Skip to main content

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy born on July 22, 1890 in Boston's North End

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, mother of President John F. Kennedy, was born on July 22, 1890 at 4 Garden Court in Boston's North End, at a time when the neighborhood was heavily Irish.

Her father, John "Honey" Fitzgerald, was a prominent businessman and newspaper publisher of The Republic and her mother was Mary Josephine Hannon.

When Rose married Joseph P. Kennedy of East Boston on October 7, 1914, it marked the merger of Boston's two most influential Irish political families. The newlyweds bought their first house at 83 Beals Street in Brookline, where they raised four boys and five girls.  The JFK Home in Brookline is managed by the National Park Service and is open to the public.

Their second eldest son, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, became the first Catholic President of the United States in 1960.  Sons Robert and Edward were senators and played key roles in the Kennedy Administration, with Robert serving as the US Attorney General. Their daughters, Jean Kennedy Smith, was U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, and played a role in the peace process between Ireland and Northern Ireland, which resulted in the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, while Eunice Kennedy Shriver was the originator of the Special Olympics.  

Through her life, Rose Kennedy captured the American public's imagination because of the suffering she endured and the grace she displayed during the untimely deaths of several of her children.

She was extremely religious and was a daily communicant at St. Joseph's Church in Hyannis.  In 1951 Pope Pius XII named her a Papal Countess, in recognition of her "exemplary motherhood and charitable works."  In 1996, Irish novelist and playwright Mary Manning Adams wrote a play about Rose Kennedy's life entitled "Go Lovely Rose."

Rose died in 1995 at age 105.  Her funeral mass was held at St. Stephen's Church in the North End, where she was baptized and attended mass as a young girl.

The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Garden, built in 1987, is the first stop on Boston's Irish Heritage Trail.

The small enclosed rose garden, encircled by an iron wrought fence, with a granite fountain as the centerpiece. It is part of Christopher Columbus Park, which runs along the waterfront and looks out onto Boston Harbor. The Garden was officially dedicated on July 22, 1987 by Rose’s family, including Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who called his mother “the greatest teacher and most wonderful mother that any child could ever have.”

Today, the Rose Kennedy Garden has 104 rose bushes, one for every year of Rose’s life.

The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway opened in 2008.  The 27 acre swath of Greenway once lay beneath the unsightly and noisy Central Artery, a four lane, mile and a half highway built in the 1950s.  When the highway finally came down, the greenway began to take shape, connecting the city’s waterfront to the rest of downtown. 

Today, the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway is one of the city’s most popular public spaces, drawing office workers, tourists, students, conventioneers and local residents to enjoy its sweeping vistas and friendly amenities.  With a magnificent Carousel, public art, water fountains, concerts, food courts, Wi-Fi access and well-tended gardens, the Greenway serves its mission of being an urban oasis that is free and open to all. 

Read more about the Kennedy family's Irish connections


Popular posts from this blog

Boston Hero John Boyle O'Reilly Dies on August 10 in Hull, Massachusetts

John Boyle O'Reilly, one of Boston's most accomplished citizens, died on August 10, 1890 in Hull, Massachusetts, from an accidental overdose of medication.  His sudden death marked the end of an amazing life of heroism, advocacy, leadership and literature that helped transform the city and the nation. Arriving in Boston in 1870, O'Reilly spent the next 20 years reconciling the city's racial and ethnic factions who struggled against one another.  He became editor and then owner of  The Pilot ,  the leading Irish Catholic paper in America, using the paper as a bully pulpit to advance various causes.  He befriended the Yankee establishment while admonishing them for the prejudices.   O'Reilly defended American Blacks who were still looking for post Civil War equality.  He welcomed new immigrants such as Italians, Jews and Chinese, insisting that they get the same privileges as nativist Americans.  Throughout his life he pursued freedom of Ireland from Bri

Boston Mayors of Irish Descent, 1885-2014

Hugh O'Bien Here are the Mayors of Boston Claiming Irish Heritage:  Hugh O’Brien 1885–88 Patrick Collins 1902–05 John F. Fitzgerald 1906–07, 1910–13 James M. Curley 1914–17, 1922–25, 1930–33, 1946–49 Frederick W. Mansfield 1934–37 Maurice Tobin 1938–41, 1941-44 John Kerrigan 1945 John B. Hynes 1950–59 John Collins 1960–68 Kevin H. White 1968–83 Raymond L. Flynn 1984–93 Martin J. Walsh   2014-   Martin J. Walsh is the twelfth  Mayor of Boston to claim Irish ancestry.  The lineage dates back to 1884, when Irish immigrant Hugh O'Brien of County Cork became the first Irish-born mayor elected in Boston, serving four one-year terms (1885-88).  He was followed by Irish-born Patrick Collins (1902-05), also of County Cork, who died in office. John F. Fitzgerald became the first American-born mayor of Irish descent; he served two terms. James Michael Curley served four terms in four different decades. From 1930 to 1993, the

Irish Ship Carrying Famine Refugees sinks off Cohasset in Massachusetts, killing most of the passengers, on October 7, 1849

Illustration by Leonard Everett Fisher A passenger ship called Brig St. John sank off the coast of Cohasset on the morning of Sunday, October 7, 1849, pushed to the brink by a severe nor'easter that rocked the boat for hours before it sank. On board the ship were 127 passengers from Ireland, along with sixteen sailors. The majority of passengers were poor Irish immigrants fleeing the famine. Writer Henry David Thoreau heard about the wreck and traveled from Concord to witness the aftermath. He wrote about it in his book, Cape Cod . "We found many Irish in the cars going to identify bodies and to sympathize with the survivors, and also to attend the funeral which was to take place in the afternoon," Thoreau wrote. "When we arrived at Cohasset, it appeared that nearly all the passengers were bound for the beach, which was about a mile distant, and many other persons were flocking in from the neighboring country."  Illustration by Leonard Everett Fisher On