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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summer Issue of Travel & Culture Magazine Focuses on Visiting New England and Ireland

(BOSTON) -- This month the Boston Irish Tourism Association (BITA) released its 2018 summer issue of Travel & Culture Guide, a compendium of Irish festivals and concerts, culinary, cultural and literary activities taking place in Massachusetts and throughout New England.  

The 28-page color magazine is distributed free at visitor kiosks and cultural venues throughout Massachusetts and is available in digital format online.   It has a shelf life through October 2018. 

In New England, the magazine features outdoor festivals concerts, from Boston to Tanglewood and from Cumberland RI up to Rockport, MA.  Some of the performers at Tanglewood this summer include rock/blues/folk legends James Taylor, Bonnie Rait, Ry Cooder and Emmy Lou Harris.  The Boston Harbor Hotel at Rowes Wharf continues its Summer in the City series with free concerts Tuesdays through Thursdays, and free movies every Friday through August 31.  

In Ireland, Travel & Culture lists the top festivals across the island through October, include music festivals like the Fleadh Cheoil taking place in August, which draws upwards of 400,000 people. And it has details on the new Norwegian Air direct service from Providence's T. F. Green Airport to Dublin, Shannon, Cork, Belfast and Edinburgh.  

BITA is celebrating its 18th year as a year-round, cultural tourism organization that promotes the state’s largest ethnic community.  The US Census reports that nearly 24% of all Massachusetts residents claim Irish ancestry.

BITA publishes three issues of Travel & Culture  in March, June and November, and also developed the Boston’s Irish Heritage Trail, which highlights Irish landmarks throughout Boston and around the state.

For further details on festivals and concerts, as well as year-round Irish and cultural activities, hotel packages, gift shops and Irish pubs, visit

Walk Boston's Irish Heritage Trail this Saturday, June 23

Photo of Kevin White Statue at Faneuil Hall, courtesy of BITA

Boston Irish Tourism Association (BITA) is offering a guided tour of Boston's Irish Heritage Trail at 10 a.m. this Saturday, June 23, 2018, led by tour guide Ted Kulik, an expert on local history.

The tour begins at the Visitor Information Center on Boston Common and covers 10 stops along the Trail.  Admission is $15 for adults and $12 for seniors, students and military.  Children under 12 go free when accompanied by a parent.  Fill out the reservation form here, or purchase your ticket the day of the tour at the VIC.

See video from Chronicle/WCVB5 ABC on the origins of the Trail and what's on it.

The Irish Heritage Trail was created in 1994 and covers over 300 years of Boston Irish history, from colonial Irish like Governor James Sullivan and Boston Massacre victim Patrick Carr, to 19th Century Civil War heroes and the Famine generation, to 20th century political leaders, builders and social activists.

BITA's Travel & Culture magazine has a full map of the trail in its summer issue, available for free at the Boston Common Visitor Information Center and other outlets around Boston.

Find year round details on Boston's Irish community at

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Irish Were Boston's First Refugees

History is replete with stories about refugees from around the world coming to Boston, Massachusetts, seeking help from tragedies of historic proportions that were too massive for them to face. Very often they were poorly received, as locals feared the burden these immigrants would have on society. 

One of the most compelling chapters in the city's history involves Irish immigrants who fled Ireland in the 1840s, fleeing starvation, disease and death.

Many of these refugees fled to Boston, where they arrived, traumatized and ill, having lost parents and children, neighbors and friends. 

News reports describe Irish families huddled in doorways in downtown Boston, begging for food.  A  group of 50 Irish refugees camped out on Boston Common because they had no where to stay.  Many never made it to the mainland, but were held at the quarantine station on Deer Island in Boston Harbor to see if they carried with them typhus or cholera, diseases that later turned up in the crowded tenement buildings along Broad Street and in the North End.

A large number of Irish who made it ashore were eventually sent to the lunatic asylum in South Boston, since they were unable to cope with the tragedy they had experienced.

In June 1998, Boston's Irish community joined with city officials to unveil an Irish Famine Memorial Park in downtown Boston, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of this tragic episode in the city's history.  The Memorial remains a stark reminder that many Bostonians today are the descendents of that Irish famine generation. 

The Famine is also a reminder that refugees are still leaving their homelands to escape certain death, and that humanitarian crises in our lifetime must be solved by those who can. 

For learn more about this episode in Boston's history, visit the Irish Famine Memorial, on the corner of School and Washington Street in Downtown Boston, a stop along Boston's

To read more about Boston's Irish history from the 17th century to the present, read Irish Boston: A Lively Look at Boston's Colorful Irish Past. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Canada's Singer/Songwriter Gordon Lightfoot Performs in Rockport on June 12

Rockport Music presents Gordon Lightfoot, the iconic Canadian troubadour, in concert at the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport, MA at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 12, 2018. 

Tickets to the concert can be purchased at the venue. 

The singer/songwriter has left quite a mark over the last 50 years, inspiring thousands of aspiring songwriters to follow in his footsteps. His songs belong squarely in the folk canon, including classics like “Early Morning Rain” and “For Lovin’ Me,” as well as 70’s pop hits like “Sundown” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

Here is a schedule of upcoming folk, pop, World and jazz concerts at Shalin Liu this summer and fall. 

Find more about Irish activities in Massachusetts by visiting

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Blackstone River Theatre Solstice Summer Festival takes place on June 16

Fiddler Mari Black

The 8th annual Summer Solstice Festival, presented by the Blackstone River Theatre, takes place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 16, 2017 at Diamond Hill Park in CumberlandRI.  Tickets to the festival are just $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, $5 for children ages 6-15, and free for children 5 and under.

You can also enter a contest to win a free pair of tickets from the Boston Irish Tourism Association.

