Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy was born on July 22, 1890 in Boston's North End. Her parents were John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, who later became mayor of Boston, and Mary Josephine Hannon. In 1914 Rose married Joseph P. Kennedy and they raised nine children, including President John F. Kennedy.
In 1987 city officials unveiled the Rose Kennedy Garden to honor Rose "for her contributions to this country, and to the inspiration she has given to us all." Rose died in1995 at age 105. In 2004, Boston's Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway was officially dedicated in her honor.
Kevin Hagan White, Boston's 45th mayor from1968 to 1983, presided over the city's downtown renewal and brought basic city services directly to residents with Little City Halls in outlying neighborhoods. He presided over the difficult years of school desegregation, while uplifting Boston's profile during America's bi-centennial in 1976. After government, White he taught a popular course on politics and the press at BU.
In 2006 the statue of Kevin White, created by sculptor Pablo Eduardo, was unveiled on a sunny fall morning, attended by Mayor White, his wife Kathryn and 600 family and friends.
Known as the Purple Shamrock, Rascal King, or simply Curley - James Michael Curley was a legendary Boston politician. The son of immigrants, he served in elected office from 1900 to 1949. He was mayor four times in four different decades, and was governor and US Congressman too. His critics accused him of patronage while others loved him for his largesse. Spencer Tracy played Curley in the movie, The Last Hurrah.
In 1980, twin bronze statues of Curley, created by artist Lloyd Lillie, were unveiled by Mayor Kevin White along Congress Street.
In the 19th century, Boston City Hall represented the unfulfilled hopes of Irish immigrants seeking equality and opportunity. Their wish was ful-filled, when Hugh O'Brien, born in County Cork, became Boston's first Irishmayor (1885-88). O'Brien was followed by Patrick Collins, also of Cork (1902-05). In the 20th century Irish-American politicians held the mayor's seat for 85 out of 100 years; and continuously from 1930 to 1993.
In 2002, John McCormack's sculpture of Mayor John F. Collins (1960-68) was unveiled on City Hall's south wall.
Between 1845 and 1849, 100,000 Irish refugees arrived in Boston, fleeing starvation and pestilence wrought by Ireland's potato famine. They transformed Boston into a distinctly Irish city in America.
As part of the 150th anniversary of Ireland's famine, Boston businessman Thomas J. Flatley and others raised $1 million to create a lasting tribute to the Famine Irish generation. The memorial, by noted sculptor Robert Shure, was officially unveiled on June 28, 1998, before 7,000 people. Eight narrative plaques recount the Famine story, and twin statues represent the heartache and the hope of the Famine generation.
Established in 1660, the Granary is resting place for Boston's early settlers. Catholics could not be buried in the Granary, but there are numerous Protestant Irish and Ulster-Scots, including Governor James Sullivan, whose parents were Irish immigrants. Two signers of the Declaration of Independence are here: Robert Treat Paine, descended from the O'Neills of Tyrone, and John Hancock, whose ancestors came from Newry, County Down. Irishman Patrick Carr, shot by the British soldiers in 1770, is one of the five Boston Massacre victims buried here. William Hall, a president of the Charitable Irish Society, is buried in the Granary.
Boston's most prized public art - the Shaw Memorial - was created by Augustus Saint Gaudens. Born in 1848 in Dublin to a French father and Irish mother (Mary McGuinness of County Longford), the family sailed for Boston when Augustus was six months old. They settled in New York City, and Augustus later studied in Paris and Rome. The Shaw Memorial, which took fourteen years to complete, depicts the state's 54th Black Infantry Regiment which fought valiantly in the Civil War. Saint Gauden's work is also displayed at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, Trinity Church, and Harvard's Fogg Museum.
The Massachusetts State House, designed by Charles Bulfinch and built in 1798, remains one of the state'smost acclaimed architectural masterpieces. Coincidentally this was also the site of the Bridewell Prison, where numerous runaway indentured Irish servants were imprisoned in the 18th century.
The State House holds various items of Irish interest going back to the 18th century. There's a plaque to Jeremiah O'Brien, a privateer who waged war against the British Navy during the Revolutionary War. You'll find portraits of Irish-American governors, including James Sullivan, David I.Walsh, Maurice Tobin, Paul
Dever and Edward King, and portraits of other Irish-American officials. In Memorial Hall a Display of Irish Flags includes the original flags used by local Irish Regiments in the American Civil War, the 9th and 28th Regiments. Near Doric Hall is a plaque to Mary Kenney O'Sullivan, activist for women's and workers rights.
A life-size statue of President John F. Kennedy, created by artist Isabel McIlvain and unveiled in 1988, graces the front lawn of the State House on Beacon Street.
Dedicated to "the men of Boston who died in the Civil War," the Soldiers and Sailors Monument was unveiled with fanfare in 1876 before 25,000 people, many of them veterans. The memorial was created by Martin Milmore and his brothers James and Joseph, who came from County Sligo to Boston with their mother in 1851. Unlike other war memorials that praised generals and admirals, Milmore's work focused on foot soldiers and sailors.
The Milmores created numerous Civil War statues in Charlestown, Jamaica Plain, Cambridge, and Framingham and their classical work is found at the State House, Boston Athenaeum and Boston Public Library.
Born in County Wexford, John Barry (1745-1803) was a naval hero in the Revolutionary War, winning the first and last battle of the war against the British. George Washington named him to create the first US Navy, and Barry is widely considered the Father of the American Navy.
This memorial, by sculptor John Paramino, was unveiled by Mayor James Curley in 1949. Vandals stole the bronze plaque in the 1970's and a granite replacement replaced it The original plaque was later retrieved by members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and is now at the Charlestown Navy Yard.
