Irish American Heritage Museum

Irish American Heritage Museum We explore the contributions, history, and culture of Irish people in America.

The work of the Museum is supported through a grant from the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs "Emigrant Support Programme."

  in 1869, African explorer, big game hunter, & author, Delia “Mickie” Denning Akeley was born on a farm near Beaver Dam...
12/05/2023

in 1869, African explorer, big game hunter, & author, Delia “Mickie” Denning Akeley was born on a farm near Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.

Delia’s father was Patrick Denning, born in Ireland in 1814. Patrick moved to the US in 1834 & in 1854, married Margaret Hanberry, who was also born in Ireland (b. 1830). The year they married, they moved to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, where they had at least 7 children. When Delia Denning was a teenager, she ran away from home & lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There, she met & married a barber, Arthur Reiss, in 1889.

Delia & Arthur were divorced shortly after they married & in 1902, Delia married Carl Akeley, a biologist, conservationist & the Taxidermist-in-Chief at Chicago’s Field Museum. Together, they traveled to Africa & collected many specimen for the Field Museum & the American Museum of Natural History. On their 1906 expedition, Delia killed the larger elephant of the Field Museum’s ‘Fighting Bulls’ display. The Akeley’s moved back to the US in 1920, & brought with them their pet monkey J.T. Jr. Delia was one of the first authors to write a psychologically insightful biography of a primate when she published ‘J.T. Junior: The Biography of an African Monkey’ (1928).

Following her divorce from Carl in 1923, Delia returned to Africa alone. Through the Brooklyn Museum of Arts & Science, she led two African expeditions in 1924 & 1928, part of which she spent living with the Pygmies in the Ituri Forest. When she returned, she reported that African natives were “friendly, intelligent, & much more understanding than we are.” She was one of the first westerners to explore the desert between Kenya & Ethiopia. Her expeditions provided a greater understanding of Zaire, Kenya & the Congo. She published two autobiographical books after returning to the US, ‘Jungle Portraits’ (1930); ‘All True!’ (1931). In 1939, she married businessman, Warren D Howe. Delia Akeley-Howe died in Daytona Beach, Florida on May 22 1970.

Did you miss our Christmas Market? It isn't too late! Stop into the museum Wednesday-Sunday 11am-4pm to check out our se...
12/04/2023

Did you miss our Christmas Market? It isn't too late! Stop into the museum Wednesday-Sunday 11am-4pm to check out our selection of Irish goods! We have baking & cooking ingredients, snacks, and an assortment of candy available for purchase in the museum shop, while supplies lasts.

  in 1931, geneticist & Distinguished Professor at Indiana University Medical School, Dr. Patrick Michael ‘Mike’ Conneal...
12/04/2023

in 1931, geneticist & Distinguished Professor at Indiana University Medical School, Dr. Patrick Michael ‘Mike’ Conneally, was born in Ballygar, Co Galway.

Conneally graduated from University College Dublin with a BA in agriculture with honors in 1954. He then worked as an agriculture instructor along the west coast of Ireland, but wished to pursue a master’s degree in the US. He had family members that immigrated to the Chicago area, so he applied to the nearby University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1958. When he graduated from UW-Madison in 1962, he earned a master’s & PhD in Medical Genetics.

Conneally then worked with & studied the genetics of the ethnoreligious Hutterites through the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio for 2 years. In 1964, he was appointed Assistant Professor in the Dept of Medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine. He was one of the first professors for the University’s Dept of Medical & Molecular Genetics when it was established a couple of years later.

Over the course of Dr Conneally’s two decades in genetic research, he was instrumental in mapping around 20 human genes. He spent 10 years researching Huntington’s Disease & in the process, identified 20% of the entire human genome. With Harvard’s Dr James Gusella, Conneally discovered the mutated gene that caused Huntington’s was located on chromosome 4; this was added to the list of 40 most important discoveries in human genetics by the 1984 International Congress of Human Genetics. In 1987, Conneally discovered a second gene for familial Alzheimer disease.

