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Showing posts from 2015

Soldiers & Sailors Monument on Boston Common, Cornerstone Placed on September 18th

The City of Boston laid the cornerstone for the   Civil War Sailors and Soldiers Monument   at Flagstaff Hill on Boston Common on Monday, September 18,1871. "The event was celebrated by an imposing public display.  Business was generally suspended, the streets were thronged with people drawn together from all parts of the State to honor the occasion." Among the attendees were Martin Milmore, the Irish-born sculptor who had won the commission to create the monument;  Patrick A. Collins , state senator from South Boston;  General P.R. Guiney  of the Massachusetts 9th Irish Regiment, and Gilmore's Band, led by  Patrick S. Gilmore . The following year Milmore went to Rome, Italy, where he spent the next five years working on the monument.  It was shipped back to Boston and officially unveiled on September 17, 1877. For more information, see  Irish Boston: A Lively Look at Boston's Colorful Irish Past .  For more on Boston's Irish history, visit   IrishHerit

JFK Statue at Massachusetts State House Now Open to the Public

Tourists, school children and local residents are once again able to stand next to the beloved statue of President John F. Kennedy which stands alongside other famous Bostonians on the front lawn of the MassachusettsState House . The 8 foot 2 inch tall bronze depiction of President John F. Kennedy, purposeful and confident in full stride, was created by sculptor Isabel McIlvain of Sherborn,  and unveiled on May 30, 1990.   Nearby are statues of Daniel Webster, Horace Mann and Anne Hutchinson.    This area of the statehouse was closed off on September 11, 2001, and stayed closed due to security reasons.  But recently, government officials agreed to open access to the front law from April through October, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.. The Massachusetts State House has self-guided tour information about State House the building and grounds, which includes numerous statues and plaques that tell the story of the state’s illustrious political history. Read more about

Irish Rebels Seize Dublin Post Office in Easter Uprising, 1916

Flag of the Irish Citizens Army On Easter Monday, April 24, 1916, an insurrection against British rule in Ireland took place in the capitol city of Dublin .  Led by a collection of volunteer organizations including the Irish Republican Brotherhood, Sinn Fein, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizens Army, the armed uprising was planned for months in advance.  But the capture of the German ship, the Aud, bringing guns for the rebels meant that “any chance of a successful uprising disappeared,” wrote Irish historian Michael Kenny in The Road to Freedom , published by the National Museum of Ireland. An official British communication, published in The Boston Globe , read: “At noon yesterday serious disturbances broke out in Dublin .  A large party of men identified with the SF party, mostly armed, occupied Stephen’s Green and took possession forcibly of the Postoffice, where they cut the telegraph and telephonic wires.  Houses were also occupied in Stephen’s Green, Sac

Boston College Arts Festival Features Gaelic Roots Performers on April 23

Seamus Connolly The 17th annual Boston College Arts Festival , which runs April 23-25, 2015,  kicks off this year with a performance by BC's Gaelic Roots program , run by master fiddler Seamus Connolly.  The performance of Irish music with dancing takes place at O'Neill Plaza on campus, from noon to 12:45 on Thursday, April 23. The three-day festival includes dozens of performances, ranging from music and dance to theater and art exhibits to literary readings and film showings.  Here is a complete 2015 schedule . The Gaelic Roots program was first introduced to Boston College by Seamus Connolly in 1990, and since then it has become one of the most important academic programs for the study of Gaelic music and dance. You can follow Gaelic Roots on Facebook . Find year round information on Irish cultural activities in greater Boston at IrishBoston.org .

