Search This Blog

Saturday, March 28, 2020

In Ireland, the Government urges people not to leave their homes

Ireland's Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, and Minister for Health, Simon Harris, have issued strict guidelines for people to stay at home. These measures are in place from midnight Friday March 27 until Sunday April 12, 2020.
According to this order:
The main rule is to STAY AT HOME.
The only times you can leave your home are:
  1. to travel to or from work if you are providing an essential service. A list of essential retail outlets is available here. A full list of essential workers will be published on Saturday
  2. to shop for food
  3. to collect medical prescriptions and medical supplies and attend medical appointments
  4. to carry out vital services like caring (including family carers)
  5. for brief individual exercise - within 2 kilometres of your house. (You can bring children but must keep 2 metres away from others for social distancing)
  6. for farming

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Take a Self-Guided Tour of the Boston Irish Heritage Trail

This St. Patrick's Day season, take a self-guided walk along Boston's Irish Heritage Trail, a fascinating 3-mile journey through 300+ years of the city's illustrious Irish history.

You can pick up a free copy of the Irish Heritage Trail map at the Boston Common Visitor Information Center, run by the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau.  Also at the Center, get your free copy of Travel & Culture magazine, published by the Boston Irish Tourism Association.

The trail starts at the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Garden along Boston’s waterfront, proceeds through Faneuil Hall and City Hall areas to Downtown Crossing, Boston Common and Back Bay, and ends at Fenway Park in the Fens. 

Of the 20 sites along the Trail, 17 are outdoor stops in public parks, city squares and other public spaces. Find additional information here:

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Irish Women History Month - Mary Kenney O'Sullivan

In March 2020, during Irish Heritage Month and Women's History Month, Boston Irish Tourism Association is proud to recognize Mary Kenney O'Sullivan, who is featured in the "Women's Portrait Gallery," next to Doric Hall at the Massachusetts State House.   

She and other Irish items at the State House are part of the Boston Irish Heritage Trail.

A nationally acclaimed union organizer who lived in Boston for 50 of her eighty years, Mary Kenny (1864-1943) was born in Hannibal, Missouri to Irish immigrant parents. She and her widowed mother moved to Chicago in 1888, where she immediately began organizing women working in the cigar-making, printing and bookbinding industries.

After spending a year in New York City as the American Federation of Labor's first salaried woman organizer, she was enlisted by Samuel Gompers, head of the AFL, to organize women workers in Massachusetts, and she moved to Boston in 1893.  

Here she married John O'Sullivan, labor editor at The Boston Globe, and settled in the South End.  She began organizing rubber makers, shoe makers and laundry and garment workers, where women were poorly paid and suffered bad working conditions. 

She was widowed in 1903 with three children, but continued to organize labor unions, helping to create the National Women's Trade Union League in New York City.  She traveled to other Massachusetts cities like New Bedford and to Lawrence, where she was a strong supporter of the 1912 "Bread and Roses" strike by the city's 30,000 textile workers.

At the State House, Mary is one of six Massachusetts women honored in an exhibit entitled "Hear Us," created in 1999 by artists Sheila Levrant de Bretteville and Susan Sellers.  The bronze busts of the women were developed with Robert Shure of Skylight Studios, the artist for the Boston Irish Famine Memorial. 

The literature that accompanies this exhibit, written by Ellen K. Rothman of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, describes Mary Kenny O'Sullivan in this way:

"As leader of the WTUL, Mary O'Sullivan forged alliances between middle-and working-class women.  A leader in Massachusetts reform circles, she focused her efforts on woman suffrage, housing for the poor, prohibition, and pacifism.  However, her highest priority remained the advancement of working women.

For more about women in Boston, visit the Women's Heritage Trail here.

Mary Kenny O'Sullivan's collected papers are included at Harvard University Library.

