BIR History

On St. Patrick’s Day of 1915, a monument began to take shape in Jamaica Plain The city of Boston owns the “house that James Michael Curley” built on the Jamaicaway in Jamaica Plain. Construction on the Curley mansion began on St. Patrick’s Day, 1915... Read more
The discovery of a hidden time capsule is always intriguing. To great fanfare a few weeks ago, the opening of a 1795 trove discovered by workers repairing a leak at the Massachusetts State House did not disappoint. The capsule, a link to the present... Read more
Just in time for the centenary of the Great War of 1914-18 (World War I), the publication in English of Gabriel Chevallier’s novel “Le Peur” (1930) is drawing deserved attention. Translated by Malcolm Imrie as “Fear” and available in the handsome New... Read more
A recent stop at The Last Hurrah whiskey bar at the Parker House (now Omni Parker House) got me thinking about the classic novel it is named after, a personal favorite and one synonymous with the battling “boyos and Brahmins” of yesteryear. Even now, it... Read more
In 1847, a crisis unfolded nearly daily along Boston’s docks. Leaking, lurching vessels aptly dubbed “coffin ships” unloaded hordes of ragged Irish passengers who had fled the Great Famine, An Gorta Mor. Some 25,000 arrived in “Black ‘47,” and with... Read more
No matter what an Irish Americans’s political persuasion might be, the public and political fallout of President Obama’s executive order on immigration should engender some personal and historical soul-searching. From the trenches of the Tea Party and... Read more
“They” might have wondered whether five male judges sitting on the United States Supreme Court of 2014 are wearing black robes or cassocks. “They” were the Know-Nothing Party of the 1840s-1850s America, the driving force of a Nativist movement that... Read more
The deal is completely legal. Medical-device titan Medtronic will soon complete a $42.9 billion deal to gobble up Massachusetts-based outfit Covidien. The swollen pact benefits Ireland’s economy, pays off big for two companies’ executives and... Read more
BY PETER F. STEVENS BIR STAFF Once, the Boston Irish knew what it was to be “wetbacks.” Of course, the epithets that hateful, narrow-minded Nativists and “Know Nothings” of the 1840s and 1850s employed to deride Irish immigrants were “Paddies, Bridgets,... Read more
On March 17, Boston will be awash in St. Patrick’s Day revelry. All nonsense such as green beer, green plastic derbies, “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” badges, and faces reflecting various stages of inebriation and emblazoned with painted shamrocks or the Irish... Read more
by Peter F. Stevens BIR Staff In 1847, a crisis unfolded nearly daily along Boston’s docks. Leaking, lurching vessels aptly dubbed “coffin ships” unloaded hordes of ragged Irish passengers who had fled the Great Famine, An Gorta Mor. Some 25,000 arrived... Read more
BY PETER F. STEVENS BIR STAFF “What’s Broken Can Be Fixed,” the full-page Red Sox ad blares. To launch that Fenway fix, the team’s brass has turned to an old friend with a Hibernian surname. Tito’s erstwhile pitching coach, John Farrell, pried loose from... Read more
By John Rattigan Special to the BIR In the fall of 1862, the second year of the Civil War, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia under Gen. Robert E. Lee undertook to invade Maryland. This decision culminated in the bloody Battle of Antietam where Lee... Read more
By Peter F. Stevens BIR Staff In Boston’s Irish North End during the Civil War, President Lincoln was not a popular figure for all In the new film Lincoln, Daniel Day Lewis brings that towering figure into stunning life on every level. Throughout the... Read more
by Stephen M. Pingel Special to the BIR Following is the eighth in a series of articles on individuals who had a substantial impact on civic life in Ireland in the 20th century.Bobby Sands 1954-1981 Beginning in the late 1960s, many of the most dramatic... Read more
By Martin McGovern Special to the BIR The Emmy-award winning Irish filmmaker Gerry Gregg is the man who produced the first major documentary about the Holocaust made in Ireland. His 2009 production, Till the Tenth Generation, tells the story of Tomi... Read more
By Matthew DeLuca Special to the BIR A former agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Paul Doyle knows that people are fascinated by undercover police work. But it wasn’t the dark allure of the criminal element that drove him to pen a memoir... Read more
By Peter F. Stevens BIR Staff (Third in a Series about the Catholic Church and Boston politics.) In many ways, no one could replace Cardinal Richard J. Cushing of Boston. His death in November 1970 marked the end of an era in more ways than one for the... Read more
Cardinal Richard Cushing Left a Stamp on the Political Landscape By Peter F. Stevens BIR Staff Second of three articles. “I’m no theologian,” Cardinal Richard Cushing liked to say.  His self-deprecating humor notwithstanding, Cushing had no trouble wading... Read more
"When Congressman Curley is in Boston," one of the papers wrote in 1913, "though his political influence is now supposed to be with the federal department heads, he is just as busy pulling favors at City Hall as when he was an alderman and councilor.... Read more

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