Dr. Conneally was elected to the rank of Distinguished Professor in 1988; he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science honoris causa degree by Trinity College in 1989; he was selected as the Irwin Research Awardee in 1991; in 2001, he received the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics Lifetime Achievement Award; in 2002, he was president of the American Society of Human Genetics. Conneally was also a member of the DNA Identification Committees after the WTC attacks on 9/11 & Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Dr Conneally died on February 17, 2017, aged 85.

We're not going to let the rain stop us from celebrating good cheer! Join us at two pm for a festive slice of Ireland!! ...
12/03/2023

We're not going to let the rain stop us from celebrating good cheer! Join us at two pm for a festive slice of Ireland!! Parking is free in the Quackenbush Lot on Sunday.

We are hopping at the Celtic Hall for the annual Christmas market. Shop local and get one of a kind gifts from our beaut...
12/02/2023

We are hopping at the Celtic Hall for the annual Christmas market. Shop local and get one of a kind gifts from our beautiful vendors, or buy Irish products, books, and food from the musuem gift shop. Open until 3pm.

One more sleep until our Christmas market!!Join us at Celtic Hall for our annual Christmas Market! Support your communit...
12/01/2023

One more sleep until our Christmas market!!

Join us at Celtic Hall for our annual Christmas Market! Support your community and shop local for beautiful gifts, handmade pieces, speciality foods, and drink.

This is always a special day with over 25 vendors selling a variety of handmade gifts and goods, as well as Irish food, raffles, and live music.

Get in the holiday spirit with some craic and ceol, and of course our annual visit from Santa Claus!

Today is   which has been recognized every December 1st since 1988. It is 1 of 11 global public health campaigns by the ...
12/01/2023

Today is which has been recognized every December 1st since 1988. It is 1 of 11 global public health campaigns by the World Health Organization. This year, we would like to acknowledge a pioneering radio & tv presenter who is described as Ireland’s first gay celebrity & the country’s first high profile victim of the AIDS epidemic.

Vincent ‘Fab Vinny’ Hanley was born on April 2, 1954 in Co Tipperary, the first son to Michael & Joan Hanley. He got his first DJ job at the Glenbrook rowing club on Cork harbor. In 1976 he was hired to host pop music radio on RTÉ Radio Cork before moving to RTÉ Radio 1, then RTÉ Television, & finally RTÉ Radio Two for its 1979 debut. In 1981 he took a job in London with Capital Radio until 1983.

Hanley then chose to relocate to NYC. Homosexuality was not decriminalized in Ireland until 1993, so many young gay Irish men & women jumped at the chance to move to places like NYC where they could live openly. In NYC, Hanley & RTÉ producer Conor McAnally established Green Apple Productions, which produced a 3-hour long music video show ‘MT-USA.’ The show was modeled after the US’s MTV channel, which debuted in 1981. MT-USA aired on RTÉ from 1984 to 1987. Hanley featured in segments that introduced the next music video & discussed American culture, with celebrity interviews. VJs (video jockeys) were popular in America since MTV aired, but RTÉ named Hanley as the first European VJ.

Vincent Hanley tragically died just after his 33rd birthday, on April 18, 1987. He was diagnosed with an eye disorder, congenital cerebral toxoplasmosis, that left him blind in one eye at the time of his death. The disease is not typically fatal but can be for those with weakened immunity, which lent credence to rumors that Hanley was living with HIV/AIDS, rumors he denied until his death. Hanley was visibly ill & appeared sicker in each intro he filmed. He eventually moved to Dublin to seek treatment at St James Hospital, where he passed. In 2000, his close friend & colleague, Bill Hughes confirmed that Hanley died from AIDS-related illness. In 2022, Hughes made a documentary, ‘Sex, Lies & Videotapes’ about Hanley & the AIDS epidemic in Ireland.

Sad news coming out of Ireland as Shane Patrick Lysaght MacGowan has died.He was born on Christmas Day, 1957, in a hospi...
11/30/2023

Sad news coming out of Ireland as Shane Patrick Lysaght MacGowan has died.

He was born on Christmas Day, 1957, in a hospital near the English town of Tunbridge Wells, Kent, to parents who had left Ireland just a few months earlier.