For more information on Irish heritage in Massachusetts, visit

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Update on St. Patrick's Day Parades in New England, March 2020

The Boston Irish Tourism Association has revised  its annual schedule of St. Patrick's Day Parades taking place in New England to reflect those parades being cancelled by the Coronavirus threat.

Please check back for daily updates.

Here's a schedule of Irish cultural events in March 2020 in New England.

Sunday, March 8, 2020
Cape Cod, MA

Saturday, March 14, 2020 (Cancelled)
Lawrence, MA
Lawrence St. Patrick's Day Parade

Saturday, March 14, 2020
Newport, RI |

Saturday, March 14, 2020 (Cancelled)
Milford, CT

Sunday, March 15, 2020
City of Abington, MA

Sunday, March 15, 2020 (Cancelled)
City of Boston, MA

Sunday, March 15, 2020
Town of Scituate, MA |

Sunday, March 15, 2020 (Cancelled)
City of Worcester, MA

Sunday, March 15, 2020 (Postponed)
City of New Haven, Ct
New Haven St. Patrick's Day Parade

Saturday, March 21, 2020
City of Providence, RI

Sunday, March 22, 2020 (Cancelled)
City of Holyoke, MA

Sunday, March 29, 2020
Town of Weymouth,MA

Sunday, March 29, 2020
City of Manchester, NH
Manchester St. Patrick's Day Parade

For year round details on Irish & Celtic activities in New England, visit

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Lunasa Performs at Burgoyne Theatre in Lowell on Thursday, March 12

LĂșnasa , one of Ireland's top traditional music ensembles, is performing at the Burgoyne Theatre in Lowell at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 12, 2020.

Thanks to Spectacle Management, BITA is giving away a free pair of tickets to the show.  To enter the contest to win, click here

Or, just purchase your tickets online now to ensure a seat for one of the season's most memorable concerts. 

Named after Lughnasadh, an ancient harvest festival, Lunasa has been together for 20+ years and continue to break musical boundaries with high-powered, masterful music.  

On this tour, the band is performing songs from its critically-acclaimed album Cas.

Here is a schedule of more concerts coming up from Spectacle Management

South Boston's St. Patrick's Day Parade is Cancelled in 2020

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh
issued the following statement today regarding this year's St. Patrick's Day parade in South Boston, scheduled to take place on Sunday, March 15, 2020:

"In collaboration with Congressman Lynch, Councilors Flaherty and Flynn, Senator Collins, Representative Biele, and David Falvey from the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, the St. Patrick's Day Parade is being cancelled. This decision is being made out of an abundance of caution to ensure that we are doing what is needed to keep the residents of Boston safe and healthy.

"While the risk in Boston remains low, this situation is changing very quickly and we are closely monitoring any local cases. Our top priority is preventing any new cases, to the best of our ability, and we are paying close attention to guidance from public health officials. We encourage all residents to follow preventive measures to avoid illness, such as washing hands and staying home if you are feeling sick, and we will continue to make public any information as this situation develops in Boston."

For more information on these preventative measures, please visit the City of Boston coronavirus website.The Boston Irish Tourism Association has a schedule of St. Patrick's Day parades in the New England region.

Please check back on this blog for updated information about the other parades scheduled to take place through the end of the month.

Monday, March 9, 2020

A St. Patrick's Celtic Sojourn runs March 11-15 in Rockport, Worcester, Northampton, Cambridge and Beverly

A St. Patrick's Day Celtic Sojourn kicks off its annual celebration of Celtic culture on Wednesday, March 11 at Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport.  Now in its 13th year, the show offers an exquisite blending of traditional music, song and dance. 

Presented by Brian O'Donovan, weekly host of A Celtic Sojourn on WGBH radio, this year's show offers a wide range of contemporary and traditional music to suit every taste. 

