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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Civil War History: Massachusetts Irish Regiment Musters on December 13, 1861

(Image courtesy of 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry)

The 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry - comprised of Irish-Americans and Irish emigrants - officially mustered into service on December 13, 1861 at Camp Cameron in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Governor John A. Andrew appointed Colonel William Monteith leader of the regiment.

About 1,000 men were mustered on this day, the majority of them Irish-Americans and Irish emigrants.  They joined the state's other Irish fighting battalion, the 9th Regiment, and distinguished themselves in battle throughout the course of the American Civil War, fighting at Second Bull Run, Gettysburg, Frederickburg and Antietam. 

One of the main supporters and fundraisers behind the formation of the 28th Regiment was Patrick Donahoe, publisher of the Boston Pilot newspaper.   In his book, Civil War Boston, Professor Thomas O'Connor writes that the soldiers voted to informally call themselves The Donahue Guard in honor of their benefactor.

In 2011 Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick issued a proclamation in honor of the 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.

Today, a non-profit re-enactment group - the 28th Massachusetts Voluntary Infantry - carries on the history and traditions of the regiment by participating in Civil War re-enactments and providing educational opportunities for citizens to learn about this important aspect of American history.

You can follow the 28th on facebook

For more information on Boston's Irish history, visit IrishHeritageTrail.com.





Friday, November 16, 2012

Goody Glover Day in Boston Pays Homage to Irish Woman Hanged as Witch in 1688


The City of Boston marks November 16 as Goody Glover Day in Boston, in tribute to Goodwife Ann Glover, an Irish women accused of being a witch by Cotton Mather and other Boston Puritan leaders. 

Glover was an Irish slave sent to Barbados by Oliver Cromwell in the 1650s.  Her husband died there, and by 1680 she and her daughter were living in Boston, employed as housekeepers by John Goodwin.  In summer 1688 four of the five Goodwin children fell ill.  The doctor concluded "nothing but a hellish Witchcraft could be the Origin of these maladies."  Martha, the 13 year old daughter, confirmed the doctor's diagnosis by claiming she became ill right after she caught Glover stealing laundry.

Glover was arrested and tried as a witch. In the courtroom there was confusion over Glover's testimony, since she refused to speak English, despite knowing the language.  According to Mather, "the court could have no answers from her, but in the Irish, which was her native language." The court convicted Glover of witchcraft and sentenced her to be hanged on November 16, 1688.

James B. Cullen, author of The Story of the Irish in Boston (1889) wrote, "she was drawn in a cart, a hated and dreaded figure, chief in importance, stared at and mocked at, through the principal streets from her prison to the gallows….The people crowded to see the end, as always; and when it was over they quietly dispersed, leaving the worn-out body hanging as a terror to evil-doers."

It is commonly assumed that Glover was hanged at the public gallows on the Boston Common on the great elm that was destroyed in a storm in 1876.  But Cullen reported that Glover was hanged in the South End, on the site of the South End Burying Ground on Washington Street.

On November 16, 1988 Boston City Council proclaimed Goody Glover Day, and that same year a plaque was placed at Our Lady of Victories Church in Boston's South End/Bay Village neighborhood by the International Order of Alhambra, a Catholic Men's organization that marks Catholic landmarks around the world..  

The plaque to Ann Glover at Our Lady of Victories Church is a stop along Boston’s Irish Heritage Trail.

An editorial in The Boston Globe, dated November 17, 1988, noted that a group of academics and a businessman "have formed a committee to erect a memorial on Boston Common or at the State House, where statues commemorate Anne Hutchinson and Mary Dyer, who were also victims of religious intolerance.   A memorial to Glover would be a reaffirmation by today's citizens that bigotry in any form is intolerable. The efforts deserve support."

For more about Irish heritage in Boston, visit IrishHeritageTrail.com.

For details on Irish cultural activities year round, visit IrishBoston.org.


- Historic Research by Michael Quinlin
 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Blind Irish Harpist Matthew Wall Performs and Teaches in Boston in 1832


(Researched by Michael Quinlin)

One of the first Irish musicians cited in public records to perform and teach Irish music in early 19th century Boston was Matthew Wall, a blind harpist who emigrated to New Brunswick in 1830 before eventually making his way to Boston.   

The Boston Evening Transcript, October 6, 1832 issue, ran a notice announcing Wall would be performing at the State Museum, corner of Court and Howard Streets in Downtown Boston near Scollay Square. Wall was described as "a celebrated performer upon the Irish Harp. As this is the first instrument of its kind ever in this country, the lovers of Music will do well to avail themselves of this opportunity to witness the sweetness of its tones...This was the instrument used by the bards of olden times, and is well calculated to touch and arouse the feelings." The same notice ran on page one of the October 12, 1832 issue.

