Irish American Heritage Month: Patrick Gallagher, USMC

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Patrick Gallagher was born in Derrintogher, County Mayo Ireland on February 2, 1944. At the age of eighteen, as so many you Irish men and women before him, Patrick immigrated to the United States and the promise of a new life filled with opportunity. He quickly started on the immigrant dream: studying law while working in real estate; even getting involved in local politics as a campaign worker for Senator Robert Kennedy.  In 1966, Patrick was drafted for service in Viet Nam. Despite pleas from … [Read more...]

Irish American Heritage Month: The Irish Brigade at Antietam

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DID YOU KNOW THAT the Irish had a major part in the victory on the bloodiest day in American history? It was at Antietam on September 17, 1862, and it was the victory that emboldened President Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. Foremost among Union forces was the Irish Brigade led by Irish-born Gen. Thomas F Meagher. Their story is an extraordinary chronicle of military valor in America’s cause; once when President Lincoln visited General McClellan’s Union camp, he lifted a corner … [Read more...]

Irish American Heritage Month: The Irish Whales

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DID YOU KNOW that the first Gold Medal winner in modern Olympic history was the son of Irish immigrant parents and that Irish athletes dominated Olympic track and field events for the U.S. for the first two decades of the 20th century? The first to win was James Connolly and he was born on October 28, 1868 in the impoverished section of south Boston. He grew up with a love of sports and when an International Olympic Committee resurrected the ancient Olympic Games to be held in Athens in April, … [Read more...]

Irish American Heritage Month: The Fighting Sullivan Brothers

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DID YOU KNOW that in the annals of America's heroes, there is scarcely a brighter entry than that of the fighting Sullivan brothers?  Born in Waterloo, Iowa to Railroad conductor Tom Sullivan and his wife Alleta, George, Francis, Albert, Joseph, and Madison grew up the best of friends in the closeness of an Irish family and matured into patriotic Americans. It was no surprise therefore, that when Pearl Harbor was attacked, the Sullivan brothers headed straight for the nearest U.S. Navy … [Read more...]

Irish American Heritage Month: Colonel Eileen Collins, A Child of Immigrants Who Attained the Stars

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On July 30th 1999, 30 years and two days after the first successful moonwalk, Irish American Colonel Eileen Marie Collins became the first woman to command a U.S. spacecraft. Eileen Collins was one of four children born to immigrant parents from County Cork who had settled in Elmira New York. At an early age Eileen expressed an interest in flying, the skies around her home a frequent home to sailplanes and Elmira was home to the National Soaring Museum. Her parents would often take her to the … [Read more...]

Irish American Heritage Month: John Philip Holland, Inventor of the Modern Submarine

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DID YOU KNOW that an Irishman invented the first successful submarine? His name was John Philip Holland and he was born in Liscannor, Co. Clare, Ireland, on February 24, 1841. He experienced the Irish potato failure suffering poor eyesight as a result. His father was a member of the Coast Guards and young John inherited a love of the sea. Although his poor eyesight prevented him from following in his father’s footsteps, he developed an interest in ship design. John attended the Christian … [Read more...]

Irish American Heritage Month: Ther Angel of Andersonville

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DID YOU KNOW that an Irish Catholic Priest Rev. Thomas O’Reilly threatened General Sherman with a mutiny by the Irish Catholics in his army if he torched the church district of Atlanta at the start of his infamous march to the sea and that General Sherman backed down and the entire church district was saved, including the City Hall which stood therein? However, Rev. Peter Whelan was just as courageous in another way. Rev. Whelan distinguished himself as a chaplain for the Montgomery Guards, an … [Read more...]

Irish American Heritage Month: The Most Dangerous Woman in America

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Did You Know that a 72-year-old Irish woman, beloved by millions, was once called the most dangerous woman in America? Her name was Mary Harris Jones and this feisty little Irish lady was also called the Mother of All Agitators. Born in Cork City, Ireland on 1 May 1837, her family fled the Great Hunger to Canada where she trained as a teacher and dressmaker. In 1861, she married George Jones, an iron molder and union organizer in Memphis, Tennessee. They had four children, but she lost all four … [Read more...]

Irish American Heritage Month: The Irish Contribution to America’s Independance

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DID YOU KNOW that when America was born, the Irish were there? The Irish, both Protestant and Catholic, were a major part of Washington’s volunteers from foot soldiers to high ranking officers. When increased Crown exploitation drove the colonists to protest, among the loudest were the Irish who had no great love for the Crown to begin with. And there were many Irish in America’s colonies. Among them were those who fought the English theft of their Irish lands and ended up hunted men; they were … [Read more...]