This year's headliners include The Murphy Beds (Jefferson Hamer and Eamon O’Leary), Co. Kerry’s sean nos singer Clare Horgan, the twin fiddling of Nathan Gourley and Laura Feddersen, accordion player Chris Stephens, uilleann piper Torrin Ryan, choreographer / dancer Ashley Smith-Wallace, and of course Music Director Keith Murphy.
Here is the full schedule of performances:

March 11, 8 p.m. / Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport 
March 12, 7:30 p.m. / The Hanover Theatre, Worcester 
March 13, 8 p.m. / The Academy Of Music Theatre. Northampton 
March 14, 3 p.m.  and 7:30 p.m. / Sanders Theatre, Cambridge (postponed)
March 15, 3 p.m. / The Cabot Theatre, Beverly

Here's a full schedule of Irish and Celtic activities in March 2020 throughout New England.

Irish Chef JP McMahon Speaks at the JFK Library in Boston on March 9

JP McMahon, Ireland's Michelin-starred chef, restaurateur, author, and food educator, is speaking at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston at 6 p.m. on Monday, March 9, 2020.

Admission is free but registration is required.

Chef McMahon discusses his distinguished career and new book, The Irish Cookbook, which draws on current research to inform a collection of authentic traditional recipes and new interpretations of classic dishes and indigenous Irish ingredients.

Dr. Robert Mauro, director of the Boston College Irish Institute and Global Leadership Institute, moderates.

This program is supported in part through the Emigrant Support Programme of the Government of Ireland.

Here is a schedule of upcoming events at the JFK Library.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

International Women's Day - Annie Sullivan

Water Memorial in Tewksbury, courtesy of Waymarking 

On International Women's Day, we are proud to recognize Annie Sullivanthe daughter of impoverished Irish immigrants, who became known during her life as the Miracle Work, for her groundbreaking techniques in helping the blind to read and comprehend.  

She is one of 15 Irish women in Massachusetts honored for their courage and accomplishment. 

Annie was born in Feeding Hills, Massachusetts in 1866.  Partially blind herself, she attended the Perkins School for the Blind in South Boston where she learned to read, write and spell. 

After graduation, she was sent to Tuscumbia Alabama to teach a six year old blind child named Helen Keller.  An epiphany came for Helen one summer day when Annie splashed water on Helen's hand, then spelled out the word 'water' over and over until Helen realized that everything had a name that could be spelled out.

Keller, who later attended Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, became a nationally renowned leader for women's rights and a founder of the American Foundation for the Blind.  Annie remained Helen's teacher until Annie's death in 1936. 

Their lives together were made into a film called The Miracle Worker, staring Ann Bancroft as Annie and Patty Duke as Helen.

Fountain at Radcliffe College

In 1960, Keller placed a plague in Braille and English at Radcliffe, next to a small fountain, that reads, "In Memory of Annie Sullivan, teacher extraordinary."

For more about women in Boston, visit the Women's Heritage Trail here.

For more information on Irish heritage in Massachusetts, visit

Newfoundland Singer/Songwriter Matthew Byrne Performs at Blackstone River Theatre on March 8

Matthew Byrne , a gifted singer & songwriter from Newfoundland, performs at the Blackstone River Theatre in Rhode Island on Sunday, March 8 at 7 p.m.  Tickets to the concert are $18 at the door.

He'll be performing songs from his latest recording, "Horizon Lines," in which he explores a unique repertoire of songs from both sides of the Atlantic.  The album won the award for Traditional Recording of the Year at the 2018 Canadian Folk Music Awards.

Byrne was born into a family of Newfoundland musicians.  Since bursting on to the trad scene in 2010 with his debut recording, “Ballads," Matthew has swiftly earned his place as one of Canada’s most authentic and vital traditional voices backed by his masterful guitar playing. Byrne’s second solo CD "Hearts & Heroes” won “Traditional Album of the Year” at the 2015 Canadian Folk Music Awards. 

Here is a full schedule of upcoming concerts at Blackstone River Theatre, considered one of the finest acoustic venues in New England.