On October 17, 1832, in another notice published in the Transcript, Wall "tenders his services to the ladies and gentlemen of Boston, as an instructor on the Harp....His terms are moderate and no pains will be spared to advance his pupils."

On October 19, 1832, the Transcript runs an editorial endorsement, stating that Wall "is himself an admirable performer, and, being unfortunately deprived of sight, and having a family dependent upon him, presents claims of more than ordinary urgency on the benevolence of our citizens."

Microfilm of the Boston Evening Transcript is available at the Boston Public Library

According to a notice in the Belfast News Letter (June 22, 1830), Wall was a member of the Irish Harp Society, which urged him to accept "an offer made by Mr. M. Cannan, of St John’s, New Brunswick, to give him a free passage from Belfast to that place, and to settle him there as a Harper."

Wall was likely playing an Irish harp built by famed instrument maker John Egan of Dublin, who is hailed for creating the modern Irish folk harp, according to harp historian Simon Chadwick.  A copy of an Egan harp is in the musical instrument collection at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.

For more about Boston's history and heritage, visit IrishHeritageTrail.com.

For details about Irish culture in the Boston area, visit IrishBoston.org




Friday, October 19, 2012

Canadian American Club of Watertown Formed in Boston on May 19, 1937



On May 19, 1937, a group of Canadian expatriates living in Massachusetts came together to form the Canadian-American League.

 According to a story in The Boston Globe published on the following day, the group was "seeking 1,000 charter members....(and) more than 200 attended" the first meeting.

Attorney Joseph S. O'Neill, the organizer and first president of the Canadian-American League, was originally from Prince Edward Island, according to his obituary in The Boston Globe published on August 20, 1938.  He worked at the Dolan, O'Neill and Balch law firm in Boston.

Judging from the many Scottish and Irish names cited in the Globe story, the organizers were largely comprised of immigrants who had come to the Boston area from the Maritime provinces.

The Canadian-American League eventually became known as the Canadian American Club, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary in Watertown, Massachusetts the weekend of October 19-21, 2012.

- Researched by Michael Quinlin




Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Boston Celtics and the Luck of the Irish


Many people wonder why the Boston Celtics wear shamrocks on their green uniforms and have a giant leprechaun smoking a cigar as their team logo. And why the team mascot is a guy named Lucky who looks like he stepped out of a box of Lucky Charms?

According to the Boston Celtic’s official web site, the name came about in 1946 when owner Walter Brown started the team. He and his public relations guy, Howie McHugh, were throwing out potential nicknames, including the Whirlwinds, Unicorns and Olympics.

It was Brown who had the epiphany, saying, “Wait, I’ve got it – the Celtics. The name has a great basketball tradition from the old Original Celtics in New York (1920s). And Boston is full of Irishman. We’ll put them in green uniforms and call them the Boston Celtics.”

Red Auerbach, the now legendary coach of the early Celtics, then commissioned his brother Zang, a graphic designer in the newspaper business, to come up with the famous Celtics logo in the early 1950s. The logo manages to include all of the iconic depictions of the Irish in America that were standard in the 1950s: a leprechaun covered in shamrock clothing and a bowler hat, smoking a pipe, holding a shillelagh and sporting a mischievous grin!

The logo is said to have brought the Celtics good luck, since they won their first championship in 1957, so it has remained.  

For more information on Irish-American history and heritage, visit IrishHeritageTrail.com

Find details on The Shamrock Foundation, a charitable organization run by the Boston Celtics. 

For more about the Boston Celtics, visit NBA.com/celtics/

Saturday, October 13, 2012

South Boston Historical Society Giving Tours of St. Augustine's Cemetery on Saturday, October 13


The South Boston Historical Society is giving a free tour of Boston's oldest Catholic graveyard, St. Augustine's Cemetery, on Saturday, October 13, 2012, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The cemetery is the oldest Catholic burial ground in New England.  It opened in 1819.  A majority of Irish buried in the cemetery came from Cork, Tipperary and Kilkenny, followed by Donegal, Longford, Waterford and Wexford, according to a survey by George F. Dwyer cited in Irish Boston.

Here is an interesting account of the cemetery's Irish connections by Lowell Irish.

St. Augustine's Cemetery is one of the stop on the Boston Irish Heritage Trail, which explores the Irish experience in greater Boston dating back to the 18th century.

