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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Boston's Charitable Irish Society Presents Silver Key Awards

The oldest Irish organization in the United States - the Charitable Irish Society in Boston - is giving its annual Silver Key Award this year to three worthy recepients: fiddler Larry Reynolds, radio host John Curran, and immigrant advocate Chris Laverty.

The award ceremony takes place on Thursday, October 29, from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. at the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street in Boston.

The Society was formed in Boston on March 17, 1737 by a group of Irish immigrants who were concerned about the welfare of fellow countrymen who were falling upon hard times.

The Society's mission, according to the early records, was to help Irish immigrants "reduced by sickness, shipwreck, old age and other infirmities and unforeseen accidents, (and) for the relief of their poor and indigent countrymen."

The mission remains primarily the same today, albeit in a modern context, according to Society President Kelley Kassa.

"The Society bestows the Silver Key to a few outstanding members of the Boston Irish community," Kelly says. "The proceeds from the reception are used to underwrite the works of the Charitable Irish Society in helping individual Irish immigrants on an as-needed basis."

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

JFK Library Celebrates 30th anniversary on October 20

Congratulations to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, which celebrated its 30th anniversary this week.

Built with the private donations of 36 million people from throughout the world, the nation’s official memorial to President Kennedy was dedicated on October 20, 1979 at a ceremony attended by President Jimmy Carter and members of President Kennedy’s family. In his remarks at the dedication, Senator Edward M. Kennedy described the library as “a beacon signaling the message of this nation, a lighthouse bearing witness to Jack's truth that America at its best can truly light the world.”

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum sits on a ten-acre, waterfront park on Columbia Point overlooking Boston Harbor. Since it opened, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum has hosted more than 6.5 million visitors from throughout the world, making it one of Boston’s most popular tourist attractions and a major educational center for the study of mid-20th century American history.

The Kennedy Library is administered by the National Archives and Records Administration and supported, in part, by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, a non-profit organization. It is the only presidential library in New England and one of thirteen in the United States.

The Library’s documentary and audiovisual collections make it a major center for the study of mid-20th century American history. Its archives include more than 8.4 million pages of the personal, congressional and presidential papers of John Fitzgerald Kennedy; 400,000 still photographs; 9,000 hours of audio recordings; 70,000 volumes of printed materials; and 8 million feet of film. In addition to the papers of John F. Kennedy, the archives hold more than 40 million pages of the papers of Robert F. Kennedy and more than 300 other individuals who were associated with the Kennedy Administration or mid-20th Century American history.

General admission to the Museum at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library is $12.00. Admission for seniors over the age of 62 and college students with appropriate identification is $10.00, and for children ages 13-17, $9.00. Children ages 12 and under are admitted for free.

The Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with the exceptions of Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. The Library is located in the Dorchester section of Boston, off Morrissey Boulevard, next to the campus of the University of Massachusetts/Boston. Parking is free. There is free shuttle-service from the JFK/UMass T Stop on the Red Line. The Museum is fully handicapped accessible. For more information, call (866) JFK-1960 or go to

For details on Irish cultural activities in Massachusetts, visit

Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Eugene O’Neill

Eugene O’Neill, one of the great American playwrights, was born on October 16, 1888 in New York City to parents Ella Quinlan and James O’Neill.

Winner of numerous Pulitzer prizes and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1936, O’Neill spent much of his early life at Monte Cristo Cottage, the family’s summer home on Pequot Avenue in New London, CT.

O’Neill also spent considerable time in Massachusetts, taking a playwriting course at Harvard in 1914, then forming a troupe on Cape Cod called the Provincetown Players, which produced his play Bound East for Cardiff, in 1916.

In 1928, according to author Susan Wilson, O’Neill’s play, Strange Interlude, was banned in Boston, but played to a sell-out audience in Quincy.

O’Neill lived in California for many years, but moved back to Marblehead, MA in 1948, by which time he was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. He moved to Boston to be close to his physician, staying at the Hotel Shelton on Bay State Road, which is today a Boston University dormitory. He died on November 27, 1953, at the Hotel Shelton.

He is buried at the Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plains, a neighborhood of Boston.

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Literary Trail of Greater Boston by Susan Wilson for the Boston History Collaborative.

Eugene O'Neill Review

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Irish Heritage Festival in Adams Village, Dorchester, Celebrates Boston's Irish Heritage

Boston – The first annual Irish Heritage Festival (IHF) in Adams Corner, Dorchester takes place on Sunday, October 11, 2009, from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The festival is being organized by local Irish and Irish-Americans along with local businesses, as a way of celebrating the history and culture of Boston’s large Irish community.