His father, Maurice, a Dubliner, worked for a chain of clothing retailers. His mother, Therese, a former secretary and model, was from rural Tipperary. Mr. MacGowan spent his early years in the middle-class suburb of Tunbridge Wells, southeast of London, though the family regularly returned to Ireland for visits.

He spent his summers in Ireland though, staying for weeks at a time with relatives at the Commons, his mother’s family’s rustic homestead near Nenagh, in County Tipperary.

The house was a well-known local destination for marathon bouts of music, dancing and drinking. “On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the door was open all night, and it would be a place to go for a session,” Mr. MacGowan told Mr. Balls, his biographer. “I would be put upon the table from the earliest days I can remember and told to sing what songs I knew.”

In January 2018, Mr. MacGowan was celebrated publicly for his 60th birthday with a tribute concert in Dublin that included Bono and Sinead O’Connor. During the event, President Michael D. Higgins of Ireland presented him with a lifetime achievement award.

May he rest in peace - ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis.

  in 1667, satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer, poet and Anglican cleric who became Dean of Dublin's St. Patrick's...
11/30/2023

in 1667, satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer, poet and Anglican cleric who became Dean of Dublin's St. Patrick's Cathedral, Jonathan Swift, was born in Dublin. Best known for writing Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, and Drapier’s Letters, he elevated satire.

Swift believed that humans, though capable of reasoning, were not essentially rational! He admitted hating “that animal called man” while loving individual specimens. While Swift felt Ireland to be second-best to London, he advocated fiercely for it politically, in pamphlets he wrote under a pseudonym, Drapier's Letters, in the 1720s, for which he later earned the freedom of the city. Swift was a king of the one liners. On politics: “Burn everything English... except their coal." And on religion: “Ireland has enough religion to make it hate, but not enough to make it love.”

His suggestion in A Modest Proposal (1729) that in response to endemic poverty and starvation, the Irish poor should sell their children to be cooked and eaten still has the power to shock.

Hie is best known as Dean of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, even though he was far too outspoken for his own good in terms of his professional advancement. Swift preached every fourth Sunday at St Patrick’s to large crowds. A copy of a sermon he preached is today on display and is entitled “A sermon upon sleeping in church.”

Swift was fanatical about cleanliness and keeping fit, but his critics used his unusual behavior as proof of his madness. Swift, of course, had the final say: “He gave the little wealth he had, To build a house for fools and mad; And show’d by one satiric touch, No nation wanted it so much.” His will stated that all his personal wealth should go toward founding St Patrick’s Hospital, the first to imagine the humane treatment of those with mental illness.

Watch our recent talk with Dr. Brendan Kelly on the history of the "lunatic asylum" in Ireland for an insight into that topic!

  in 1902, World Light Heavyweight Champion boxer, Tommy “The Philly Phantom” Loughran, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsy...
11/29/2023

in 1902, World Light Heavyweight Champion boxer, Tommy “The Philly Phantom” Loughran, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

John Loughran was born in Co Tyrone in 1870 & worked as a milk wagon driver in Philadelphia for many years before becoming an operator for the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Co. He married Anna Haley, who was born in Philadelphia to immigrants who left Ireland during the Great Hunger. John & Anna had seven children; Thomas Patrick was their third.

Loughran dropped out of school at 16 & briefly worked in the Philadelphia Navy Yard before being hired by the local blacksmith. He spent his nights training for his first fight, which occurred when he was 17. His early matches were in the lightweight division & he won his first 43 fights. In 1922, he entered the middleweight division & fought many future titleholders including Harry Greb & Gene Tunney; both fights ending in ‘no-decision.’ He won his first light heavyweight championship in October 1927 against the County Clare-born, ‘Bold Mike’ McTigue. He vacated his title in 1930 to move up to the heavyweight division. His first heavyweight title match was in 1934 against Italian boxer, Primo Carnera; Carnera (who outweighed Loughran by 86 lbs.) won in a unanimous decision. Loughran was a strong defensive boxer but was not considered a hard hitter- he knocked out 18 opponents in his 172 professional bouts.

