Irish American Heritage Museum

Irish American Heritage Museum The Mission of the Irish American Heritage Museum is to preserve and tell the story of the Irish people and their culture in America, inspiring indviduals to examine the importance of their own heritage as part of the American fabric.

Operating as usual

When the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia in 1787, half of its foreign-born delegates were born in Ireland....

When the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia in 1787, half of its foreign-born delegates were born in Ireland. Of the 39 men who put pen to paper on 17 September, four hailed from our island. Just as 10% of Americans today are of Irish heritage. Happy #ConstitutionDay!

On this day in 1862, the Battle of Antietam decimated General Meagher's Irish Brigade. Second Brigade, First Division Se...

On this day in 1862, the Battle of Antietam decimated General Meagher's Irish Brigade. Second Brigade, First Division Second Corps, Army of the Potomac On 17, September 1862, the Brigade crossed Antietam Creek (9:30 a.m.) at Pry's Ford. As it formed at the edge of a cornfield Father William Corby, Chaplain rode along the line, giving absolution to the soldiers. The 69th New York occupied the right then the 29th Massachusetts, the 63rd and 88th New York crossing the cornfield, the command encountered a rail fence which was torn down under severe fire an opposing Confederate column advanced within 300 paces of the brigade. After several volleys, the Irish Brigade charged with fixed bayonets. At 30 paces it poured buck and ball into General George B. Anderson's Brigade (2nd, 4th, 14th and 30th North Carolina Infantry Regiments) which fell back to "Bloody Lane". After fierce combat its ammunition exhausted the Irish Brigade was relieved. By nightfall, Confederates occupied the town of Sharpsburg ending the single bloodiest day in American history. More than 23,000 men were killed, wounded, or missing in action. The next day, Lee began his retreat across the Potomac River.

At dawn on September 17, 1862 the hills of Sharpsburg thundered with artillery and musket fire as the Northern and Southern armies struggled for possession of the Miller farm cornfield. For three hours, the battle lines swept back and forth across the field.

Of all the days on all the fields where American soldiers have fought, the most terrible by almost any measure was September 17, 1862. The battle waged on that date, close by Antietam Creek at Sharpsburg in western Maryland, took a human toll never exceeded on any other single day in the nation’s history. So intense and sustained was the violence, a man recalled, that for a moment in his mind’s eye the very landscape around him turned red. (Stephen W. Sears. Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam. New Haven: Ticknor & Fields, 1983.)

Meagher wrote the following report: Report of Brigadier General Thomas F. Meagher, U.S. Army, commanding Second Brigade, of the battle of Antietam.

In Camp on Bolivar Heights, Va., September 30, 1862

... the morning of the 17th, when, the men having breakfasted, a sudden order came for the brigade to fall in under arms, and take up the line of march, which Major-General Richardson would indicate. Filing by the right and proceeding at a rapid pace, the brigade crossed the ford of the Antietam a mile or so to the right of the bivouac of that morning, and as hastily, in compact order, following the lead of Major-General Richardson, who conducted the brigade to the field of battle, under cover of the rising ground and depressions which intervened between us and the enemy, we arrived at a corn-field, where Major-General Richardson ordered that everything but cartouch-boxes should be thrown off. The men of the Irish Brigade instantly obeyed this order with a heartiness and enthusiasm which it was rare to expect from men who had been wearied and worn by the unremitting labors of a nine months' campaign.

Deploying from column into line of battle on the edge of this cornfield, they marched through it steadily and displayed themselves in admirable regularity at the fence, a few hundred paces from which the enemy were drawn up in close column, exhibiting a double front, with their battle-flags defiantly displayed. Crossing this fence, which was a work slow and embarrassed, owing to the pioneer corps of the several regiments of the brigade having been reduced by their previous labors on the Peninsula, I had the misfortune to lose the services of many good officers and brave men.

Lieutenant James E. Mackey, of the Sixty-third New York Volunteers, whom I had appointed on my staff in place of Lieutenant Temple Emmert, whose death from typhoid fever the whole brigade affectionately and sincerely deplore, fell while the brigade was deploying into line of battle at this fence.