Irish step dancing, set dancing, and Gaelic sports are being showcased at the festival, alongside activities for children and families, along with some of the area’s finest traditional Irish musicians.

“The entertainment line-up includes: Robbie O’Connell, Aoife Clancy, Larry Reynolds, The Harney Set Dancers, Erin’s Melody, Celtic Cougars and growing by the day,” says committee member Mairin Keady, who is herself a noted Gaelic singer. Joshua Tree, a U2 cover band, also performs, as well as singer Pauline Wells of Milton.

This festival is dedicated to the memory of Michael Joyce, a native of Connemara, County Galway, Ireland who lived in Dorchester and worked at the Massachusetts State House, where he helped many Irish and other immigrants. Plans are underway to create a permanent memorial to Michael Joyce in the city of Boston.

The beneficiary of this year’s festival is St. Brendan’s School in Dorchester.

Adams Village in Dorchester, Boston’s largest neighborhood, has long had an Irish flavor, thanks to generations of Irish immigrants who have settled there throughout the 20th century. The village is surrounded by four parish churches originally built for Dorchester's large Irish community: St. Brendan's, St. Gregory's, St. Mark's and St. Ann's.

One of the famous landmarks in Adams Village is the Eire Pub at 795 Adams Street, run by the Stenson family. Ronald Reagan visited the Eire Pub in 1983 when he was running for re-election as President of the United States. And in 1992, Boston Mayor Ray Flynn took presidential candidate Bill Clinton to the Eire Pub for a pint during the presidential campaign.

For more details on the Irish Heritage Festival, visit

Boston's Irish Emigrant Newspaper issued a special edition this week with full details on the festival schedule and directions.

For information on Irish activities throughout Massachusetts year round, visit

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Grammy Award winner, Broadway star, and pop icon Maureen McGovern presents her musical memoir, A Long and Winding Road, at the Huntington Theatre in Boston from October 9 through November 15, 2009.

Conceived and written by Philip Himberg and Maureen McGovern and presented in cooperation with Arena Stage, A Long and Winding Road chronicles the moments that define the Baby Boomer Generation. Ms. McGovern returns to her roots as a folk singer as she performs the classic songs The New York Times has dubbed “the second half of the Great American Songbook.”

Sundance Institute Producing Artistic Director Philip Himberg directs; Jeffrey Harris provides musical direction and accompaniment.

McGovern’s almost 40-year career includes Grammy Award nominations for “Best New Artist” and “Best Traditional Pop Vocal,” a Grammy Award for “Best Musical Recording for Children” for her participation in “Songs from the Neighborhood: The Music of Mister Rogers,” and the Academy Award-winning Gold Records “The Morning After” (Billboard #1) and “We May Never Love Like This Again.” Her PS Classics release A Long and Winding Road was praised by The New York Times as “a captivating musical scrapbook from the 1960s to the early ‘70s. Ms. McGovern is blessed with a vocal technique second to none.” Other critically acclaimed musical tributes include her Gershwin, Arlen, Rodgers, Marilyn and Alan Bergman CDs and more.

WHEN: October 9 – November 15, 2009

The Huntington’s second stage – the Virginia Wimberly Theatre, the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End

TICKETS: $20-$60. Available online at; by phone at 617 266-0800; and in person at the B.U. Theatre Box Office, 264 Huntington Avenue or the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA Box Office, 527 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End.

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Boston College Welcomes Legendary Irish Harpist Mary O’Hara on Sunday, October 11

Renowned singer and harpist Mary O’Hara gives a multimedia presentation on her life and her musical career at Boston College entitled, Travels with my Harp: an Afternoon with Mary O’Hara.

The event takes place at Devlin Hall on BC’s campus in Chestnut Hill, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 11, 2009.

After the lecture, Ms. O’Hara will officially help open an exhibit of her works at BC’s John J. Burns Library, entitled, "Mary O'Hara, Singer and Harpist: A Retrospective." The exhibit features posters, recordings, correspondence, and books from the Mary O'Hara Papers at the Burns Library.

O’Hara has recorded 20 albums, starting with her debut recording, Songs of Erin, released in 1956. Her autobiography, Scent of the Roses, sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide since it was published in 1980.

Mary O’Hara’s lecture is part of the Gaelic Roots series at Boston College directed by Séamus Connolly, Sullivan Artist-in-Residence. All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise specified.

For more details on the Gaelic Roots lecture and performance series, visit

For information on Boston College’s Center for Irish Programs, directed by Professor Thomas E. Hachey, visit

For a year round, up-to-date schedule of Irish cultural events in Massachusetts, visit