Tommy Loughran retired from boxing in March 1937 at 35 years old. He enlisted in the US Marines in 1942 & served in WWII. After the war he moved to Manhattan & was successful on Wall Street as a sugar broker into the 1960s. He retired to Pennsylvania & died on July 7, 1982, aged 79. Loughran was inducted into the Ring Magazine Hall of Fame in 1956 & posthumously into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991 & the US Marine Corps Hall of Fame in 2017.

11/29/2023
Looking forward to our talk tonight about the history of Grangegorman, Ireland's largest "lunatic asylum." Join us on Zo...
11/28/2023

Looking forward to our talk tonight about the history of Grangegorman, Ireland's largest "lunatic asylum." Join us on Zoom or YouTube at 5.30pm.

In 1814, the Richmond Lunatic Asylum at Grangegorman in Dublin started an extraordinary program of asylum building across Ireland, aimed at alleviating the suffering of people with mental illness who were homeless, in prison, or confined in appalling circumstances. By the mid-twentieth century, Ireland had proportionately more people in ‘mental hospitals’ than any other country in the world. On a given night, the number of people in Ireland’s psychiatric hospitals was more than double those in all our other institutions put together: prisons, laundries, mother and baby homes, industrial schools, orphanages.

What was the life of a patient in an asylum really like? Through letters, medical records and doctors' notes, Brendan Kelly gives us a glimpse inside Grangegorman and the lives of those who lived and worked there, up until it closed its doors in 2013.

Brendan Kelly is Professor of Psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin, Consultant Psychiatrist at Tallaght University Hospital, Dublin, and UCD Visiting Full Clinical Professor at UCD School of Medicine, University College Dublin. In addition to his medical degree (MB B*h BAO), he holds masters degrees in epidemiology (MSc), healthcare management (MA), and Buddhist studies (MA), and an MA (jure officii) from Trinity College Dublin; doctorates in medicine (MD), history (PhD), governance (DGov), and law (PhD); and a higher doctorate in history (DLitt). He has authored and co-authored over 300 publications in peer-reviewed journals, over 600 non-peer-reviewed publications, 21 book chapters and book contributions, and 17 books (11 as sole author). His recent books include ‘Asylum: Inside Grangegorman’ (2023). He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, and Trinity College Dublin. In 2018, he became Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry and in 2020 was elected as Dun’s Librarian at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.

On this Giving Tuesday, please support our education mission and donate to celebrate Irish American heritage.We are deli...
11/28/2023

On this Giving Tuesday, please support our education mission and donate to celebrate Irish American heritage.

We are delighted to offer a wide range of talks and presentations, most of which are free and available on our website and YouTube channel. We can only do this with the support of our community!

Thank you to all the members and friends who tune in regularly and enjoy these presentations, or who visit the museum. We are proud to explore the contributions, history, and culture of Irish people in America, and foster dialogue and exchange between America and Ireland today. By sharing our stories, we strive to create connections and community between all Americans, as we appreciate and study the universality of the immigrant story in American history.

As a 501 (c) 3, non-profit, your donation is tax deductible. Follow the link here to donate today. https://give-usa.keela.co/donation-form84

Thank you!

  in 1831, industrialist & one of four ‘Bonanza Kings,’ John William Mackay, was born in Dublin, Ireland.The Mackay’s we...
11/28/2023

in 1831, industrialist & one of four ‘Bonanza Kings,’ John William Mackay, was born in Dublin, Ireland.

The Mackay’s were a desperately poor working-class family that immigrated to the Five Points neighborhood in Manhattan by 1840. After his father’s premature death in NYC, John took an apprenticeship with shipbuilder, William H Webb. In 1851, Mackay traveled West during the gold rush & worked in several mines through 1860. He then moved to Virginia City, Nevada & worked as a timberman, installing & maintaining mineshafts & equipment. Mackay partnered with JM Walker & invested in the mine at Gold Hill, NV & amassed a small fortune. He was worth $1.6 million by 1865.

