The view across Boston Harbor from the site of the Irish Famine memorial which will be installed on Deer Island
There’s progress to report on efforts to establish a memorial to the Irish who fled on “famine ships” in the mid-19th century only to lose their lives in quarantine in Boston Harbor. More than 800 Irish men, women and children died and were buried in graves on Deer Island, and a committee has been at work to create a memorial.
John Foley, an East Boston attorney who is co-chairs the effort, said that an 18-foot Celtic Cross is now being sculpted, and will be installed on a promontory overlooking the Harbor. “There has been considerable movement on Deer Island,” Foley said. “The stone wall is almost complete and we expect the delivery of the Celtic Cross in late winter.”
Foley and BIR publisher Ed Forry have been heading the effort to complete the task conceived two decades ago by the late Bill and Rita O’Connell and they are working with historian Christine Kinealy and city archivist John McColgan to prepare interpretative signage for the site.
Foley had praise for the MWRA which controls the land, and Winthrop contractor Mike Carney and volunteer Mark Porter, who are among a group of volunteers to complete the memorial. Dedication ceremonies are tentatively set for next spring.