BIR History

The Glasnevin Cemetery Trust and Tourism Ireland is proud of an array of new features, tours, and sites that have made Glasnevin Cemetery one of Dublin’s most popular tourist destinations. At a meeting held recently at the Boston College Club in Boston... Read more
“The Immortal Irishman,” indeed. Some lives splash across a larger-than-life canvas. Such a saga is that of Thomas Francis Meagher. In the finely wrought new biography “The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero,”... Read more
Any of the 40 million or so Americans who have ancestral or immediate family ties to Ireland certainly want both the US and Ireland to prosper. As I wrote in December, though, there has to be a better way than one-sided corporate inversions, one that is... Read more
Fifth of five parts. In Boston, as elsewhere in the United States, many Irish viewed the rebels as heroes from the first news of the revolt. At four minutes past noon on Easter Monday, April 24, 1916, Patrick Pearse read the Proclamation of the... Read more
Patrick Pearse Fourth of four parts. One hundred years ago, on Wed., April 26, 1916, shock and excitement gripped Boston’s Irish neighborhoods. Readers collectively gasped that day at the Boston Globe’s morning-edition headline: “Serious Revolt Rises in... Read more
In mid-February 1920, people had gathered around a simple gravestone in a New Bedford cemetery where a tall, thin, bespectacled man bent down to lay a wreath in front of the marker. Etched on the face of the stone was the name of “George S. Anthony,”... Read more
Third in a four-part series. In Boston and other Irish-American centers in March 1916, few knew how close to armed rebellion the Irish Republican Brotherhood and an array of other Irish men and women in Ireland stood. Nationalists, socialists, workers,... Read more
Second in a four-part series. In early 1916, Ireland seethed on the verge of rebellion against Britain. The debate over “Home Rule,” which would give Ireland a constricted version of independence from the Parliament in London, had been argued for... Read more
First in a series commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland. A century ago, a defining moment – the defining moment for many historians – helped set the stage for the future for Ireland. As January 1916 dawned, the... Read more
John Kerry’s name has often appeared in this newspaper – not always accompanied by plaudits. Kerry came to this writer’s mind in recent days during the deserved outcry against Donald Trump’s outrageous comments about US Sen. John McCain’s service and... Read more
Would architect Patrick Keely be spinning in his grave at the changes awaiting his magnificent Holy Trinity Church? Or would the Tipperary-born builder understand that times change, and be grateful that his artistic vision will remain at least partly... Read more
Classiebawn, the home of Lord Mountbatten in Mullaghmore, County Sigo, was built in the 1860’s by twice Prime Minister of England, Lord Palmerston. Prince Charles will be visiting Sligo this month where Lord Mountbatten was assassinated in 1979. DUBLIN –... Read more
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