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Boston Irish Civil War Leader Thomas Cass , Born June 4, 1821 in Ireland

Colonel Thomas Cass Statue, Boston Public Garden Boston Civil War hero Thomas Cass, commander of the  Massachusetts Ninth Regiment , was born on June 4, 1821 in Farmleigh, Queen's County (now County Laois).  His family immigrated to Boston when he was an infant, and settled in the North End, at that time a heavily Irish neighborhood. Cass was a member of the Boston School Committee and a successful businessman.  During the 1850s, he organized a local militia unit of Irish immigrants known as the Columbian Artillery but the group was dismantled by the nativist Know-Nothing movement in 1855.  When the Civil War broke out, and with the encouragement of  Governor John Andrew , Cass gathered his men to form Boston's first Irish troop, the Ninth Regiment. Colonel Cass reported with the regiment of 1,022 men at the State House on Tuesday, June 25, 1861, to receive the state flag and to be reviewed by Governor Andrew.    Fellow Irish immigrant  Patrick S. Gilmore  and his Band played a
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On May 29, 1968, Ireland's President de Valera and Eunice Shriver Opened the John F. Kennedy Memorial Park and Arboretum in County Wexford

  Treescape at the JFK Arboretum in Wexford, Ireland  On May 29, 1968, Ireland's President Eamon de Valera officially opened the 460 acre  John F. Kennedy Park and Arboretum  in County Wexford, not far from the Kennedy family's ancestral home in the village of Dunganstown in New Ross.  The ceremony took place on what would have been JFK's 51st birthday. Joining President de Valera were President Kennedy's sister Eunice Shriver and her daughter Mat, and Joan Kennedy, wife of Senator Edward M. Kennedy.  Among the 500 invited guests at the opening were Kennedy relatives the Ryans of New Ross, as well as Ireland's Prime Minister Jack Lynch.   From the United States, Irish-American officials included Sean Keating, representing the Irish American Societies,  John O'Connor, president of the Irish Institute in New York and Michael Flannery, former president of the New York Gaelic Athletic Association and a director of the Irish Institute Irish Hillside JFK Ceremony, acc

President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, born May 29, 1917 in Brookline, Massachusetts

  John Fitzgerald Kennedy , 35th president of the United States, was born at about three o'clock in the afternoon on May 29, 1917 at 83 Beale Street in Brookline, Massachusetts.  John was the second son of  Patrick Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy , named in honor of his maternal grandfather,  John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald .    In the book,  Rose Kennedy's Family Album ,  published in 2013, Rose Kennedy writes: "When a mother holds her first baby in her arms, what awe-inspiring thoughts go fleeting through her mind and fill her heart.  A child has been bestowed upon her to mold and to influence - what a challenge, what a joy! ...On her judgement he relies, and her words will influence him, not for a day or a month or a year, but for time and for eternity - and perhaps for future generations.  A grandmother, an aunt, a teacher may guide the child temporarily, but when the mother enters the room, it is to her he turns for the final judgement. "A mother knows

Ireland President Mary McAleese Spends Five Days in Massachusetts in May 2009, Visiting Holyoke, Worcester and Boston

On Sunday, May 24, 2009, Ireland's President Mary McAleese was the commencement speaker to the 172nd graduating class at Mt. Holyoke College in Holyoke, a small women's college in western Massachusetts. She spoke to 570 women graduates and an audience of 4,000 people. Tus maith is Leath na hoibre , she told the graduates in Irish, meaning: a good start is half the work.  "Here at Mount Holyoke College you’ve got a good start. You’ve given your very best here. You’ve been tested. You've been challenged. You know yourself a lot better now.”  The Daily Hampshire Gazette reported, "she said there is plenty of work ahead — especially in the advancement of women who in most parts of the world are still regarded as second class and second best." The announcement of President McAleese to address the graduating class was made by US Congressman Richard Neal , a trustee of the college and by Mount Holyoke College President Joanne Creighton, who said, “We are honored

Three Distinctive Civil War Memorials in Boston and Cambridge

A number of Irish immigrants and Irish-American sculptors created some of the most distinctive Civil War Monuments of the 19th Century. Here are three of their monuments in Boston and Cambridge worth visiting: The Shaw Memorial , atop Boston Common and facing the Massachusetts State House, was officially unveiled on May 31, 1897, a homage to the 54th Black Infantry Regiment of Boston. It is considered one of America’s most significant Civil War memorials, and was the first public monument to accurately depict black soldiers in military uniform. The memorial was created by Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907), who was born in Dublin Ireland on March 1, 1848, to a French father and Irish mother. They landed in Boston in September 1848, fleeing the Irish famine, and later moved to New York. It took Augustus 14 years to complete the monument.  The Twin Lions  in the foyer of the Boston Public Library in Boston's Back Bay were unveiled in 1891, a tribute to two Massachusetts Volunteer In

U.S. Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, Immortalized in Boston by Sculptors Martin Milmore and Thomas Ball

Bust of MA Senator Charles Sumner by Martin Milmore Massachusetts State House Charles Sumner, the U.S. Senator from Massachusetts from 1851 to 1874, was famous as a leading advocate for abolishing slavery during his distinguished career.    Sumner was one of the first subjects for the rising young sculptor, Martin Milmore , who was born in County Sligo, Ireland in 1844 and emigrated to Boston with his widowed mother in 1851. Milmore's artistic genius was recognized early on as a student at the Martin Brimmer School and later at Boston Latin School.  According to the US Capital Historical Society , "Sumner sat (for) Milmore in 1863, after which the two became friends and maintained a lengthy correspondence, living, as they were mostly, in different cities." The original bust was presented to the Massachusetts State House on April 27, 1869 by A.A. Lawrence, according to the book, Massachusetts State House by Ellen Mudge Burrill, published in 1905. "The tribute was pr

Thomas J. Flatley (1931-2008), In Memoriam

Tom Flatley , business leader, philanthropist, devout Catholic, family man and champion of people in need, was chairman of the  Boston Irish Famine Memorial  committee, which was formed to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Ireland's devastating famines in the 1840s.  He died on May 17, 2008. The Irish Famine Memorial, created by sculptor  Robert Shure , was unveiled on June 28, 1998 before 7,000+ people.  A  Commemorative Book  was issued on the day of the unveiling, with text from the eight commemorative plaques encircling the twin statues.  Read about the 25th anniversary commemoration at the Irish Famine Memorial on June 28, 2023. As part of  Boston's Irish Heritage Trail , the Irish Famine Memorial continues to be a destination for visitors and residents who pass the park each year and stop to reflect on the story of the Irish and other immigrants who cross oceans and desserts to come here.  Since 1998, the famine memorial has been seen by millions of people who pass th