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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

Lúnasa , 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. 

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Explore the Islands of Ireland

Rathlin Island

Tourism Ireland has released a new video called "Explore the islands of Ireland,” to encourage visitors to go off the beaten track and visit Ireland's breathtaking islands.

Each island is unique – some are home to wonderful wildlife, some are full of local traditions, while others have ancient wonders steeped in myth and legend, according to the video.

Among the places featured: Devenish Island, the Skelligs, the Aran Islands, Rathlin Island, the Saltees, Garnish Island, Dursey Island, Copeland Island, Achill Island and Arranmore.

Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.  Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing around 325,000 people across the island.  In 2019, we welcomed almost 11.2 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of almost €5.8 billion. 

For more information about visiting Ireland, go to

Friday, March 6, 2020

Cape Cod St. Patrick's Parade is postponed to Sunday, March 8

The Cape Cod St. Patrick’s Parade has issued the following statement:

"Please note that due to weather, the parade has been moved to Sunday, March 8th.  We appreciated your understanding.  Thank you."
The parade is celebrating its 15th anniversary as one of New England's best family events. 

It it steps off at 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 8, 2020.  The two mile parade begins at Bass River Sports World at Long Pond Road and Route 28 in South Yarmouth and proceeds down Route 28, ending at the Town and Country Motor Lodge in West Yarmouth. 

This year's Grand Marshals are World War II veterans who will lead the parade. They join a distinguished lineage of past grand marshals that have included Bruins legends Bobby Orr and Terry O'Reilly, Boston Mayor and US Ambassador Ray Flynn, boxing champ Irish Micky Ward and singer Siobhan Magnus. 

"From humble beginnings to today, we have been blessed with growth, achievement and support,” says Chairman Des Keogh, who thanked the spectators who brave the elements each year as well as the countless volunteers, local businesses, participating bands and the committee.
The parade includes dozens of marching bands and pipe bands, including the renowned Boston Police Gaelic Column of Pipes and Drums.

Find more information about the parade here.

For information about visiting Cape Cod any time of year, check out the Cape Cod Chamber

High Time Irish Trio Performs at Blackstone River Theatre & Irish Cultural Centre

Irish music trio High Time, based in Connemara, Galway, is performing two shows in New England this St. Patrick's Day season.

On Friday, March 6, the band plays at Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland, RI.  Tickets can be purchased by calling 401 725-9272. 

On Sunday, March 8, High Time is playing two shows at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton.  The 4 p.m. show is sold out, but tickets are still available for the 1 p.m. show.  Admission is $25 and can be purchased by calling 781 821-8291 or at the venue. 

 Combining Irish music with an intriguing blend of modern folk influences, High Time offers a rich and unique sound and an electric energy onstage. Ciaran Bolger and Seamus O Flathart are both native Irish speakers, which is  part of their distinct musical sound. Michael Coult, who grew up surrounded by some of the finest traditional musicians in the Irish diaspora of Manchester, completes the trio.

Find a full month of Irish and Celtic activities in New England by visiting

Celebrating Irish Women in Massachusetts in March 2020

March is Irish Heritage Month and Women’s History Month in Massachusetts.  In honor of both,  the Boston Irish Tourism Association (BITA) compiled this selection of 15 Irish women from the 17th century to the 20th century who have had an impact here in the Bay State. Read about these fascinating women here
For more on Irish history in Massachusetts, visit

Irish group The High Kings Perform on Cape Cod and Boston on March 6-7

The High Kings, an internationally acclaimed folk and ballad singing group from Ireland, performs at the Tilden Arts Center in West Barnstable, Cape Cod, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 6, 2020.

Tickets are available online or at the venue on the night of the concert. The concert is presented by Spectacle Management.

The following night, Saturday, March 7, The High Kings play at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston's Back Bay, starting at 8 p.m.  Tickets are available online and at the concert hall.  The show is presented by The Cabot.

The High Kings is currently on a Decade World Tour, bringing perfect harmonies and instrumental arrangements to classic Irish ballads that have been passed down from one generation to the next.

The High Kings continue to set the bar extremely high for Irish folk bands across the world and are widely regarded to be the standard bearers for the genre in 2019. After 11 years at the top of their game, they are still selling out venues around the world to an ever growing army of loyal fans.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Cherish the Ladies Perform Irish Music in Rockport and Lexington on March 5 & 6

The popular all-female Irish traditional ensemble, Cherish the Ladies, performs two concerts in Massachusetts this week.

On Thursday, March 5, they play at 8:00 p.m. the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport.  Tickets are available online and at the door the night of the concert.

Then on Friday, March 6, the Ladies play at 7:30 p.m. at Cary Memorial Hall in Lexington.  Tickets are available online or at the venue.

Hailed for their virtuosity and command of the traditional genre, the band has been performing around the world for 35 years.  In addition to high-caliber music, the Ladies bring wit and charm to each performance.

Find a full schedule of Irish and Celtic music in New England in March at

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Irish Singer Colm Keegan Performs at Irish Cultural Centre on March 3

Irish vocalist Colm Keegan, formerly of the group Celtic Thunder, performs at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton at 7: 30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. 

Tickets to the show are $25 and can be purchased at the door or by calling 781- 821-8291. 

Keegan is performing songs from his upcoming album, Celtic Chillouts, and also some original compositions such as Beautiful Day and Where We'll Be. 

Here is a calendar of upcoming activities at the Irish Cultural Centre, celebrating its 30th year as one of the region's foremost ethnic community centers.  Located on 46 acres, the year round facility offers sports, educational courses, theater, music and dance, lectures and cultural programming. 

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Irish trio, Socks in the Frying Pan, Debuts at the Blackstone River Theatre on March 1

Socks in the Frying Pan,  a multi-award winning trio from County Clare, is making its Rhode Island debut at the Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland at 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 1, 2020.

Tickets to the concert are $24 at the door.

The trio includes Aodán Coyne on guitar and vocals,  Shane Hayes on accordion and Fiachra Hayes on fiddle and banjo. The band just won two awards at the ALSR Celtic Music Awards in Ireland – Live Album of the Year and Best Festival Performance.  Socks was also named  ‘New Band of the Year’ by the Irish Music Association. 

Here is a schedule of upcoming events at Blackstone River Theatre, considered one of New England's finest acoustic concert venues.

Find year round details on the region's Irish community at