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Showing posts from April, 2020

Galway Immigrant Edward White, noted Uilleann Pipe Maker in 19th Century Boston

    Ad in 1853 by Michael Quinlin Edward White (1807-1877), who emigrated from Loughrea, Galway to Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1848, was a notable figure in Boston’s Irish music community, and a successful businessman as well.   Based at Dallas Place (off of Ruggles Street) in Roxbury, White was a musical instrument repairman, whose specialty was the uilleann pipes, then referred to commonly as the union pipes or Irish bagpipes.   During this time, Roxbury was a separate city next to Boston, and would later be annexed to Boston as a neighborhood in 1868. Throughout the 1850s, White ran a regular advertisement in the Boston Pilot , the nation’s leading weekly newspaper.  The Pilot catered to the city’s growing Irish population, but also had a national following of readers.   White’s ads ran over 225 times between 1853 and 1860. Ad in 1859 "Edward White, manufacturer of the union Irish and Scotch bag pipes…. can furnish the purchaser with (bag pipes

Irish Rebels Take over Dublin on April 25, 1916

Flag of the Irish Citizens Army On Tuesday, April 25, 1916, Irish insurgents objecting to British rule in  Ireland  tried to take over the City of  Dublin .  The rebellion was led by a collection of volunteer organizations including the Irish Republican Brotherhood, Sinn Fein, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizens Army.   Throughout the day, the Irish rebels took possession of several different sections of the city.  An official British communication, published in  The Boston Globe , read: “A large party of men identified with the Sinn Fein party, mostly armed, occupied Stephen’s Green and took possession forcibly of the Post Office, where they cut the telegraph and telephonic wires.  Houses were also occupied in Stephen’s Green,  Sackville Street ,  Abbey Street  and along the quays. In the course of the day soldiers arrived from the Curragh and the situation is now well in hand.” The armed uprising was planned for months in advance, with weapons from Germa

J.J. McDermott of New York Won the first Boston Marathon in 1897

John McDermott This year's   Boston Marathon , slated to take place today, is being postponed to September 14, 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The annual race is sponsored by the  Boston Athletic Association  (BAA).  The very first Boston Marathon was held on April 19,1897, inspired by the first modern Olympic Games held the previous year in Athens, Greece.  Thomas E. Burke , who won first place in the 100 and 440 yard races at the Athens Olympics in 1896, was the official starter of the race.  "At 12:15, Tom Burke scrapped his foot across the narrow street in front of Metcalf's Mill and called the contestants numbers," reported The Boston Globe.   The race was organized by the BAA, and the initial field that year consisted of fifteen runners, of whom ten would finish the race.    John J. McDermott  of the Pastime Athletic Club of New York won the race, finishing the 25 mile course in two hours, fifty-five minutes and ten seconds.   Mc

Parnell Society of Dublin Honors Fannie Parnell at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge MA

On April 11, 2001, the Parnell Society of Dublin placed a granite marker at the grave site of Ms. Fanny Parnell at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, honoring her role as a patriot and poet of Ireland. The ceremony was led by Ireland’s ambassador to the United States Sean O hUuiginn, Irish government official Frank Murray and members of the Society. Fanny was known as the Patriot Poet, a determined Irish woman of strong-mind born into a famous family with Boston connections. Fanny Parnell used her gifts of language and intellect to express the eloquence and fury of Irish unrest in the late 19th century, and was the leading spokeswoman throughout the United States for the Ladies Land League. Her sister Anna had founded Ladies Land League as an adjunct to the reform movement sweeping rural Ireland in the 1870s and1880s. Their brother Charles Stewart Parnell, Ireland's great home rule leader in the latter half of the 19th century, was in jail with Land League founder M

Boston Athletes Dominate in the first Modern Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, 1896

The Modern Olympic Games kicked off in Athens, Greece, on April 6, 1896, rekindling the ancient sporting competition after an absence of 1,500 years. Thirteen nations participated. Boston, Massachusetts was well-represented at the Games that year, with six athletes making the journey to Greece. Also participating was a team from Princeton University in New Jersey. The Boston athletes included Thomas E. Burke, Ellery H. Clarke, Thomas P. Curtis, Arthur Blake and W.W. Hoyt of the Boston Athletic Association (BAA), accompanied by their manager John Graham, as well as James Brendan Connolly of the Suffolk Athletic Association of South Boston, accompanied by manager Thomas J. Barry. Connolly (1868-1957) was one of twelve children (including eight boys in a row) born in South Boston to immigrant parents John and Ann (O'Donnell) from Inis More, Aran Islands, off the coast of County Galway, Ireland. The American team left New York on March 20, 1896 on a German Steamer, arriving in Napl

South Boston's James B. Connolly, first medal winner in the 1896 Olympic Games in Athens

On Monday, April 6, 1896, James Brendan Connolly of South Boston became the first medalist in the modern Olympic Games when he won the triple jump on the opening day of the Games in Athens, Greece. Connolly won the event - back then it was called the Hop, Skip and Jump - by jumping 44 ' 9 3/4", beating the second place finisher by nearly six feet. After his final jump, the audience began chanting his name and yelling Nike, the Greek word for victory, according to Connolly's teammate, Ellery H. Clark. Connolly and his American teammates nearly missed their events - they arrived in Athens thinking they had twelve days to prepare, only to realize that the Greeks used the Julian Calendar, not the Gregorian Calendar, and his event was that afternoon. Connolly also competed in the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris, and took second place in the Triple Jump. Beverly Cronin of the Boston Herald wrote, "In typical Connolly fashion, he walked the seven miles to Paris St