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Showing posts from June, 2022

President Kennedy Makes Triumphant + Emotional Visit to Ireland on June 26-29, 1963

President John F. Kennedy as the President’s motorcade passes through Cork, Ireland. Photo Courtesy of JFK Library President John F. Kennedy's official visit to Ireland on June 26-29, 1963 was considered a high point of his presidency, both for the president himself and for Ireland.     The President’s eight great-grandparents all emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts during the Irish Famine of the late 1840’s, seeking to take advantage of the economic opportunity offered in America. By the end of the century, both of President Kennedy’s grandfathers had become successful Boston politicians. Patrick J. Kennedy was a tavern owner and later a banker who served in both Houses of the Massachusetts Legislature and was the political "boss” of a ward in Boston. John F. ("Honey Fitz") Fitzgerald, a colorful politician who served in the Massachusetts State Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, was also mayor of Boston for three terms. The visit captured the world’s imag

On June 17, 1872, the 18-day World Peace Jubilee + International Music Festival opened in Boston's Back Bay

For 18 days in the summer of 1872, Boston hosted the largest concert in history.  A century and a half ago, from June 17 to July 4, 1872, some 20,000 singers and 2,000 musicians came to Boston from around the world to participate in the World Peace Jubilee and International Music Festival, the largest musical gathering ever undertaken in history.  The Jubilee ran from Bunker Hill Day to Independence Day, 1872, and was held in a giant coliseum erected in Boston’s Back Bay. The musicians and singers performed in various ensembles and also en masse, to convey the joy, solace and inspiration that music brings, and to express a profound relief, even if temporary, that there was peace in the world.  Patrick S. Gilmore The man behind the festival was Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore, a gifted cornetist, bandleader and impresario who had devoted his life to the audacious dream that music had the power to change the world; that it could be used as an instrument of peace. Born in Ballygar, Galway on D

Guide to the New England Irish, a Compendium of 500+ Irish Groups, Published in Spring 1987

  In June 1987, the  Guide to the New England Irish , a compendium of Irish cultural activities, educational institutions, music and dance, media, services and organizations in the six New England states, was published by Quinlin Campbell Publishers, a Boston-based publisher and distributer of books from Northern Ireland and Ireland.  The Guide included an introduction by Boston Mayor Raymond L. Flynn . The 178 page book included 500+ entires of Irish resources in the region, plus nearly 100 advertisers, ranging from Aer Lingus and Boston College's Irish Studies Program to the Black Rose Pub and Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann (Irish Musicians Association).   In addition, the Guide included essays by local Irish-American public officials, academics, musicians and writers, including State Senate President William M. Bulger, Professor Thomas O'Connor, writers Bill O'Donnell, Frank Costello and Michael Connolly, pianist Thomas Garvey and publican Phil Sweeney. And finally, the Gui

On June 12, 1775, Maine Sailor Jeremiah O'Brien Waged the first Naval Battle of the American Revolution

Photo Courtesy of Naval History and Heritage Command   On June 12, 1775, the first naval battle of the American Revolution took place off the coast of Machias, Maine. That is the day when Jeremiah O'Brien (1744-1818) his four brothers and fellow townsmen from Machias created the "first act of Colonial piracy" in the war by leading an attack on the British cutter  Margaretta.   They captured the ship and took its munitions as bounty.   The conflict occurred five days before the Battle of Bunker Hill, and was the first instance of armed naval combat between Americans and a foreign power. For that reason, many New Englanders consider Machias as one of the "Birthplaces of the U.S. Navy." The conflict began when the town of Machias  put up a Liberty Pole in town after hearing about the battle of Lexington in April 1775.  When the British ship  Margaretta  sailed into the harbor, the captain warned the townspeople that the pole must come down, or the ship would fire u

On June 1, 1847, six year old Irish girl is the first to die at Boston's Deer Island Quarantine Hospital

On June 1, 1847, Mary Nelson became the first Irish immigrant to die at the new quarantine hospital at Deer Island.  She died of typhus fever and was six years old. During the first ten days of June, 1847, other deaths included: Mary Connelly, age one on June 3;  Mary Flaherty, age 21,  on June 6;  Timothy Mahoney, age 19,  on June 7;  Ellen Welch, age 55,  on June 8;  Thomas Miles, age 60,  on June 8; and  William Dunn, age 32,  on June 10, 1847.   The list of names extracted from the official death register of the City of Boston was compiled in 1990 by then-City Archivist Ed Quill.   A copy of the Deer Island Death/Burial Registry between 1847 and 1850 is kept at the  City of Boston Archives .  Those were not the only deaths in Boston during early June, 1847.  The Boston Traveler reported 59  deaths (  males 40, females 19)  in the city for the week ending Friday June 4, ranging from consumption and typhus  to scarlet fever and suicide.   On June 4, Coroner  C. Smith held an in