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Showing posts from December, 2017

Scottish Bagpipers and Irish Uilleann Pipers in Boston, 1954

Piper Patsy Brown A Boston Globe feature story called "Mystery of the Bagpipes" by Virginia Bright , published on January 3, 1954, gives insight into greater Boston's Irish and Scottish musical environment during that decade. The first part of the story focuses on the challenge of organizing Scottish pipe bands in the region, finding the right instruments and practice sets, not to mention the bass drums and kilts.   Frederick Colvin of Burlington, formerly of Belfast, conveyed his efforts to start a band.  It took him a year to find an instructor, Archibald MacLeod of Malden, pipe major for the Caledonian Band.  Scottish-American activities were on the decline in 1950s Boston.  The Boston Caledonian Club, in existence since the 1850s, held its last Highland Games Festival in 1956, according to writer Emily Ann Donaldson in her book, The Scottish Highland Games in America.     The Globe story then turns to what it calls 'the Irish bagpipes, or 'Ui

Eamon DeValera's Christmas Greeting to the Irish in 1937

  Eighty years ago, Eamon DeValera, President of the Irish Free State , gave a special radio broadcast on Christmas Eve, according to an item in The Boston Globe .  The five minute speech, which ended in a Gaelic blessing, came at a time when a new Constitution of Ireland was officially enacted on December 29, five days after DeValera’s address.  It had been approved in a vote of the Irish people on July 1, 1937. “We are in a position to shape our Nation’s destiny. We will establish a new order, make life here more noble and happy," DeValera said to his listeners.  "However we need to plan wisely.  Our new life cannot be the work of a day; we must build from the right foundation." DeValera saw the new Constitution as a forward-looking document that future generations would value.  “Children and youth of Ireland you are on the threshold of a new era.  Opportunities now are yours.  The tradition of a free Ireland has been handed down to you.  You m

Maude Gonne, Ireland's Joan of Arc, Lectured in Massachusetts in December 1897

One hundred and twenty years ago this week, Maude Gonne, known in the media as "Ireland's Joan of Arc," passed through Boston on December 18, 1897 on her way to Lynn, Massachusetts, where she spoke before an overflow audience of Irish supporters at Lynn Theatre. She arrived in Boston at Park Square Station from New York City, and was met by local Irish leaders, according to The Boston Globe, which described her as "a tall and stately beauty, and about the last person in the world one would pick out for a martyr to a cause which has produced in the past so many martyrs." When asked by local reporters if she expected to accomplish much on the visit, Gonne replied, "Yes, indeed.  It has stimulated me.  I find that Irishmen succeed in every land except their own, and the reason they don't succeed there is that England's tyranny will not permit it." Asked if she believed in absolute freedom for Ireland, she replied, "Absolute.  Ireland

A Christmas Celtic Sojourn - See Shows for Free in Worcester & Boston

Natalie Haas A Christmas Celtic Sojourn with Brian O’Donovan sparkles with masterful music, spellbinding stories and dazzling dancing. It evokes emotions of Christmas memories that stretch back generations. It inspires audiences throughout New England to embrace tradition, spirituality and community. The Boston Irish Tourism Association is a free pair of tickets for the Hanover Theatre show in Worcester on Monday, December 18, and for the Cutler Majestic Theatre show in Boston on Thursday, December 21, 2017. Enter to Win Tickets here  and follow the directions.  Or, you can purchase tickets online now to these or other shows, to ensure you get to see one of the magical shows this Christmas holiday. Read profile of Brian O'Donovan here. Find year round details on Irish cultural activities in New England by visiting .

Timothy Deacy, Irish Patriot and Leading Citizen of Lawrence, MA

Timothy Deacy (1839-1880) , Civil War soldier, Irish rebel and politician, died on December 10, 1880 in Lawrence , MA .  Deacy emigrated with his family from Clontakilty,  County   Cork  to  Massachusetts  in 1847 to escape the Irish Famine.  The family settled in Lawrence 35 miles north of Boston, the nation's first planned industrial city where immigrants and Yankees worked long hours in mills and factories. The Deacy family had long been involved in Irish political insurrections, starting with the United Irishmen Uprising of 1798. In  Lawrence , Timothy and his younger brother Cornelius joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood, formed in 1858 as a physical force movement to oust  Britain  from  Ireland .  When the Civil War started, they enlisted in the 9th  Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in 1861.  Both brothers were wounded in May 1864, but continued to fight with their unit. After the war, Deacy and 300 veterans went to  Ireland  in 1865 to train Irish sold

Irish Land League Advocate Michael Davitt Speaks in Boston on December 5, 1886

Irish republican and agrarian activist Michael Davitt spoke at the Boston Theatre on December 5, 1886 before a sold-out standing-room-only audience. The son of parents who were evicted from their home, Davitt was introduced by Boston Irish leader and U.S. Congressman Patrick Collins , who praised Davitt creator of the Land League, for "turning his own misfortune into glory." Davitt described his efforts “to band together tenant farmers of Ireland in the Land League to defend their homes and earnings from the rapacity of an idle and non-producing landlord class.   “A few years ago the Irish question was involved in obscurity: today the whole world is discussing its merits.  A few years ago most civilized nations, not excepting America , sympathized as much, if not more, with England , for having a turbulent people on her hands with the Irish.  Today the position is reversed and Ireland has the symphony and good will, I believe, of most civilized nations in her r