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John F. Fitzgerald Wins Special Election to become Boston's Mayor

Advertisement in The Boston Globe, December 12, 1905 On December 12, 1905, John F. Fitzgerald won a special election to become mayor of Boston.  He replaced the late  Patrick A Collins , who died suddenly in September 1905 while on vacation, leaving the seat vacant.   He became the first Irish-American to win the seat, following in the heels of two Irish-born mayors, Hugh O'Brien (1885-88) and Collins (1902-05).  Fitzgerald ran against Republican candidate Louis Frothingham and beat him by a margin of 47% to %38. Three other independent candidates were also in the race. Leading up to the general elections, there were rumors in the local newspapers, including  The Boston Globe , that opponents of Fitzgerald, dissatisfied with the Democratic primary results, planned to knife him at the polls.  There were also rumors that several Democratic operatives were working with Frothingham to keep Fitzgerald out of the mayor's seat. At that time, the mayor'

Irish Tenors McCormack & Murphy Perform in Boston in December 1919

John McCormack and Lambert Murphy, operatic tenors and recording artists for Victor Records, performed in Boston in December 1919. Murphy, a Harvard graduate born in Springfield MA, performed at Jordan Hall on Friday, December 5. He sang a group of American, French and Russian songs, and concluded with Irish folk songs.    His finale was "There is no Death" by O’Hara, which delighted the audience. John McCormack, famed Irish tenor, broke the attendance record at Boston Symphony Hall on December 7, where he performed “several numbers new to Boston audiences,” including an aria by Handel. He also performed a group of Irish folk songs, including "The Harp that once through Tara’s Halls" by Thomas Moore. “Faces wore happy smiles and there were audible chuckles at numerous bits and visible tears at the pathos,”  The Boston Globe wrote   about McCormack    “ He has the best qualities of a popular favorite: willingness to please a friendly audience and mark

Boston's Travel & Culture magazine, winter issue, now available

(BOSTON) -- The Boston Irish Tourism Association (BITA) has released its winter 2019/20 issue of Travel & Culture, a compendium of Irish concerts, culinary, cultural and literary activities taking place in Massachusetts and throughout New England. The magazine is distributed free at visitor kiosks and cultural venues throughout Massachusetts and is available in digital format online on BITA’s home page. This issue has feature stories about Christmas music in New England, including Boston Holiday Pops, A Christmas Celtic Sojourn, and holiday shows at the Irish Cultural Centre, Blackstone River Theatre and other cultural venues. Among the artists profiled are fiddler Liz Carroll and vocalists ChloĆ« Agnew and Niamh Farrell. Additionally, winter and St. Patrick’s Day activities leading up to March 2020 are included, from parades and concerts to cultural events and commemorations. The “Ireland” section has stories about Dublin, one of the world’s great literary capital

Boston Chinese and Irish-American Soccer Teams Battle in 1918

A newly formed and undefeated Boston Chinese soccer team , comprised of collegiate players from Massachusetts colleges, met its first defeat on November 30, 1918 by the local Irish-American Soccer team.   The final score was 2-0. At the time, soccer was a popular workingman’s sport and was popular in immigrant cities like New Bedford, Fall River, Lawrence, Quincy, Pawtucket, RI and Bridgeport, CT. The Chinese Soccer team was formed in fall 1917, consisting of players from MIT, Boston University, Harvard and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, according to the Chinese Students Monthly in 1918. Leading up to the match, local sports writers were predicting a tough battle that would favor the Chinese. “Irish-Americans have their work cut out for them tomorrow when they tackle the Chinese soccer team.   The Irish-Americans will get the surprise of their lives if they expect to win easily,” warned Boston Globe sports reporter George M. Collins in his column Soccer

Boston Puritans Hang Irish Immigrant during Witch Craze in 1688

On November 16, 1988  Boston City Council  proclaimed Goody Glover Day, in tribute to Goodwife Ann Glover, an Irish women accused of being a witch by Cotton Mather and other Boston Puritan leaders.   Raymond L. Flynn was mayor . 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." Glover was an Irish captive 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 helli

Boston's Statue to Scotsman Robert Burns Returns Home to The Fens after 44 Years

The wandering bard has finally returned home.   The bronze statue of Scotland's poet  Robert Burns  (January 25, 1759 – July 21,1796) was returned to The Back Bay Fens in Boston in a ceremony on October 30, with local Scottish leaders, open space advocates and consular officials.  Scottish vocalist Maureen McMullan and friends provided the music for the event.  The Burns statue was originally unveiled in the Fens on January 1, 1920, near the Westland Avenue entrance, in a full-fledged ceremony that included Governor Calvin Coolidge, Boston Mayor Peters, and a regiment of Highland bagpipers.      Then, inexplicably, the statue was moved in 1975 to the newly opened  Winthrop Square  in Boston's Financial District.  Apparently the developer requested a statue of John Winthrop, and because one wasn't available, the city's Fine Arts Commission offered up the Burns statue instead.  Local Scots were furious and protested to city officials, wh

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy's Garden and Greenway along Boston Irish Heritage Trail