Find more details on the Irish community in Massachusetts by visiting IrishMassachusetts.com.



Friday, October 12, 2012

Larry Reynolds and Boston's Tara Ceili Band, 1961


Tara Ceili Band (photo courtesy of Tom Garvey)
Click photo to enlarge

In memory of Larry Reynolds, who died on October 3, 2012 after a distinguished 60 year career as an Irish traditional musician.

Larry Reynolds arrived in Boston in 1953, and became involved in the Dudley Street Irish music scene in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood throughout the 1950s. 

Larry joined the Tara Ceili Band, a popular dance band that formed in 1958, according to pianist Tom Garvey.  The band played Saturday and Sunday nights at the Intercolonial Hall on Dudley Street.  

"The pay at Intercolonial was $8.00 per musician," Garvey recalls.  "I received $10, coming the furthest, from Andover."

The Tara Ceili Band went through some personnel changes and played in Jamaica Plain, Dorchester and Brighton, and around greater Boston.  The photo above was taken in 1961 at Metropolitan Hall at 4 Hyde Park Avenue in Jamaica Plain  Run by Metropolitan Caterers, Inc. the hall was mainly used for Irish weddings, banquets and parties.

 L-R, Larry Reynolds, fiddle; Brendan Tonra, fiddle; George Shanley, drums; Frank Neylon, flute; Mickey Connolly, accordion; Tom Garvey, piano; and Terry Landers, accordion.

"This was pre-air conditioning in the halls," Tom says, "and the reason why no jackets are being worn by the band."





Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Democratic National Convention Pays Tribute to the Late Senator Ted Kennedy


The Democratic National Convention paid an emotional tribute to the late Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy in Charlotte, NC at the opening sessions on Tuesday, September 4, 2012.

The video tribute was introduced by Joseph P. Kennedy III, who is running for the Fourth Congressional seat in Massachusetts.

View the Tribute to Ted Kennedy here:

Monday, September 3, 2012

South Boston Vietnam Memorial Re-Dedication Ceremony on Sunday, September 16


Sunday, September 16, 2012
 31st Anniversary Re-Dedication
 
Mass at 10:30 a.m.
845 East Broadway, South Boston

Re-dedication of Memorial at 11:30 a.m.
M Street Park, South Boston

 Assistant Commandant, US Marine Corps



Thursday, August 30, 2012

Boston AOH Honors Irish Civil War Soldiers at Toll Gate Cemetery in Jamaica Plain on September 1

Toll Gate Cemetery

The Boston chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians is paying tribute to the fallen Civil War soldiers from Massachusetts' Irish regiments with a ceremony at Toll Gate Cemetery in Jamaica Plain, Boston, on Saturday, September 1, 2012 at 11:00 a.m.

The event is free and open to the public. Monsignor Francis X. Kelly of nearby Sacred Heart Church will lead the ceremony in prayer.

Organizer Kevin Durant says the AOH group, along with the local Boy Scouts, have been cleaning the cemetery grounds throughout the summer.  Durant says many soldiers from the Massachusetts 28th Voluntary Infantry, composed entirely of Irish and Irish-American soldiers, are buried in the cemetery.

The 28th fought at the Battle of Second Bull Run on August 28-30, 1862.

You can find more information on Boston's Irish heritage and history at IrishHeritageTrail.com.



Monday, July 30, 2012

South Boston's James B. Connolly - First Medalist in Modern Olympics in 1896


South Boston's James Brendan Connolly (1868-1957) was the first medalist in the Modern Olympic Games, taking first place in the triple jump held in Athens, Greece in 1896.

The book  Irish Boston describes Connolly as "one of twelve children (including eight boys in a row) born in South Boston to immigrant parents John and Ann (O'Donnell) from Inis More, Aran Islands, off the coast of County Galway, Ireland."

For insight into what Connolly's feat means to the people of South Boston today, read Patrick Rosso's story on James B. Connolly in The Boston Globe.

For more about Boston Irish history, visit IrishHeritageTrail.com.



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Boston's World Peace Jubilee Took Place on June 17-July 4, 1872


Patrick S. Gilmore staged the largest concert in history in Boston from June 17 through July 4, 1872, called the World Peace Jubilee and International Music Festival.

Read about Gilmore's Jubilee in BITA's current issue of Travel & Culture Guide, a round-up of Irish and other cultural activities and travel opportunities in Massachusetts and Ireland this summer and fall.  It's available for free at visitor centers and cultural venues throughout the state.

