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Showing posts from March, 2020

On March 28, 1847, USS Jamestown Leaves Charlestown Navy Yard on Humanitarian Mission to Help Ireland

Painting of USS Jamestown, courtesy of the artist Edward D. Walker  On March 28, 1847, the USS Jamestown set sail from Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston Harbor on a humanitarian mission to Ireland, carrying 800 tons of supplies for the victims of the Irish Famine. The mission was led by Captain Robert Bennet Forbes , a wealthy sea merchant living in Milton, MA. With Forbes on the journey were 38 crew members who had signed on to help. In February, Forbes had petitioned the US Congress for the loan of a naval ship to bring supplies, and permission to use the USS Jamestown had been granted. As the boat left the harbor on the morning of March 28, crowds lined the wharf and the shores, cheering as the ship headed out to open seas. The fifteen day voyage faced foul weather and rain, sleet, wind and fog. The ship landed in Queenstown (now Cobh), County Cork on April 12, 1847. Back in Boston, the newspapers enthusiastically reported on the trip, failing to note the cruel irony that

In March, 1920, State Senator John J. Walsh Rebukes Ulster Loyalists for Spreading Propaganda about Irish Independence

On March 22, 1920, Massachusetts State Senator John J. Walsh offered up a stinging rebuke to a group of Loyalists from Ulster who were seeking to create a permanent effort in the United States "for the avowed purpose of frustrating the right of the people of Ireland to determine the form of government under which they shall live." The group, known as the Ulster Delegation Reception Committee, came to the U.S. in winter 1920 to dissuade Americans from contributing funds to an Irish Bond campaign spearheaded by Irish leader Eamon de Valera, in an effort to create an Irish Republic separate from Great Britain. de Valera's success prompted the Ulstermen, who were loyal to the union with Britain, to launch a propaganda campaign against the quest for Irish independence. State Senator Walsh's order read: Senator Walsh was born in Dublin in 1871 and emigrated to Boston with his family in 1876, when he was five years old.  He attended Boston University Law School

Why Boston Celebrates Evacuation Day & St. Patrick’s Day on March 17

One of the biggest holidays in Boston each year occurs on March 17, an historical anniversary that is especially cherished by the Irish-American community here. On March 17, 1776 American colonists compelled the British to begin evacuating Boston Harbor by aiming cannons on the British fleet from the highest hill in Boston, Dorchester Heights. The British presence in Boston began in October, 1768, when 4,000 British troops arrived in Boston after local citizens objected to a series of British taxes on the residents. Their presence led to a number of physical confrontations, starting with the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770, when five Bostonians - including Irishman Patrick Carr - were shot dead by British soldiers. The tension escalated and came to a head in April 1775 during the Battles of Lexington and Concord, followed by the Battle of Bunker Hill in June 1775. Major General Henry Knox, whose parents came from Ireland, hatched a plan to force the British out of

St. Augustine's, Boston's first Catholic Chapel & Burying Ground, opened in Southie in 1818

St. Augustine's cemetery , at the corner of Dorchester Street and West Sixth Street, became the first Catholic burying ground in New England.  The cemetery and chapel was erected by  Rev. Philip Lariscy , an Augustinian friar, born in County Kilkenny in 1782.  It was named for Saint Augustine of Hippo, founder of the religious order.   Lariscy was said to be the first priest in Boston to hear confessions in Irish.   As Irish and French Catholics continued to settle in Boston in the early 19 th century, the need for a dedicated Catholic cemetery had became apparent.   In November 1818 the Board of Health of the Town of Boston gave "that group of Christians known as Roman Catholics" permission to erect their own cemetery on the South Boston peninsula.   The following year, in 1819, a mortuary chapel was built and mass was said there for the growing Irish community settling in South Boston.   In the 1820s Bishop Joseph Benedict Fenwick enlarged the ch

South Boston's St. Patrick's Day Parade is Cancelled in 2020

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh issued the following statement today regarding this year's St. Patrick's Day parade in South Boston , scheduled to take place on Sunday, March 15, 2020: "In collaboration with Congressman Lynch, Councilors Flaherty and Flynn, Senator Collins, Representative Biele, and David Falvey from the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, the St. Patrick's Day Parade is being cancelled. This decision is being made out of an abundance of caution to ensure that we are doing what is needed to keep the residents of Boston safe and healthy. "While the risk in Boston remains low, this situation is changing very quickly and we are closely monitoring any local cases. Our top priority is preventing any new cases, to the best of our ability, and we are paying close attention to guidance from public health officials. We encourage all residents to follow preventive measures to avoid illness, such as washing hands and staying home if you are

The Irish Role in the Boston Massacre

March 5, 2020 Ceremony at the Boston Massacre Grave Site March 5, 2020, Boston marks the 250 th anniversary of the Boston Massacre, a transformative event in history that launched the road to revolution in the American colonies. The Massacre took place on a wintry Monday night on March 5, 1770, when British troops fired into a crowd of angry Bostonians, killing five men.   The Boston Gazette summed up the mood of the colonies when it wrote on March 12, “The town of Boston affords a recent and melancholy demonstration of the destructive consequences of quartering troops among citizens in a time of peace, under pretense of supporting the law, and aiding civil authority.” The Soldiers The Twenty-ninth Regiment on guard that night was actually a battalion of Irishmen who had been conscripted by the British to fight in the colonies.   The regiment was described this way: “the average man was over 30, medium tall, and Irish.” Describing the atmosphere