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy  (1890-1995), who held the  Kennedy family  together through tragedy and triumph for much of the 20 th  century, is permanently enshrined along  Boston ’s waterfront, with the Rose Kennedy Garden and the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. The  Rose Kennedy Garden   is the first stop on Boston's  Irish Heritage Trail , a walking tour of twenty landmarks that tell three centuries of Boston Irish history.  The Trail winds its way through downtown  Boston  and into the Back Bay, then ends at  Fenway Park . Located on  Atlantic Avenue , not far from Rose’s birthplace at  4 Garden Court  in the North End, the Rose Kennedy Garden is a small enclosed rose garden, encircled by an iron wrought fence, with a granite fountain as the centerpiece. It is part of  Christopher   Columbus   Park , which runs along the waterfront and looks out onto  Boston   Harbor .  The Garden was officially dedicated on July 22, 1987 by Rose’s family, including  Senat

Irish Traditional Music in Vermont this Fall Features Haley Richard & Quinn Bachand, Frankie Gavin and The Murphy Beds

Three Irish traditional music concerts are coming up at Mount Hollywood Studio in Belmont, Vermont this fall.  Suggested donation to each concert is $20 and patrons are encouraged to BYOB. Performances include: October 26 - Haley Richardson & Quinn Bachand October 29 - Frankie Gavin November 29 - The Murphy Beds These concerts are organized by Mount Hollywood Studios owner and  Rod Ferrell and noted traditional musician Claudine Langille . Mount Hollywood Studios is located at  45 Frost Hill Rd in  Belmont, Vermont.  For year round information on Irish cultural activities in New England, visit I rishMassachusetts.com

Boston Irish Beer Fest in Canton on October 19

The premier Irish Beer Fest takes place at the Irish Cultural Centre  (ICC) in Canton on Saturday,  October 19, 2019.  The fest runs from 1 - 10 p.m..  Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online or at the venue. ICC members are admitted free. Beer tasting tents include: Authentic Irish Ales & Stouts, Irish Craft Brew, Local 'Celtic' Brews, Irish Cider, Pumpkin & Ginger Brews.  In addition, Irish whiskey tastings are also being offered.  ICC Chef Joe Kilcommons has created a special menu for the Irish Beer Fest, to include Guinness Stew, Kerry Gold Cheese Burger, Irish Seafood Chowder, Fish & Chips.  Artisan Food Trucks are also at the fest. Two music stages feature a variety of traditional and local bands throughout the fest.  Here is the schedule of performances: Traditional Irish Music tent 1-4pm: Jimmy Lever, Ciaran Dalton & Jen O'Shea. 4-6pm: Natasha Sheehy & Billy O'Neill will lead an open music session from 4-6pm. Irish trad

Gaelic Sports Rivalries in Boston, 1929, Kerry-Cork, Roscommon-Galway

The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) of Massachusetts held a series of football games at Tech Field in Brookline on Columbus Day weekend on Saturday October 12, 1929.  Five matches in football and hurling were slated for the day. The big matches were between Roscommon-Galway and Cork and Kerry. Over Labor Day Weekend in August, Galway had defeated Roscommon 12-3 in its Labor Day match. And the Cork-Kerry match had ended in a 6-6 tie, according to The Boston Globe . The GAA of Massachusetts formed in 1923, part of a series of local initiatives to preserve and promulgate Irish sports, culture, language and heritage in the Boston area.  By 1929 there were 9 hurling teams and 15 football teams in Massachusetts, according to author Alan Barnier in his book Sports and the Irish . Read more about the Northeaster GAA Division , based at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton, MA.

Boston and New York National Guard Units Share an Irish Roots Dating to the American Civil War

Lawrence J. Logan  National Guard army regiments in New York and Massachusetts have maintained a comaraderie over the decades based on their beginnings as Irish immigrant regiments. The 1st Battalion 69th Infantry Regiment of New York and the 1st Battalion 182nd Infantry Regiment of Massachusetts first fought together during the American Civil War, said Lt. Col. Thomas Steward, Battalion Commander of the Massachusetts regiment. The regiments maintain their friendship through a friendly competition that takes place annually at Fort Devens in Massachusetts .   It's called the Logan-Duffy Rifle Match. The competition is named after General Lawrence J. Logan and General Edward Duffy, the Commander of their respective Regiments during the Spanish American War. Read about the match in 2018 . General Logan's son was Edward L. Logan, for whom  Logan International Airport  is named. For more about Boston Irish history, visit  IrishHeritageTrail.com .

Frederick MacMonnies' Once-Controversial Sculpture at the Boston Public Library

One of Boston’s most interesting sculptures,  Bacchante and Infant Faun , is displayed in the courtyard of the  Boston Public Library  in Copley Square, Back Bay.  The masterpiece was created in 1893 by American-born sculptor  Frederick MacMonnies , a disciple of  Augustus Saint-Gaudens . MacMonnies gave the original casting to his friend, architect  Charles Follen McKim , whose own masterpiece, the Boston Public Library, was being built.  McKim in turn offered it as a gift to the Library, which installed it.  But an outcry ensued from opponents who objected to the nudity of Bacchante, the Goddess of Wine, and McKim withdrew the gift, giving it instead to the  Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The controversy over the censorship of the artwork gained MacMonnies a certain notoriety, and he made numerous replicas of the work which he sold to museums and bronze statuettes, which he sold wholesale to the general public. Nearly a century after the banning of t