Gilmore was born in Ballygar, County Galway in 1829 and emigrated to Boston in 1849, where he went on to become the most influential bandleader and impresario of his generation.  Read more about P.S. Gilmore.

The Irish Music Center at Boston College currently has an exhibit on Gilmore's World Peace Jubilee at the John J. Burns Library on campus through July 6, 2012.

Learn more about Irish history in Boston by visiting  IrishHeritageTrail.com.

For year round details on Irish activities, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

Find visitor information by going to MassVacation.com and BostonUSA.com.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Guided Tours of Boston's Irish Heritage Trail Starting Today


Guided tours of the Boston Irish Heritage Trail are starting up on Saturday,  June 16, 2012, leaving at 2:00 p.m. from the Visitor Center on Boston Common along Tremont Street, the Boston Irish Tourism Association has announced.

The 75 minute walk takes you to over 300 years of Boston Irish history, from the colonial times, through the 19th century Famine immigration era, to the Civil War, and up to the present time.  Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for children, and can be purchased online or at the Visitor Center the day of the walk.

The summer schedule is as follows:

Every Wednesday and Thursday, from June 20 through August 30
Every third Saturday of the month (June 16, July 21, August 18)

All tours leave at 2:00 p.m. from the Boston Common Visitors Center.

For more information about the Irish Heritage Trail and the tour itself, please call the Boston Irish Tourism Association at 617 696 9880 or email to irishmassachusetts@comcast.net.

For year round details on Irish activities in Massachusetts and the New England states, and about visiting Ireland, go to IrishMassachusetts.com.

For tourist information about visiting Boston and Massachusetts, visit BostonUSA.com and MassVacation.com

Thursday, May 17, 2012

From Honey Fitz to Sweet Caroline: A Century of Fenway

Mayor John F. "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald waves to the fans at Fenway Park, 1912
 
Read the article by Michael Quinlin in the June/July 2012 issue of Irish America Magazine entitled From Honey Fitz to Sweet Caroline: A Century of Fenway.

And read this story in the Irish Echo entitled Fenway Park Marks a Very Green Century.

And finally, here's a profile of Charles E. Logue, the Irish immigrant from County Derry who built Fenway Park, breaking ground on September 25, 1911, and finishing the park by April, 1912 for the opening of the Red Sox season.

Fenway Park is one of 20 landmarks on Boston's Irish Heritage Trail.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Fenway Park - an Irish-American Landmark for 100 Years


"The very first Opening Day at Fenway Park, April 20, 1912, had the appearance of an old-fashioned Irish field day.   Bucky O’Brien was on the pitcher’s mound. Umpire Tommy Connolly was behind home plate, and ace sports reporter Timothy Murnane was scribbling for the Boston GlobeMayor John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald, the grandfather of President John F. Kennedy, threw out the first pitch, officially kicking off the first major league game to take place at Fenway Park. ..."

Read the entire story in this week's Irish Echo.

Read about Charles E. Logue, the immigrant from County Derry, who built Fenway Park.

Fenway Park is located along Boston's Irish Heritage Trail, a three-mile walk over 300 years of Boston Irish history.  

For year round details on Irish cultural activities in Massachusetts and the New England region, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

For visitor information, go to MassVacation.com and BostonUSA.com.



Tuesday, April 10, 2012

John McDermott wins the first Boston Marathon in 1897



The first Boston Marathon was held on April 19,1897, inspired by the first modern Olympic Games held the previous year in Athens, Greece. 

The race was sponsored by the Boston Athletic Association, and the initial field consisted of fifteen runners, of which ten finished the race. John J. McDermott of the Pastime Athletic Club of New York won the race, finishing in two hours, fifty-five minutes and ten seconds.

Thomas E. Burke, who won first place in the 100 and 440 yard races at the Athens Olympics in 1896, was the official starter of the race.

The race started in Ashland and finished at Irvington Oval near Copley Square in Boston, which had a 220 yard track.  There BAA officials had organized an entire track and field meet in the spirit of the Olympic Games the previous year.

Among the most talked about races was the 100 yard dash, which had a stellar field that included Tom Burke of Boston University, J.S. Quinn  and W.J. Holland from Boston College, Frank Quinlan from Fordham University, and D.C. Byers of Yale.  Holland won the race, and his BC teammate Quinn took second.

McDermott apparently lost nine pounds running the race, and afterwards said, "This will probably be my last long race...look at my feet," wrote The Boston Globe in its April 20, 1897 story.  McDermott returned to Boston in 1898 and finished fourth.