Mackay then went into a partnership with the Irish-born William Shoney O’Brien (Co Laois) & James G Fair (Co Tyrone), & the son of Irish immigrants, James C Flood. They came to be known as the ‘Bonanza Kings’ or ‘The Big Four.’ They dealt in mining stocks; operated silver mines & were especially successful in the Hale & Norcross mine. They were able to use profits from Hale & Norcross to buy out several smaller mine claims & in 1871 organized them all under the name Consolidated Virginia Mining Company. In 1873, ‘Con Virginia’ made the greatest ore discovery in North America, named the Big Bonanza, which paid out $181 billion in today’s money. The Big Four used the proceeds to establish the Bank of Nevada in San Francisco. In 1884, Mackay & James Gordon Bennett Jr founded the Commercial Cable Company. They laid 2 transatlantic cables & were able to bring the telegraph fee down to $0.25 per word. 2 years later, he established the domestic company, Postal Telegraph Co, ending the monopoly Jay Gould (Western Union) had over communications.

Mackay was known for paying his employees fairly & giving generously to charities. He died of heart failure on July 20, 1902 in London. He was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. He is the namesake of Mackay, Idaho; Mackay Peak in the White K**b Mountains; & the Mackay School of Earth Sciences & Engineering (formerly Mackay School of Mines) at the University of Nevada.

11/28/2023

Our series The Irish and... continues this month with a look at the multi-layered relationship between the Irish and Native Americans.

Both a colonized people, they were often described using similar terms by their colonizers. However, as immigration to the US grew, the Irish were often involved in the oppression of the Native Americans, most notably in the Trail of Tears. How touching it was then that several years later, the Choctaw made a generous donation to the Irish during the Great Hunger. The relationship continues today with several cultural exchanges happening from scholarship, commemoration, and renewed support.

Conor J. Donnan is a visiting lecturer in American Studies at University of Maryland Baltimore County. His research focuses on anti-colonialism and anti-capitalism among Indigenous nations and Irish nationalists during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Professor Donnan is committed to the Public Humanities. He is involved in museum projects and he has appeared on podcasts about Irish politics and Native American history.

He received his B.A. in History from Ulster University in Ireland. Afterward, Conor moved to the United States, where he obtained a Master’s degree in Historical Studies from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). He received his PhD in History from the University of Pennsylvania.

Join us live on YouTube at 5.30 as our series The Irish and... continues this month with a look at the multi-layered rel...
11/27/2023

Join us live on YouTube at 5.30 as our series The Irish and... continues this month with a look at the multi-layered relationship between the Irish and Native Americans.

Both a colonized people, they were often described using similar terms by their colonizers. However, as immigration to the US grew, the Irish were often involved in the oppression of the Native Americans, most notably in the Trail of Tears. How touching it was then that several years later, the Choctaw made a generous donation to the Irish during the Great Hunger. The relationship continues today with several cultural exchanges happening from scholarship, commemoration, and renewed support.

Dr. Conor J. Donnan is a visiting lecturer in American Studies at University of Maryland Baltimore County. His research focuses on anti-colonialism and anti-capitalism among Indigenous nations and Irish nationalists during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Professor Donnan is committed to the Public Humanities. He is involved in museum projects and he has appeared on podcasts about Irish politics and Native American history.

He received his B.A. in History from Ulster University in Ireland. Afterward, Conor moved to the United States, where he obtained a Master’s degree in Historical Studies from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). He received his PhD in History from the University of Pennsylvania.

  in 1888, MLB pitcher, Martin “Marty” O’Toole, was born in William Penn, Pennsylvania.His parents, Edward & Margaret (F...
11/27/2023

in 1888, MLB pitcher, Martin “Marty” O’Toole, was born in William Penn, Pennsylvania.

His parents, Edward & Margaret (Finn) O’Toole, were immigrants from Co Wexford. They moved to Framingham, MA before 1900. In 1907 Marty & his older brother, Mike O’Toole, joined the New England League & played for the Brockton, Mass team. Marty completed all 28 games that he started in his first season, with 20 wins. In 1908 he completed 36 of his 38 starts in a 30-win season.