The enemy's column, with their battle-flag advanced and defiantly flying in front, was at this time within 300 paces of our line. A clover field of about two acres interposed. Then came the plowed field in which this column of the enemy was drawn up, and from which from their double front they had delivered and sustained a fire before which Sedgwick's forces on the right and French's on the left were reported at the time momentarily to have given way. The fact is, owing to some reason which as yet has not been explained, the Irish Brigade had to occupy and hold a gap in the line of the Union army, which the enemy perceiving had flung a formidable column to break through, and so take the two divisions last named on their flank and rear. This movement was suddenly checked by the impetuous advance of the Irish Brigade, which in a great measure filling up the gap through which the rebel column was descending to the rear of the Federal lines, drew up in line of battle within 50 paces of the enemy, the Sixty-ninth and Twenty-ninth being on the right of the line, and the Sixty-third and Eighty-eighth Regiments on the left. On coming into this close and fatal contact with the enemy, the officers and men of the brigade waved their swords and hats and gave the heartiest cheers for their general, George B. McClellan, and the Army of the Potomac. Never were men in higher spirits. Never did men with such alacrity and generosity of heart press forward and encounter the perils of the battle-field.

My orders were, that, after the first and second volleys delivered in line of battle by the brigade, the brigade should charge with fixed bayonets on the enemy. Seated on my horse, close to the Sixty-ninth Regiment, I permitted them to deliver their five or six volleys, and then personally ordered them to charge upon the rebel columns, while at the very same moment I ordered Captain Miller, assistant adjutant general of the Brigade, and Lieutenant Gosson, first aide on my staff, to bring up the Eighty-eighth and Sixty­third immediately to the charge. It was my design, under the general orders I received, to push the enemy on both their fronts as they displayed themselves to us, and, relying on the impetuosity and recklessness of Irish soldiers in a charge, felt confident that before such a charge the rebel column would give way and be dispersed.

Advancing on the right and left obliquely from the center, the brigade poured in an effective and powerful fire upon the column, which it was their special duty to dislodge. Despite a fire of musketry, which literally cut lanes through our approaching line, the brigade advanced under my personal command within 30 paces of the enemy, and at this point, Lieutenant Colonel James Kelly having been shot through the face and Captain Felix Duffy having fallen dead in front of his command, the regiment halted. At the same time Lieutenant-Colonel Fowler and Maj. Richard Bentley, of the Sixty-third, on the left of our line, having been seriously wounded and compelled to retire to the rear, the charge of bayonets I had ordered on the left was arrested, and thus the brigade, instead of advancing and dispersing the column with the bayonet, stood and delivered its fire, persistently and effectually maintaining every inch of the ground they occupied, until Brigadier-General Caldwell, bringing up his brigade, enabled my brigade, after having been reduced to 500 men, to retire to the second line of defense.

Of other transactions on the battlefield in connection with the Irish Brigade I will not presume to speak. My horse having been shot under me as the engagement was about ending, and from the shock which I myself sustained, I was obliged to be carried off the field. It was my good fortune, however, to be able to resume my command early next morning.

For what occurred subsequently to my being carried away from the field I refer you, with proud confidence, not alone to my regimental officers, who remained on the field, but also to many eye-witnesses of superior rank who noticed the opportune action of the Irish Brigade on that day. But I cannot close this communication without specially mentioning the names of Captain Felix Fuffy, of the Sixty-ninth; Captains Clooney and Joyse, of the Eighty-eighth, who, after distinguishing themselves by unremitting assiduity in the discharge of their duties in their commands throughout a very long and very exhausting campaign, fell with their feet to the rebels, with a glow of loyalty and true soldiership upon their dying features.

I have the honor to be, Captain, yours truly and respectfully,

Brigadier-General, Commanding the Irish Brigade.

On this day in 1845, nationalist and poet, Thomas Osborne Davis, died of scarlet fever. He wrote some stirring nationali...

On this day in 1845, nationalist and poet, Thomas Osborne Davis, died of scarlet fever. He wrote some stirring nationalistic ballads, including A Nation Once Again and The West's Asleep, originally contributed to The Nation, and afterwards republished as Spirit of the Nation, as well as a memoir of Curran, the Irish lawyer and orator, prefixed to an edition of his speeches, and a history of King James II’s parliament of 1689; and he had formed many literary plans which were unfinished by his early death.