For more on Boston's Irish history and heritage, visit IrishHeritageTrail.com.

Johnny Kelley - Boston's Great Marathon Man

Photo Courtesy of Boston Public Library

For the 116th running of the Boston Marathon taking place on Monday, April 16, 2012, our thoughts turn to John Adelbert  Kelley, who holds the record for running more Boston Marathons than any other athlete. 

Kelley was born in 1907 in West Medford, outside of Boston, and traces his ancestry to County Wexford.  "My father's people left to go to Australia," he told The Boston Globe in 1981, when he was preparing for his 50th race.  "The boat stopped in Boston and they never left." 

Kelley ran his first marathons in 1928 and 1932 but did not finish either race.  He ran again in 1933 and has competed in every single race through 1992!  He finished in the top 10 eighteen times, taking first place in 1935 and again in1945.  He owns the record for the most races started (61) and the most finished (58).  His best time was two hours and thirty minutes, posted in 1943.  He was 84 when he ran his last race in 1992, posting a time of Five hours and fifty-eight minutes.
He was christened Johnny "The Elder" Kelley, when John J. Kelley (no relation) emerged as a champion in the 1950s, winning the race in 1957. 

In 1993 the Boston Athletic Association erected a statue honoring Johnny Kelley on Heartbreak Hill in Newton.  The twin statues depict Kelley in 1935 and again in 1995, holding hands as they cross the proverbial finish line.
 For more on Boston Irish history and heritage, visit IrishHeritageTrail.com or visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

For tourist information, visit MassVacation and BostonUSA.com.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Take a Tour of the Boston Irish Heritage Trail Today

Kevin White Statue at Faneuil Hall

The Boston Irish Tourism Association is offering guided walking tours of the Boston Irish Heritage Trail in celebration of St. Patrick's Day.  The tours runs on Sunday, March 18, 2012, starting at 12:30 p.m. daily at the Boston Common Visitor Center at 147 Tremont Street in Downtown Boston.

Cost of the tour is $15 per adult, $8 for children ages 6-12, and free for children under five.

The 75 minute walking tour by an experienced tour guide covers 13 of the 20 stops along the way (sites 1-13 on the map).  You’ll discover the Irish role in the Revolutionary War, learn about the 19th century Famine generation and the Irish part in the Civil War.  And you’ll discover famous and infamous politicians - from Curley and White to Collin and the Kennedys - who put their indelible stamp on the history of the city and the nation.

Reserve your spot on the tour by filling out the reservation form.  Or, you can also purchase tickets the day of the tour at the front desk of the Boston Common Visitors Information Center, but tickets could be sold out by then.

The Irish Heritage Trail was created by BITA in 2000 as a way to celebrate and learn about Boston's unique Irish-American culture and heritage. For more information,  contact irishmassachusetts@comcast.net.

For a schedule of St. Patrick's Day cultural activities in greater Boston and throughout the region, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

For visitor information, go to MassVacation.com or BostonUSA.com.

Friday, March 16, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Weekend: Guided Tours of Boston Irish Heritage Trail

 
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by taking a guided tour of the Boston Irish Heritage Trail.

The tour is offered on Saturday, March 17 and Sunday, March 18, 2012 at 12:30 p.m., starting at the Boston Common Visitor Information Center.  

Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for children ages 6-12. Children under six are free. You can purchase tickets at the Visitor Information Center on Boston Common or make your reservation online.

The 75 minute walk led by an experienced tour guide takes you on 300 fascinating years of Boston’s unique Irish history and heritage.  

You’ll discover the Irish role in the Revolutionary War, learn about the 19th century Famine generation and the Irish part in the Civil War.  And you’ll discover famous and infamous politicians - from Curley and White to Collin and the Kennedys - who put their indelible stamp on the history of the city and the nation.
 
For more information, call 617 696 9880 or visit IrishHeritageTrail.com

Monday, March 12, 2012

Discover 300 Years of History on the Boston Irish Heritage Trail - Guided Tours on March 14-18


Curley Statues, Union Park 

The Boston Irish Tourism Association is offering guided walking tours of the Boston Irish Heritage Trail in celebration of St. Patrick's Day.

The tours run from Wednesday, March 14 through Sunday, March 18, 2012, starting at 12:30 p.m. daily at the Boston Common Visitor Center at 147 Tremont Street in Downtown Boston.

Cost of the tour is $15 per adult, $8 for children ages 6-12, and free for children under five.