The 2018 line-up Includes: The Atwater~Donnelly Trio, Mari Black Celtic Band, Daymark, Eastern Medicine Singers, The Gnomes, The Gothard Sisters, La Croisée D’Antan, Owen Marshall & Jenna Moynihan, Emerald Rae, Torrin Ryan, Sheila Falls & Kyle Forsthoff, Kevin Doyle Dance Showcase: From trad to tap, Tir Na Nog Irish Dance, Irish session led by Bob Drouin  

The Blackstone River Theatre is a year-round cultural arts organization that promotes live music, dance and culture.  Here is a schedule of upcoming events through the fall season.  

Find out about other Irish activities in New England by visiting

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Rockport Music presents Ireland's tenor Ronan Tynan in concert at the Shalin Liu Performance Center  in Rockport at 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 9, 2018.  Purchase tickets online or at the performance center.

Tynan is one of America's beloved performers, especially in New England, where Ronan has performed the national anthem at Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium, TD Garden and countless concert halls in the region.

"If you can perform songs in a specific way that moves an audience to a wonderful memory, you've achieved everything you set out to do as a performer," Ronan said in an interview a few years ago, validating why the Irish vocalist has such a local following.

Find year round details on Irish music in New England by visiting

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Boston Mayor Walsh Being Honored in Galway, Ireland May 11-14

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh is visiting Ireland this month to meet with Irish officials and to reaffirm “Boston’s important economical and cultural ties to Ireland.”

In addition, Walsh will receive several ceremonial awards, including the unveiling of the Kilkerrin Rock in Galway.

In a press statement issued by his office, Walsh says, "Ireland and the Irish culture hold a special place in my heart, and are a large part of Boston's overall identity as well.  Our economic and cultural ties to Ireland are undeniable, and it's beneficial for Boston to continue to embrace, support and learn from other countries and cities. I'm honored that our work in Boston is being acknowledged overseas."

Among the highlights of the trip:

Friday, May 11: Mayor Walsh Receives the "Freedom Of The City" Award
The "Freedom of the City" is a ceremonial award, given by a local government to those who have served in an exceptional capacity, or upon any whom the City wishes to bestow an honor. In accepting this award, Mayor Walsh joins past recipients such as John F. Kennedy, Pope John Paul II, John Hume, Hillary Clinton, Richard Daley, Nelson Mandela, Ms. Garry Hynes, President Michael D Higgins and Senator Billy Lawless.

Saturday, May 12: Mayor Walsh Visits the Emigrant Commemorative Centre
Four years after Mayor Walsh helped unveil a stone marker at the site the new Emigrant Commemorative Centre in Carna, Co. Galway is completed, and the Mayor returns to cut the ceremonial ribbon. The Centre educate visitors on the changing face of the rural Gaeltacht area and Galway's rich immigrant history.

Sunday, May 13 - Mayor Walsh Joins Local Officials for Kilkerrin Rock Dedication and Unveiling
Mayor Walsh join local dignitaries in the presentation and dedication of the Kilkerrin Rock in his honor. The rock has been inscribed with the words, "To all of our brothers and sisters who had to leave their families and homes, some never to return, in search of a better life abroad," along with Mayor Walsh's name, the date, and the Irish and US flags intertwined.

Monday, May 14: Mayor Walsh to be Named the First Freeman of Galway County Mayor Walsh is being recognized for his achievements and will be named the first ever Freeman of County Galway, proposed by Connemara area Councillor Sean O' Tuairisg. The title of Freeman is a prestigious honor, ceremonial in name. It is typically bestowed upon visiting dignitaries, celebrities and valued members of the community.

Find out about visiting Ireland

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Norwegian Air Flights from Providence RI to Dublin, Shannon, Cork, Belfast This Summer

Norwegian Air is ramping up its summer schedule of direct flights between T.F. Green International Airport in Providence, RI and destinations in Ireland, including:

. five flights a week to Dublin International Airport
. four flights a week to Shannon International Airport
. three flights a week to Cork International Airport
. two flights a week to Belfast International Airport

The low-cost fares offered by Norwegian have quickly become popular with New England travelers since the service launched in July 2017. 

On the reverse end, T.F. Green Airport is looking to welcome passengers from Ireland and the UK  to visit Rhode Island, especially summer destinations like Newport and coastal cities and towns.  Irish passengers have quick access to Boston, New York City and all of the New England states.

Read more about this summer's Norwegian flights here.

For more about cultural activities in New England, visit

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Gothard Sisters Perform at Blackstone River Theatre in Rhode Island on Saturday, April 7

The Gothard Sisters perform at the Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland, RI at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 7, 2018.  Tickets to the show are $24 and can be purchased at the door or by calling 401 725-9272. 

Boston Irish Tourism Association rates this show the Concert of the Week on its website.

A dynamic group from the state of Washington, and still based in Seattle, the Gothard Sisters have been performing for ten years. Blending perfect vocal harmonies with lively fiddle, tiny whistle and mandolin, and backed by bodhran, djembe and guitar, the band's sound was described as being like an orchestra by Celtic Beat Magazine.

For year round details of Irish and Celtic activities in New England, visit

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Edward M. Kennedy Institute Hosts Event to Mark the Good Friday Agreement

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the Senate is hosting an event on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, to take place on Thursday, April 5, 2018.

Featured speaker is former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, who served as the U.S. Special Envoy to Northern Ireland between 1995 and 2001, and was a central player in Ireland's peace process.

Following Senator Mitchell's address, a panel discussion takes place with representatives from the Irish and British Governments, National and Unionist communities and other representatives who will reflect on the peace process, discuss key milestones in the journey, and envision the future of the island of Ireland.

Find year round information on Boston's Irish community at