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Showing posts from February, 2020

America's Greatest Sculptor Born in Ireland on March 1, 1848

One of America’s most acclaimed sculptors of the 19 th  century was actually an Irish immigrant.  Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907) was born on March 1, 1848 on Charlemount Street in Dublin at the height of the Irish Famine, when millions of Irish were fleeing Ireland to places like Boston, New York, Montreal, St. John and other eastern port cities.   His father Bernard Saint-Gaudens was a French cobbler who had "a wonderfully complex mixture of a fierce French accent and Irish brogue."  His mother, Mary McGuinness, was born in Bally Mahon, County Longford, to Arthur McGuinness and Mary Daly. According to his son Homer, when Augustus was six months old, "the famine in Ireland compelled (the family) to go to America."  They landed in Boston in September 1848, where they lived for six weeks until the father found work in New York City and sent for them.  Augustus apprenticed as a cameo cutter, and in 1867 moved to Paris, wh

Irish Poet Thomas Moore, Revitalized Irish Melodies

I rish poet, lyricist and musician Thomas Moore, who wrote compelling lyrics to many of Ireland's ancient melodies, died on this day of February 25, 1852.  His ten-volume collection of  Moore's Melodies , published between 1808 and 1834, helped revitalize interest in Irish music that was in danger of being marginalized and forgotten.   In Boston, Moore's Melodies quickly found their way into the city's musical community; with several of his songs published as early as 1811.  His songs, particularly  Last Rose of Summer , were performed as part of Boston's musical repertoire by famous visiting performers like singer  Jenny Lind  and violinist  Ole Bull .  Upon learning of his death in 1852,  Boston Pilot  publisher Patrick Donahoe and other leaders formed a Thomas Moore Club to perpetuate his music.  In 1869 and 1872,  Patrick S. Gilmore  featured Moore's songs at the National and International Peace Jubilees, alongside composers like Handel and Mozart.  In

Boston Massachusetts Launches Irish Bond Drive to Support the Irish Republic in February 1920

Irish organizations in Boston and across Massachusetts geared up for an Irish Bond drive that would raise money to create an Irish Republic.  Organized by the Friends of Irish Freedom, the drive aspired to raise one million dollars in Massachusetts, of which the Boston goal was half a million dollars,  out of a total goal of $10 million across the United States.  The denominations of the bonds ranged from $10 to $10,000, according to state chairman Thomas Walsh, who said he was counting on "some rich Bostonians of Irish sympathy" to buy the $10,000 bonds, though the success of the drive depended upon the number of $10 bonds sold, reported The Boston Globe. Among the local groups involved in the drive were the County Galway Men's Association and the Gaelic School. In Charlestown, six year old Ann Bonner was the first person to purchase bonds there.  Other large turnouts took place in South Boston, East Boston, Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, Lynn, Salem and Quincy.

Irish National Land League Holds Rally at Boston's Faneuil Hall in February 1881

Faneuil Hall was packed on February 11, 1881 with public officials, distinguished citizens and Irish-American leaders, there to show support for the Irish national land league and to criticize the British government for trying to thwart the Land League movement in Ireland by arresting its leaders. Among those present were Irish-American leaders John Boyle O'Reilly and Patrick A. Collins, Boston Mayor Frederick O. Prince, General Benjamin Butler and abolitionist Wendell Phillips . Mayor Prince expressed outrage at “the tyranny of the British government in arresting and imprisoning, without sufficient reason, that good man and true patriot, Michael Davitt.”   Patrick Collins said, “This is not simply an Irish movement, but a movement in the interests of justice, truth, human rights and the civilization of the 19 th century. What is happening in Ireland today is to happen in England and Scotland tomorrow, and this the British government knows and dr