The 75 minute walking tour by an experienced tour guide covers 13 of the 20 stops along the way (sites 1-13 on the map).  You’ll discover the Irish role in the Revolutionary War, learn about the 19th century Famine generation and the Irish part in the Civil War.  And you’ll discover famous and infamous politicians - from Curley and White to Collin and the Kennedys - who put their indelible stamp on the history of the city and the nation.

Reserve your spot on the tour by filling out the reservation form.  Or, you can also purchase tickets the day of the tour at the front desk of the Boston Common Visitors Information Center.

The Irish Heritage Trail was created by BITA in 2000 as a way to celebrate and learn about Boston's unique Irish-American culture and heritage.
 
For more information, call 617 696 9880, or contact irishmassachusetts@comcast.net
For a schedule of St. Patrick's Day cultural activities in greater Boston and throughout the region, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

For visitor information, go to MassVacation.com or BostonUSA.com.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

St. Patrick's Day in Boston - free magazine available at tourism centers


Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, the Boston Irish Tourism Association has issued its Spring issue of Travel & Culture Guide, a round-up of Irish cultural activities taking place in Boston and throughout the region from March through June 2012.

 The 28 page magazine is available for free at visitor centers around Massachusetts, and at select Irish stores, cultural venues, museums and hotels.  It lists parade schedules, concerts and cultural events, as well as select Irish pubs and gift shops in Massachusetts.

See Distribution sheet to find a copy near you.  You can also request that a Guide be mailed to you (postage/handling applies)

For year round details on cultural activities throughout Massachusetts and the region, as well as details on visiting Ireland, go to IrishMassachusetts.com

For tourist information, visit MassVacation.com and BostonaUSA.com.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Boston Massacre Reenactment Taking Place on Saturday, March 10 in Downtown Boston


The Bostonian Society is commemorating the 242nd anniversary of the Boston Massacre this Saturday, March 10, 2012 with a series of lectures, programs and a re-enactment at the Old State House on State Street in downtown Boston.

Click for a list of scheduled events.

Irish sailor Patrick Carr was one of the five victims in the Massacre, according to Irish Boston: A Lively Look at Boston's Colorful Irish Past.   Carr and the other victims are buried at the Old Granary Burying Grounds on Tremont Street, which is listed on the Boston Irish Heritage Trail.

For year round information on the Irish community in Boston, including pubs, gift shops, festivals, parades, concerts and cultural activities,  visit IrishBoston.org

For visitor information, go to MassVacation or BostonUSA.

Fenway Park is now in the National Register of Historic Places


Fenway Park, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in April 2012 as America's most distinguished baseball park, has been placed in the National Register of Historic Places, according to William Galvin, Secretary of Massachusetts, in an announcement today.

Galvin said the Massachusetts Historical Commission, nominated Fenway Park to the Register in December, and that the nomination was confirmed.

Fenway Park was built by Chalres E. Logue, an Irish immigrant from County Derry who built numerous Boston landmarks in the beginning of the 20th century..   Read about Mr. Logue and the building of Fenway Park here.

For more about Boston's Irish history, visit IrishHeritageTrail.com.

For tourism information visit MassVacation.com or BostonUSA.com.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Charitable Irish Society celebrates Irish connections to Fenway Park on March 1 at the Bleacher Bar in Boston


Charles E. Logue at Fenway Park, April 20, 2012
(courtesy of the Logue Family)
The Charitable Irish Society is hosting an event called "The Irishmen Who Built Fenway Park" at the Bleacher Bar in Fenway Park on Thursday, March 1, 2012 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Admission is $35 and includes appetizers, cash bar, author book signing and a raffle.

Featured speakers of the evening are Glenn Stout, author of the new book, Fenway 1912: The Birth of a Ballpark, and Dick Flavin, television personality and author of the one-man show According to Tip

Special guests of the night will be the Logue family, whose ancestor Charles E. Logue, an immigrant from Derry, was the contractor who built the famous ballpark.  Mr. Logue built many of the city's Catholic Churches and part of the Boston College campus.  His descendants have carried on the family business with their firm, Logue Engineering, located in Hingham, Massachusetts

Fenway Park is the final stop on the 20-site Irish Heritage Trail, which starts at the Rose Kennedy Garden along the waterfront, passes Boston City Hall, the Irish Famine Memorial, the Massachusetts State House and Copley Square.

For year round information on Irish culture, heritage and history in greater Boston, visit the Boston Irish Tourism Association.

For tourist information, visit MassVacation or BostonUSA.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ireland's Famous Bard, Thomas Moore (1779-1852)


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 full story on Moore's 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.



Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fund Raiser for Deer Island Irish Memorial Taking Place on Friday, February 24, in Hingham


A reception to raise funds for the Deer Island Irish Memorial project in Boston's Harbor Islands is taking place at the Aisling Gallery on Rt. 3A in Hingham on Friday, February 24, 2012 from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public. The fundraiser is being organized by Dr. Bill and Rita O'Connell, who head a committee to place a permanent memorial to the 850 Irish immigrants who were buried at the Rest Haven Cemetery in the 1840s.

In May, 1847, city officials set up a quarantine station on Deer Island to tend to thousands of Irish refugees fleeing the Irish Famine were coming to Boston Harbor on crowded ships.  Many of them were suffering from typhus, cholera and other transferable diseases.

Today Deer Island is home to the region's sewerage treatment facility, with parkland and walkways along the perimeter of the island.

Here is more information on the Deer Island Irish Memorial Project.

Find out more about Boston's Irish history by visiting the Boston Irish Heritage Trail.

For cultural events in greater Boston, visit IrishBoston.org





Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Baseball Star Mike King Kelly Signed to Play in Boston in February 1887


Mike King Kelly, one of the premier baseball players of the late 19th century, signed a deal to play for the Boston Beaneaters on February 14, 1887 for a record $10,000, the highest price paid for a professional athlete up to that time. 

 The Boston Globe reported that Kelly left the Chicago White Stockings in a deal negotiated on Valentine's Day in Poughkeepsie, NY between Kelly and Beaneater treasurer J.B. Billings.

"Diamonds cannot be bought with shoestrings," Kelly said as "he toyed with a diminutive cane and puffed at a Sweet Caporal cigarette," according to the Globe. 

Kelly had three great years with the Beaneaters, then went on to coach and play for the Boston Reds in the short-lived Players League.  Described as a larger-than-life character, Kelly was as notorious off the field as on.  A great base runner, he had his own song, Slide Kelly Slide, a popular ditty written by J.W. Kelly and sung by Maggie Kline. 

Along with Boston Globe reporter William L. Drohan of South Boston, Kelly wrote a book  Play Ball: Stories of the Ball Field, published in 1888 and described as baseball's first autobiography.

After baseball Kelly went on the Vaudeville circuit with a minstrel group called O'Dowd's Neighbors, which was later described as consisting of "two Irish comedians, a German comedian, a female impersonator, some clever dancers, a Negro quartet, a donkey and a puppy." 

Kelly was in Boston, getting ready for performance, when he fell ill and was taken to a hospital where he died.  The Boston Globe obituary on November 9, 1894, described it this way,

"At 9:55 last night King Kelly heard the decision of the Great Umpire of which there is no appeal.  The famous ball player passed away at that hour at the emergency hospital, with a few of his old friends watching every phase of his last uphill fight in the game where defeat is sure."

Kelly is buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery in Mattapan, a neighborhood in Boston.  He was later inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY in 1945. 

For more details on Boston Irish history, visit IrishHeritageTrail.com.

For cultural activities, visit IrishBoston.org.









Saturday, January 28, 2012

Boston Mayor Kevin White, 1929-2012

(Photo Courtesy of Tom Fitzgerald)

Mayor Kevin White, Mayor of Boston from 1968-1984, passed away on Friday, January 27, 2012, at age 82.  He had suffered from Alzheimer's Disease since 2003.

The Boston Irish Tourism Association published a profile on Mayor White on the occasion of his statue being unveiled at Faneuil Hall in Boston on November 1, 2006. 

Mayor White's statue is part of Boston's Irish Heritage Trail, a three mile walk of twenty landmarks that tell the story of 300 years of Boston Irish history.







Thursday, January 26, 2012

Robert Burns Statue in Boston's Winthrop Square Honors Famed Scottish Poet


Scotland's poet and bard Robert Burns (January 25, 1759 – July 21,1796) is honored in Boston with a statue at Winthrop Square in Boston's Financial District.

Best known for composing  the unofficial anthem to New Year's Eve, Auld Lang Syne, Burns was a prolific poet who wrote over 300 poems, as well as various epistles and ballads. He was prolific in other ways too, fathering fourteen children.

The Boston statue was created by sculptor Henry Hudson Kitson and was unveiled by Governor Calvin Coolidge on January 1, 1920.  It was originally unveiled in the Fens, near the Westland Avenue entrance, not far from the John Boyle O'Reilly Memorial to Ireland's famous 19th century poet. 

The statue was moved to Winthrop Square in 1975 where it remains today.  It depicts Burns walking with his collie and a book of poetry in his hand.