Johnny Kelley - One of the Boston Marathon Greats

Photo Courtesy of Boston Public Library The 119th annual Boston Marathon  takes place on Monday, April 20, 2015, a good time to reflect on John Adelbert  Kelley, considered by many to be the quintessential amateur runner who exemplifies the spirit of the Boston Marathon.   Kelley ran his first marathons in 1928 and 1932 but did not finish either race.  He ran again in 1933 and then competed in every single race through 1992!  He finished in the top 10 eighteen times, taking first place in 1935 and again in 1945.  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.  Kelley was born in 1907 in Medford, MA, and traces his ancest

April 18, 1949: 26 Counties of Ireland Officially became the Republic of Ireland, Despite deValera Objection

Eamon deValera in Boston in March 1948 √Čamon de Valera, who served as  Ireland ’s prime minister from 1933 through 1948, had remained forceful in calling for the unification of  Ireland  and for breaking away from the  British Commonwealth . De Valera toured the US in March 1948, rallying Americans to help Ireland get rid of partition.  In Boston he said, "If people around the world would make it clear that partition cannot be, it would disappear."  In December 1948  the Irish Parliament passed the  Republic  of  Ireland Act , in tandem with the British Nationality Act, declaring that “People born in Eire in the future will be  Eire  subjects and not British subjects.”   On Monday, April 18, 1949,  Ireland  officially became the  Republic  of  Ireland  and severed its ties to the  British Commonwealth .  But the six counties known as Northern Ireland opted to remain part of Great Britain.  In Dublin, 200,000 people jammed onto O'Connell Street to ce

Boston Massacre Occurred on March 5, 1770, Helping to Inspire the Revolutionary War

Two hundred and forty five years ago today, a violent skirmish broke out in Boston between occupying British troops and local residents that left five men dead.  Known as the Boston Massacre, the incident occurred after a week of smaller skirmishes and fist fights between the soldiers and Bostonians.  After some provocation, the soldiers panicked and fired into the crowd, killing Samuel Gray, Samuel Maverick, James Caldwell, Crispus Attucks and Patrick Carr.  Carr, an Irish immigrant who was walking toward the incident with fellow Irishman Charles Connor, was that last man to be shot. He lingered for several days, but his deathbed testimony helped exonerate the soldiers. John Adams, the future American president, was called upon to defend the soldiers, proving that the American colony could put on a fair and impartial trial.  The Bostonian Society is staging an event to commemorate the Boston Massacre on Saturday, March 7, 2015 that take place at various times throughout the

Maud Gonne, Ireland's Joan of Arc, Toured Massachusetts in February 1900 to Protest British in Boer War

Maud Gonne , rebel, activist and poetic muse, came to the United States in February 1900, to tell Americans about the atrocities of the British in South Africa's Boer War.  She spoke forcefully about the conditions of the refugee camps where women and children suffered, and spoke of the Irish who were fighting alongside the Boers against the British, including her husband, Major John McBride, who formed the Irish Transvaal Brigade. Already renowned for her beauty and fiery disposition, she was described by The Boston Globe as "pictuesque in a black velvet gown with a silver girdle at the waist...her splendid voice extremely musical." Gonne spoke in Lowell on Sunday, February 11, 1900 in Associate Hall , and later met with a group of German-Americans from Lawrence. Then on Monday, February 12, she addressed 2,500 in Fall River, during which eight Irish societies of 500 men and women preceded her speech with a parade that included two brass bands and a drum cor

Erskine Childers Weds Mary Alden Osgood at Trinity Church in Boston on January 5, 1904

English-born Irish rebel Robert Erskine Childers married Mary (Molly) Alden Osgood at Trinity Church in Boston on January 5, 1904.  They met at a state dinner hosted by the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company at Faneuil Hall and were married after a three-week courtship.  Both were idealists from upper class families whose passions turned toward Ireland .  Childers was a gifted writer whose book, Riddle of the Sands , published in 1903, is considered the first spy-novel thriller.  In 1911 Childers published his book, TheFramework of Home Rule , in which he decried British abuse of freedoms in Ireland and other colonies around the world. In July 1914 Childers and Osgood carried out a daring gun running operation, shipping arms and ammunition from Germany to Howth aboard the yacht Asgard , which Mary’s family had given the couple on their wedding day.   A close ally of Eamon deValera , Childrens was secretary-general of the Irish delegation involved in n