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Showing posts from February, 2020

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.   For a full story on Moore's achievements, read  Ireland's Minstrel Boy Gets His Encore  in the Irish Echo. 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, impresario Patrick S. Gilmore

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

Baseball star Mike 'King' Kelly signs with the Boston Beaneaters, February 1887

Mike King Kelly , one of the premier baseball players of the late 19th century, signed a deal to play for the  Boston Beaneaters  on February 14, 1887 for a record $10,000, the highest price paid for a professional athlete up to that time.  The Boston Globe reported that Kelly left the Chicago White Stockings in a deal negotiated on Valentine's Day in Poughkeepsie, NY between Kelly and Beaneater treasurer J.B. Billings. "Diamonds cannot be bought with shoestrings," Kelly said as "he toyed with a diminutive cane and puffed at a Sweet Caporal cigarette," according to the Globe.  Kelly had three great years with the Beaneaters, then went on to coach and play for the Boston Reds in the short-lived Players League.  Described as a larger-than-life character, Kelly was as notorious off the field as on.  A great base runner, he had his own song,  Slide Kelly Slide , a popular ditty written by J.W. Kelly and sung by Maggie Kline.  Along with Boston Globe repo

Irish President Eamon DeValera Holds Rallies in Fall River & New Bedford in February, 1920

Eamon deValera barnstormed into Fall River and New Bedford MA on February 9-10, 1920, part of his American tour to build up support and recognition for the Irish Republic. He arrived in Fall River on Monday, February 9, around 3:30 and addressed a large gather of Irish-Americans who had waited patiently for his arrival. Music was furnished by the Finneran’s orchestra and Irish airs made up the program. The Fall River Globe described the scene, “His utterances, especially when he made reference to the fact that Ireland would never surrender to British rule, evoked a wild manifestation of enthusiasm. His every word was followed with the closest attention.” His opening remarks were in Irish, then he said, “I expected to find people here as I have found them everywhere who talk the Celtic tongue. I was addressed in that language as I entered the hall here. You see the fact that I was greeted here and in many other places in the Irish language shows that this language is