten.
For a fuller story on Moore's life and achievements, read Ireland's Minstrel Boy Gets His Encore in the Irish Echo.
In Boston, Moore's Melodies quickly found their way into the city's musical community; with several of his songs published as early as 1811. His songs, especially Last Rose of Summer, were performed as part of Boston's musical repertoire by famous visiting performers like singer Jenny Lind and violinist Ole Bull.
Upon learning of his death in 1852, Patrick Donahoe and other Boston leaders formed a Thomas Moore Club to perpetuate his music. In 1869, Patrick S. Gilmore featured Moore's songs in the National Peace Jubilee, alongside composers like Handel and Mozart.
In 1879, on the 100th anniversary of Moore's birth, poet John Boyle O'Reilly presided over a banquet at the Parker House honoring his fellow-countryman. O'Reilly called Moore "an original poet of splendid imagination.....he found scattered over Ireland, mainly hidden in the cabins of the poor, pieces of antique gold, inestimable jewels that were purely Irish....These jewels were the old Irish airs - those exquisite fabrics which Moore raised into matchless beauty in his delicious melodies."
For more about Boston's Irish heritage, visit IrishHeritageTrail.com.
To find year round cultural activities as well as pubs and restaurants, gift shops, hotels, museums and concert venues, visit IrishBoston.org.
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Shortly after the White House released an executive order on Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, Boston Mayor MartyWalsh convened a press conference at City Hall to reinforce his support for the immigrant community. He was surrounded by dozens of immigrant leaders from various communities in greater
“Today's Executive Orders regarding immigrants are a direct attack on
Boston's people, Boston's strength & our values,” Walsh
said. “We will not stand for it.
“We are a city and nation built on immigrants and we depend on newcomers to maintain the vitality of our country. We will not be intimidated by a threat to federal funding. we will not retreat one inch,” Walsh continued.”
In June, 2014, the Boston City Council passed the Trust Act, which guarantees undocumented immigrants that the Boston Police Department would not report them to federal authorities.
Earlier in the day, Mayor Walsh issued this statement:
I am deeply disturbed by today’s news. We will not back down from our values that make us who we are as a city. We will fight for our residents, whether immigrant or not, and provide the best quality of life for all Bostonians. I will use all of my power within lawful means to protect all
Boston residents – even if that means using
city hall itself as a last resort.”
Read story about Mayor Walsh's Irish immigrant roots.
Saturday, January 21, 2017
Here is the inaugural speech of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, delivered on January 20, 1961.
For more details on President Kennedy and his legacy, visit the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum.
Learn more about the Kennedy Family's Irish heritage.
Follow year round Irish cultural activities in Massachusetts at IrishMassachusetts.com.
Saturday, December 31, 2016
Boston Mayor John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald started a new tradition of ringing in the New Year by holding a reception at Boston City Hall on Tuesday, January 1, 1907.
The Boston Globe wrote on January 2, “When the mayor announced the he would hold a reception among the lines of those held in the national capitol and other cities of the union, few regarded it seriously. It had never been attempted before, and of course, to be attempted now in sedate old
Between the hours of noon and 2:00 p.m., over 4500 people attended, and it was deemed a success, noted the report.
Among the Bostonians who turned out to greet Mayor Ftizgerald: President Toland of the Charitable Irish Society, Herbert Carruth, deputy commissioner of the Penal Institution, Colonel Roger F. Scannell, “late defeated candidate of the Board of Alderman,” Henri Flammond, the French consul, Jeremiah McCarthy, surveyor of the port, and Patrick F. McDonald, superintendent of bridges.
Also attending were "Tim Murnane and Hugh McBreen, representing the baseball interests.”
Not everyone made it on time, reported The Globe. “For an hour or more after the mayor had retired from the chamber, as many as 500 persons, women in the main, hurried to the corridor on the seond floor, only to learn that they were too late.”
Mayor Fitzgerald "said that he was highly pleased with the reception for a beginning."
Fitzgerald was the third Boston mayor of Irish heritage, following Hugh O'Brien and Patrick Collins. Here is a full list of Boston mayors with Irish ancestry.