Search This Blog

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Looking Back at John F. Kennedy

“We would like to live as we once lived.  But history will not permit it.”
President Kennedy, November 22, 1963

Half a century later, we allow ourselves
to be captured in time. To imagine earlier days
that must have been better days.

It was the time of our life, our nation’s life,
when idealism trumped cynicism, when
grace and beauty took their rightful place
in how we saw ourselves, how the world saw us.

Televisions were black and white,
just like the battle between good and evil.
New frontiers opened up, old prejudices broke down.
We felt that anything was possible.

The Boston accent, summers on the Cape,
boats swaying in the bay, clam bakes and ocean waves.
The beauty of youth. It all seemed endless.

Fifty years later, we hold our memories gently
and remain wistful of that time interrupted.
Even now, we carry the promise
of possibility in our hearts

- from Boston Irish Tourism Association

Saturday, November 16, 2013

City of Boston marks November 16 as Goody Glover Day, in honor of Irish servant hanged as a 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 (photo above) was placed at Our Lady of Victories Church in Boston's South End/Bay Village neighborhood by the InternationalOrder 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

For details on Irish cultural activities year round, visit

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

James Michael Curley remembered in ceremony at Boston's Mt. Calvary Cemetery on Anniversary of His Death

Local Catholic and Irish-American leaders gathered today at the Old Calvary Cemetery in Boston on the anniversary of the death of James Michael Curley, the larger-than-life political figure who dominated Boston and Massachusetts politics for half a century. Curley died on November 12, 1958, fifty-five years ago today.

Attending the ceremony was Ray Flynn, former mayor of Boston and US Ambassador to the Vatican, who spoke about "the heart and vision" of Curley and his career "helping the poor and needy of Boston."

Curley served four four-year terms as mayor of Boston, in 1914, 1922, 1930 and 1946.  He was Governor of Massachusetts from 1935-37, and also served as  US Congressman from 1911-14.

Find out more about Boston's Irish history at

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Martin J. Walsh Wins Election as Next Mayor of Boston

(November 5, 2013) -- Martin J. Walsh, a Massachusetts state representative from Dorchester, has been elected as the next Mayor of Boston.  He defeated his opponent, Boston City Councilor John R. Connolly.

Walsh, the son of Irish immigrants from County Galway, Ireland, vowed to make Boston an inclusive city where jobs, housing and educational opportunities are equally distributed across the city's neighborhoods.

Connolly was gracious in defeat, vowing to work closely with Mayor-elect Walsh in the coming term. 

Elected as state representative in 1997, Walsh developed a powerful coalition of labor unions, neighborhood activists, elected officials and ordinary citizens who support his message of inclusion and opportunity for all.

At the campaign party at the Park Plaza Hotel in downtown Boston, the Dropkick Murphys performed during the night. 

In April, the Galway Independent ran a profile of Walsh and his connections to Galway.

Walsh joins an illustrious line of Boston mayors with Irish heritage, including John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, the grandfather of President John F. Kennedy; James Michael Curley; Maurice Tobin; Kevin White and Ray Flynn.

Here is a list of the Boston mayors of Irish descent, starting with Hugh O'Brien in 1885. 

For more about Boston's Irish history, visit  For year round details on cultural activities, visit