Davis was born in the town of Mallow in County Cork on 14 October 1814. He was the son of a Welsh father, a surgeon in the British Army who died shortly after his birth, and an Irish mother whose ancestry descended from Cromwellian planters. Little is known of Davis’ early life prior to his attending Trinity College; but such a pedigree would have seemed unlikely to produce an anti-Unionist Irish republican. Yet Davis joined the College’s Historical Society, which in previous years had among its members Wolf Tone and Robert Emmett. Davis was elected president of the society and immediately took it into a new direction. Prior to his election the society had become known for tedious speeches written “more to astound than to persuade”. Davis changed that; he spoke on real things, practical issues that were both relevant and inspirational. A frequent theme was education and how it was a moral duty for his peers to educate themselves to be of service to their country of Ireland. People who heard him speak described it as a “new light being shown on Ireland”. He graduated with a degree in law, but though called to the Bar in 1838 he never practiced.

Thomas Davis was Ireland's most comprehensive philosopher of nationality whose writings during a brief lifetime influenced subsequent national thought and feeling down to our own day.

On the one hand, he appealed to Patrick Pearse as an uncompromising evangelist of separatism, while impressing Arthur Griffith as a flexible thinker whom he could invoke to argue for the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921.

Davis’s stirring songs such as ‘A Nation Once Again’ and ‘The West’s Asleep’ were enthusiastically popular with successive generations.

In some important respects, Davis’s concerns - and confusions - are still ours today. His passion for the alliance of orange and green, and his eagerness to get his fellow-Protestants to accept the Irish nation, blinded him to some hard facts. As a not very serious Protestant himself, he failed to appreciate the strength of religious feeling among his fellow-country men.

The sentiments expressed in some of his best-known verses are admirable but naive. “What matters that at different shrines we pray unto one God, / What matters if at different times our fathers won this sod.”

But of course it mattered a great deal. The land question in one form or another was a chief cause of conflict from the early seventeenth century. And people prayed to Catholic and Protestant gods respectively, conceived in mutually hostile images. Later on, for example, the god invoked in the Ulster Covenant (1913) was hardly the same deity whose patronage was sought by the 1916 insurgents.

As a satirical Great War ballad put it, “My God, says God, what am I going to do?”.

The harsh militancy of Davis’s endless verses about the ‘brutal Saxon’ would hardly appeal to Protestants he was anxious to coax into a harmonious union of Irishmen.

Davis found it hard to accept that the political allegiance of most Protestants lay elsewhere, just as subsequent nationalists denied the reality of two nations in Ireland.

Davis repeatedly asserted that the Irish language was central to Irish nationality. In doing so, he composed facile maxims which were widely quoted in Gaelic League days and after.

Davis was not the only nationalist to promote the cause of Irish - in eloquent English, while failing to learn Irish himself. Ironically, it was increasing literacy in English that enabled nationalism to be preached and understood.

The growth of Irish nationalism was a product of Anglicisation.

Davis deserves our admiration for his views on education. “Educate that you may be free” is a splendid and imaginative precept which has applications in more ways than Davis dreamt of.

Also extremely enlightened was his view that, in order to transcend old animosities, the youth of Ireland should be educated in common, irrespective of religious belief. Regrettably, it is a teaching that continues to fall on deaf ears.

Finally, we would do well today to emulate Davis’s noble vision of an independent Ireland being led by people of integrity. “For freedom comes from God’s right hand, and needs a godly train / And righteous men shall make our land a nation once again.”

Thank you to UCC Emeritus Professor John A Murphy in the Irish Examiner.

National Monuments Service - Archaeology

Fantastic video about a certain famous island off the coast of Kerry. Do you think you could climb that?

Sceilg Mhichíl. Join us on a short visit to the majestic UNESCO World Heritage Site Sceilg Mhichíl (Skellig Michael) where ongoing conservation and maintenance work, including the refurbishment of the lower lighthouse by our OPW - Office of Public Works colleagues, continued this summer.
#heritagewellbeing #worldheritage #sceilgmhichil #skelligmichael
Malcolm Noonan T.D.
Wild Atlantic Way
RTÉ News

On this day in 1866, John Blake Dillon, nationalist, died in Dublin. John Blake Dillon (5 May 1814 – 15 September 1866) ...

On this day in 1866, John Blake Dillon, nationalist, died in Dublin.

John Blake Dillon (5 May 1814 – 15 September 1866) was an Irish writer and politician who was one of the founding members of the Young Ireland movement.

