Search This Blog

Friday, January 11, 2019

Irish Pipers Club of Boston Holds First Concert on January 11, 1910 in Boston's South End

Photo courtesy of Lives of the Pipers

The first concert of the newly-formed Irish Pipers' Club of Boston was held at Wells Memorial Hall on Tuesday, January 11, 1910, part of a cultural explosion of Irish music, dance, language and arts taking place in Boston in the early 20th century.   

The concert was significant for Irish music historians because it included notable uilleann pipers Michael and William Hanafin and John Nolan.  And guests in the audience were identified as Sergeant James Early of the Irish Music Club of Chicago and Patsy Touhey, who was born in Galway and grew up in South Boston. Touhey was considered by many to be the finest piper of his generation.

Other performers at the concert included singer Peter O'Neill, Irish step dancer James Cahill and the Irish Choral Society, led by director Charles F. Forrester, according to the Republic Newspaper, an Irish Catholic paper owned by John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, the grandfather of President John F. Kennedy.  

Wells Memorial Hall was located at 978 Washington Street in Boston's South End, then a heavily Irish neighborhood.  

For more about Irish music in Boston, see Irish Boston: A Lively Look at Boston's Colorful Irish Past

For details on Irish cultural activities in greater Boston, visit IrishBoston.org..   

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Irish Gun Runners Erskine Childers and Molly Alden Marry at Trinity Church in Boston


Molly & Erskine Childers aboard the Asgard, a gift on their wedding day

English-born Irish rebel Robert Erskine Childers married Mary (Molly) Alden Osgood at Trinity Church in Boston on Tuesday, 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.

The Boston Globe called the wedding "One of the most interesting events of the social season in Boston....In the distinguished gathering which filled the auditorium of the church was quite a delegation of Londoners, all friends of Mr. Childers, who is clerk of the house of commons and a personal friend of Lord Denbigh."

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 Molly'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 negotiating the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921.   He rejected the final treaty and was involved in the subsequent Irish Civil War.  He was captured and executed on November 24, 1922, despite strong protests and appeals from around the world.

Irish leaders in Boston held a memorial for Childers at Faneuil Hall following his death.

Their son, Erskine Childers, became the fifth President of Ireland in 1973. 

Find out more about Boston's Irish history at IrishHeritageTrail.com.