This monument to the five Boston Massacre victims of 1770 was created by sculptor Robert Kraus. The monument was opposed by some Bostonians, who considered the victims as rabble rousers. But John Boyle O'Reilly led the effort for the memorial, then wrote and recited a poem for the dedication in 1888. One of the five martyrs was an Irishman, Patrick Carr, who was the last to die. He is buried at the Granary Burying Ground. A cobblestone marker of the actual site of the Massacre is located in front of the Old State House on State Street.
Established in 1756, Central Burying Ground was Boston's fourth burial grounds. Located on Boston Common, it was where a variety of 'strangers' were buried, including Irish Catholics and Freemasons, as well as British soldiers who died during the Revolutionary War. The Parks Dept. notes this is the city's only historical burying ground with Celtic crosses carved into the slate headstones, including one of James Landrigan (d. 1807) from Tipperary. The cemetery is locked to protect it but visitors can readily see the tombstones and grounds through the wrought-iron fencing.
Born in Queen's County (Laois), Cass moved to Boston and became a local businessman and School Committee member. When the Civil War broke out, Governor Andrew asked Cass to form a regiment of Irish immigrants - the 9th Massachusetts Volunteers. Cass led his men into battle, and was himself fatally wounded at the Battle of Malvern Hill. He returned to Boston and died in 1862. A granite memorial of Cass was initially unveiled, but was then replaced by this bronze memorial created by artist Richard E. Brooks. It was dedicated in 1899 at a ceremony attended by Cass' family and soldiers.
A native of Clinton, MA, David I. Walsh (1872-1947) was the first Irish Catholic to be elected Governor of Massachusetts (1914-16). He was Lieutenant Governor (1913-14) and a US Senator for over 20 years, and the state's first Irish Catholic senator. In 1919 Walsh was keynote speaker at a Fenway Park rally for Irish leader Eamon DeValera, which was attended by 60,000 people.
The Walsh statue was created by artist Joseph A. Coletti in 1954. Above the figure of Walsh is the inscription Non Sibi Sed Patriae, which translates Not for himself but for his country.
Born in Roxbury's Mission Hill, Maurice Tobin (1901-53) was the son of immigrants from Clogheen, Tipperary. He became the youngest state representative at age 25, and was viewed as a liberal crusader in an era of conservative State House politics. In 1937 he made a surprise run for mayor against his mentor, James Michael Curley, and won. Tobin defeated Curley again in 1941 and in 1944 successfully won his bid to become Governor of Massachusetts (1944-46).
Sculptor Emilius R. Ciampa created the Tobin Memorial Sculptor in 1958.
Born in Fermoy, County Cork, Patrick Collins (1844-1905) was Boston's second Irish-born mayor, following Hugh O'Brien, elected in 1885. He served from 1902 to 1905, and was the first candidate in Boston's history to sweep every ward in an election. Collins was also active in Ireland's land league movement and in Irish nationalism. After he died suddenly in office, $26,000 for his memorial was raised in just days by thousands of small contributions from Boston residents, a tribute to his enormous popularity.
The statue was commissioned to husband and wife artists Henry and Theo Kitson, and unveiled in 1908.
Considered America's first great portrait artist, John Singleton Copley was born on July 3, 1737 in Boston. His parents - Richard Copley and Mary Singleton - emigrated from County Clare, and his father died shortly after. Copley learned to paint from his stepfather, Peter Pelham. Copley painted the leading citizens of his time, including George Washington, John Hancock, Samuel Adams and Paul Revere.
Copley Square Park was named in his honor in 1883. In 2002, the city of Boston unveiled a statue to Copley by artist Lewis Cohen.
First built in 1848, the Boston Public Library is America's oldest public library and the fourth largest in the USA. It was initially called The People's Palace, and the University of the People, a beacon of learning for immigrants and working families. The BPL's Irish collection contains over 13,000 items and many rare items. Among its important collections include materials on the 1798 Uprising; the formation of the Irish Free State; the Abby Theatre, Seamus Heaney.
The Music Department has an important collection of Irish sheet music, while the Microfilm Department has various newspapers and papers of historical significance. The Photo Department has rare photographs from Civil War photographer Matthew Brady and many photos that capture Boston's Irish history.
Among the statuary of Irish interest are a bust of Hugh O'Brien, Boston's first Irish mayor and a bust of John Boyle O'Reilly both by sculptor John O'Donoghue; the twin marble Lions in the foyer of the McKim building by Louis Saint Gaudens, heraldic seals above the McKim building entrance by Augustus Saint Gaudens, and a bust of George Ticknor by Martin Milmore.
Poet, patriot, prisoner, journalist, sportsman and spokesmen for the Irish in America, John Boyle O'Reilly (1844-1890) was the most influential Boston Irishman of the 19th century. Born in County Meath, he was a printer's apprentice and a foe of the British Empire. In 1866 he was sentenced to a penal colony in Australia for crimes against the Crown, but made a daring escape on a New Bedford Whaler named Gazelle. He arrived in Boston in 1870, and for the next 20 years was recognized as a powerful spokesman for the downtrodden.
The Memorial by Daniel Chester French was dedicated in 1896.
Fenway Park - home of the Boston Red Sox - was built by Charles E. Logue (1858-1919), an Irish immigrant who came from Co. Derry to Boston in 1881 at age 23. He quickly gained a reputation as a skilled carpenter and ambitious young man and started his own construction firm. He built a number of schools and churches for the Boston Archdiocese, but Fenway Park would become Logue's enduring landmark. Numerous Irish events have been held at Fenway, including Eamon deValera's monster rally in 1919, and several championship matches in Irish football and hurling sponsored by the Gaelic Athletic League.