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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
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Rhode Island Irish Famine Memorial in Providence Honors 19th Century Victims and Survivors

  Image Courtesy of Skylight Studios  The  Rhode Island Irish Famine Memorial  is a permanent memorial in the capital city of Providence that commemorates the victims and survivors of Ireland's famine years in the mid-19th century. The memorial occupies a prominent location at Dyer's Landing along the River Walk in Providence. Created by sculptor Robert Shure of Skylight Studios, the Memorial was dedicated on November 17, 2007, and attended by dignitaries, elected officials, famine memorial committee members and leaders from the Irish-American community.  The memorial is described by its organizers as a larger-than-life statue of three Irish figures sitting on a round stone base, bordered by a walkway that incorporates the donor-bricks and flagstones. The walkway leads to a commemorative wall that  narrates the history  of the famine amid the Irish immigration. The sidewalk beneath the wall incorporates an outline map depicting the coasts of America and Ireland, emphasizing the

On May 30, 1914, Hibernians Unveiled a Memorial in Cohasset to Irish Immigrants who Perished off the Coast in 1849

On Saturday, May 30, 1914, Massachusetts Governor David I. Walsh joined officials from the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Ladies Auxiliary to unveil a granite Celtic Cross in memory of Irish immigrants who perished during a storm off the Massachusetts coastline in 1849. 7000 Hibernians from all over Massachusetts attended the ceremony, according to a story in the Boston Globe . Teresa St. John, a relative of the only survivor of the wreck, was chosen to unveil the Cross. "The words "St John" occupy an oddly prominent place in the story of this memorial," wrote the Boston Globe, "for it was the brig St John, bound for St John, New Brunswick, which was wrecked; one of the survivors, a woman, married Mr St John of Cohasset, and it is their descendant, Terea St. John, who unveiled the monument." Michael Sweeney was credited with starting the movement for the memorial, wrote the Globe. "He took up the work because his father's dying injunction co

Agnes O'Reilly Hocking, daughter of famous Irish poet, co-founded the Shady Hill Open Air School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Agnes O’Reilly Hocking, the third of four daughters born to famous poet John Boyle O’Reilly of Ireland and writer Mary Murphy O'Reilly of Charlestown, died on May 15, 1955, in Madison, NH at age 78. Born on May 19, 1877, Agnes was just 13 when her father passed away suddenly in August, 1890. All four daughters attended the ceremony when the O’Reilly monument was unveiled in the Fens on June 21, 1896, attended by thousands of people, including U.S. Vice-President Adlai Stevenson. They sat in a group in the front row on the stage.   A year later, her mother Mary died in November 1897 when Agnes was 20. Agnes became an educator, and was mentioned in local papers as being a permanent substitute teacher in Charlestown. In June 1904, she and her sisters Elizabeth and Blanid sailed for Europe for six months, where they spent time in Rome and the Alps.  On June 28, 1905, Agnes married famed philosopher William Earnest Hocking , professor at Harvard College, Yale University and Phillips

Molly Stark, a Heroine and Inspiration during the American Revolution

  Courtesy of Skylight Studios Molly (Page) Stark (1737-1814), whose husband General John Stark was a hero in the American Revolution, has been honored for her own role in the war.  On June 26, 2004, officials, historians and members of the Stark family unveiled the Elizabeth Page Molly Stark statue in Wilmington, as part of Vermont's Molly Stark Trail , a 40-mile scenic byway on Route 9 between Bennington and Brattleboro. The statue depicts Molly Stark mid-stride, holding a child on one arm, against her hip and a musket in the other arm. It was sculpted by artist Robert Shure of Skylight Studios Shure, who also created a sculpture of General Stark . Molly was the wife and the mother of 11 children, and was said to be an inspiration to her husband and his regiment of New Hampshire men who fought during the American Revolution. She served as a nurse when many of the soldiers developed smallpox and opened up their home as an infirmary. When General Stark was preparing to lead his

In May 1949, Massachusetts Calls on US State Department to Send an Ambassador to the Newly Created Republic of Ireland

In May, 1949, state legislators in Massachusetts sent a resolution to the U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson to "increase the status of the representative to the Irish Republic to that of an Ambassador."  The request came in the wake of Ireland being "formally proclaimed a Free, Independent and Sovereign Republic on the Historic Day of Easter Monday" on April 18, 1949. The petition was made by three Massachusetts legislators: Senator William J.Keenan, a native of Ireland,  Representative Bernard M. Lally of Boston, and Representative John  Pierce Lynch of Springfield. They asked Secretary Acheson "to accord the proper recognition to the new Irish Republic, increase the present status of the United States representative from that of a Minister to an Ambassador." The petition was also sent to U.S. President Harry S. Truman, to Senate Majority Leader William H. White, U.S. House Speaker Sam Rayburn, and to the Massachusetts congressional delegation.  Severa

Jewish + Irish Cemeteries Were Discouraged by 19th Century Boston Puritans

Photo courtesy of Mass Moments Ancestors of the early Puritans in the Massachusetts Bay Colony discouraged Jews and Irish Catholics from burying their congregations in local cemeteries the first half of the 19th century.  Boston had long been known as a place where outsiders were considered with suspicion and hatred, due to their religion or ethnic backgrounds. According to Mass Moments , a daily history log published by Mass Humanities , on April 29, 1844, a Jewish congregation in Boston "petitioned city officials to set aside a corner of an East Boston cemetery for their use.  When the city refused, the 40 congregants of Ohabei Shalom contributed five dollars each to purchase their own burial ground. "Eight years later, they dedicated Boston's first synagogue. Located on Warren Avenue in the South End, it originally served the city's 125 Jewish families, almost all of whom hailed from German-speaking central Europe.  "In the late nineteenth century, large numbe