John Blake Dillon was born in the town of Ballaghaderreen, on the border of counties Mayo and Roscommon. He was a son of Anne Blake and her husband Luke Dillon (d. 1826), who had been a land agent for his cousin Patrick Dillon, 11th Earl of Roscommon. His niece was Anne Deane, who helped to raise his family after his death.

He was educated at St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, leaving after only two years there, having decided that he was not meant for the priesthood. He later studied law at Trinity College, Dublin (TCD), and in London, before being called to the Irish Bar.

It was during his time at TCD that he first met and befriended Thomas Davis.

While working for The Morning Register newspaper he met Charles Gavan Duffy, with whom he and Davis founded The Nation in 1842, which was dedicated to promoting Irish nationalism and all three men became important members of Daniel O'Connell's Repeal Association, which advocated the repeal of the Act of Union 1800 between Great Britain and Ireland.

The young wing of the party, of which they were key members with William Smith O'Brien and Thomas Francis Meagher, came to be known as Young Ireland and advocated the threat of force to achieve repeal of the Act of Union. This was in contrast to the committed pacifism of O'Connell's "Old Ireland" wing. This posturing eventually led to the Young Ireland rebellion of 1848 where a countryside devastated by the Great Famine failed to rise up and support the rebels.

According to fellow Irish nationalist, Justin McCarthy:

" has been said of him that while he strongly discouraged the idea of armed rebellion, and had no faith in the possibility of Ireland's succeeding by any movement of insurrection, yet when Smith O'Brien risked Ireland's chances in the open field, he cast his lot with his leader and stood by his side in Tipperary."

After the failure of Young Ireland's uprising, Dillon fled Ireland, escaping first to France and, eventually, to the United States, where he served the New York Bar.

Dillon returned to Ireland on amnesty in 1855 and in 1865 was elected as a Member of Parliament for Tipperary. By now he advocated a Federal union of Britain and Ireland and denounced the violent methods advocated by the Irish Republican Brotherhood or Fenian movement.

John Blake Dillon died of cholera in Killiney, Co. Dublin, aged 52, and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.

He was the father of John Dillon, and grandfather of James Dillon.


Quackenbush Square
Albany, NY

Opening Hours

Wednesday 11:00 - 16:00
Thursday 11:00 - 16:00
Friday 11:00 - 16:00
Saturday 12:00 - 16:00
Sunday 12:00 - 16:00




Be the first to know and let us send you an email when Irish American Heritage Museum posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Museum

Send a message to Irish American Heritage Museum:



New Location for the Irish American Heritage Museum, Albany.

The mission of the Irish American Heritage Museum is to preserve and tell the story of the contributions of the Irish people and their culture in America, inspiring individuals to examine the importance of their own heritage as part of the American Cultural mosaic.

For centuries, they left because they couldn’t stay, or because they wanted to go, or a combination of both. Community became very important to the new arrivals, and so Irish immigrants gathered together in slums near the port or traveled further to meet family members or neighbors who had made the journey earlier and could help give them a start.

They experienced prejudice, hardship, trials, and sometimes good fortune. In turn, some of them displayed prejudice, wrestling for position in often-ruthless cities. Many served their new country in the military, some became labor leaders, politicians, teachers, and innovators. Some achieved great fame, others infamy. Most would remain nameless, living ordinary lives, proud of their heritage, working hard, and becoming American.

Although this museum tells the story of the Irish in America, with a few changes, it could tell the story of almost any immigrant. It is the story of leaving home and family to build a life in a new place. It is a testament to the courage of those who faced the unknown and conquered fear and discrimination to become Americans.

Today, these emigrants and their descendants, some 34 million Americans, are spread across every state in the nation. Here, we tell their stories.

Nearby museums


Please enjoy my ten-minute short film entitled "Mersey Boys: A Letter from Al Moran." Shooting was done in Galway and Wicklow, Ireland in October of 2017. The cast included actors from Ireland, the United Kingdom and the USA. The story revolves around a fictional encounter between an Irish American college professor and three of the Beatles in a Liverpool pub, circa 1960.
Lucky him!
Does anyone know where you go tomorrow to get your bib for the race?
What time does the race start?
The castles of Ireland should be rebuilt this way!
I am very pleased with everything about this site. Informative, humorous, emotional! I am proud of my heritage and thank you for the recognition!
Id Love to Experience a Traditional Irish Christmas. What away to Share the Holidays - God Bless Everyone !!
Raised in #2:
I am The Irishman Extraordinaire lol Beadley that's me !! Lok