Kitson was a well-regarded artist who created a number of important statues in Boston, including the memorial to Patrick Collins, which is part of Boston's Irish Heritage Trail.

For details on Irish and Scottish cultural activities in greater Boston visit IrishBoston.org

For tourist information visit MassVacation.com and BostonUSA.com 







Wednesday, January 25, 2012

George M. Cohan, Irish-American Broadway Star, is Honored in Providence


George M. Cohan, Broadway song and dance man whose songs helped define the World War I generation, is honored in his home town of Providence RI with a statue, according to a story in Irish America Magazine.

The statue was created by noted sculptor Robert Shure, who also created the Irish Famine Memorial in Boston and Providence.

Cohan (1878-1942) was the son of Jeremiah Cohan from Boston and Nellie Costigan from Providence.  They met met on the vaudeville circuit and married in 1874.  George and his sister Josephine became part of a successful family troupe, named the Four Cohans, which traveled around the country on the minstrel circuit, performing a cabaret of songs, dances, jokes and comedy routines popular at the time.

In 1893 George settled in New York City and soon became the toast of Broadway, writing popular tunes like  Yankee Doodle Dandy, You're a Grand Old Flag, and Over There, a trio of songs that resonated with Americans during World War I.

For  more about the contributions of Irish contributions to American popular culture, see Irish Boston: A Lively  Look at Boston's Colorful Irish Past.

For information on year round Irish cultural events in Massachusetts and the New England states, visit IrishMassachusetts.com  For more on Boston's Irish-American heritage, visit IrishHeritageTrail.com.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Irish Pipers Club of Boston Holds its First Concert on January 11, 1910 in the South End

Patsy Touhey 

"The first concert of the Irish Pipers' Club of Boston was held in Wells Memorial Hall on Tuesday, January 11, 1910," according to The Republic Newspaper published on January 15, 1910.

The hall was located at 978 Washington Street in Boston's South End, then a heavily Irish neighborhood.  

The concert was significant for Irish music historians because it included notable uilleann pipers Michael and William Hanafin and John Nolan.  And guests in the audience were identified as Sergeant James Early of the Irish Music Club of Chicago and Patsy Touhey, who was born in Galway and grew up in South Boston. Touhey was considered by many to be the finest piper of his generation.

Other performers included singer Peter O'Neill, Irish step dancer James Cahill and the Irish Choral Society, led by director Charles F. Forrester.

The Republic Newspaper was owned by John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, the grandfather of President John F. Kennedy

For more about Irish music in Boston, see Irish Boston: A Lively Look at Boston's Colorful Irish Past.

For details on Irish cultural activities in greater Boston, visit IrishBoston.org.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Boston Elects First Irish-Born Mayor, Hugh O'Brien of County Cork


On Monday, January 5, 1885, Hugh O'Brien was sworn-in as the city of Boston's first Irish-born Mayor, launching an era of Irish-American dominance of Boston City Hall that continued through the 20th century.

O'Brien was born in County Cork, Ireland on July 13, 1827, and emigrated with his family to Boston in 1832 when he was five years old.  He learned the printing trade at the Boston Courier newspaper and at fifteen became foreman of a printing office, before starting his own publication, the Shipping and Commercial List.  He has a successful career as a businessman and gained the respect of city leaders as well as the Irish immigrant community that struggled to gain a foothold in Boston.

O'Brien launched his political career in 1875 on the Board of Alderman, and in 1884 ran against and defeated incumbent Boston Mayor Augustus Martin.  At that time, the term of office was one year, so O'Brien ran and won again in 1885, 1886, 1887 and 1888 before narrowly losing in December 1888 to Republican banker Thomas N. Hart.

While in office, O'Brien presided over the creation of the city's Emerald Necklace park system, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, and he laid the cornerstone for the new Boston Public Library at Copley Square.

One of his most cherished causes was helping the city's orphans throughout his life.  He died on August 1, 1895, and at his funeral at Holy Cross Cathedral, the Republic Newspaper reported, "The largest and most conspicuous delegation was that from the St. Vincent's Orphan Asylum, 200 little children dressed alike, who sat immediately behind the family."

O'Brien is buried at Holyhood Cemetery in Brookline MA. 

A bust of Hugh O'Brien, made by sculptor John Donoghue, is on display in the Abbey Room of the Boston Public Library.  

For more about Boston's Irish history, visit IrishHeritageTrail.com or read Irish Boston, 2nd edition, by Michael Quinlin, published in 2013 by Globe Pequot Press.