On September 21, 1908, Martin made his professional debut, pitching for the Cincinnati Reds. He asked exec, Garry Herrmann, for additional money at the season’s end, but went back to the Brockton, Mass team after Herrmann denied his request. He led the NE league with 26 wins in the 1909 season & the Boston Red Sox purchased his contract that August. O’Toole was included in a trade between Boston & St Paul of the American Association that ultimately landed him with the Sioux City team. Between St Paul & Sioux City, his 1910 record was 22-8, with 239 strikeouts.

O’Toole signed a contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1911. The Pirates paid him a record price of $22,500, because his minor league stats were so promising. Within a year, O’Toole was experiencing pain in his pitching arm. He was seeing a specialist, but continued to pitch despite a rheumatism diagnosis. In the 1912 season, O’Toole pitched in 37 games, the most games in any season of his career. His pitching success declined over the next couple seasons; his use of a spitball pitch rather than a knuckleball was not as successful in the majors as it was in the minors.

Marty was publicly mocked in newspapers for his lackluster MLB stats, with headlines referring to him as the Pittsburgh Lemon. He was traded to the NY Giants in 1914, but was sent back to the minor leagues after 2-9 season. He played with Columbus (AA) in 1915 & pitched his one & only no-hitter. He was sold to San Antonio in 1919, when the spitball was banned, but he never reported to his new team. He retired out West with little contact with his family. He was found dead at the bottom of a staircase on Feb 18, 1949 in Aberdeen, WA.

  in 1963, President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. Journalist Pete Hamill wrote for Irish Americ...
11/22/2023

in 1963, President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. Journalist Pete Hamill wrote for Irish America:
That day I was in the dark, hard northern city of Belfast... with my father, who had been away from the city where he was born for more than 30 years. He was an American now: citizen of Brooklyn... But along the Falls Road in Belfast in November 1963, he was greeted as a returning Irishman by his brother Frank & his surviving Irish friends... I was in my cousin Frankie Bennett’s house dressing to go down to see the old man in a place called the Rock Bar. The television was on in the parlor...
The program was interrupted & a BBC announcer came on, his face grave, to say that the president of the United States had been shot while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas. Everything in the room stopped... John F. Kennedy, the president of the US, was dead.
I remember reeling out into the night. All over the city, thousands of human beings were doing the same thing... Oh, sweet Jesus, they shot Jack! They killed President Kennedy! He’s been shot dead! At the foot of the Falls Road, I saw... another man sat on the curb, sobbing into his hands... The reaction was the same on the Shankill as it was on the Falls... It was a scale of grief I’d never seen before or since... John Fitzgerald Kennedy wasn’t “the Catholic president;" he was the young & shining prince of the Irish diaspora.
I ended up at the Rock Bar... my father was sitting with two old IRA men... trying to console him when he was beyond consolation... For the Catholic immigrants of his generation, Jack Kennedy's election in 1960 had redeemed everything: the bigotry that went all the way back to the Great Famine; the slurs & the sneers; Help Wanted, No Irish Need Apply; the insulting acceptance of the stereotype of the drunken & impotent Stage Irishman; the doors closed in law firms, and men’s clubs, & brokerage houses because of religion & origin. After 1960, they knew that their children truly could be anything in their chosen country, including the president of the United States."
Watch our interview with Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times, Martin Wall on JFK's legacy.

11/22/2023

Elizabeth spoke with Martin Wall, who is the Washington correspondent for The Irish Times, this morning about the legacy of JFK, sixty years after his assassination.

11/22/2023

Irish Stew is the podcast for the Global Irish Nation, featuring interviews with fascinating influencers proud of their Irish Edge. If you're Irish born or hyphenated Irish, this is the podcast that brings all the Irish together. The podcast is hosted by John Lee and Martin Nutty with production and editorial assistance from Bill Schultz.

Martin was born in Dublin in the 1960s and spent his childhood in Kinsealy, a small, rural community just eight miles from the center of Dublin City. While in high school in Ireland, he became involved in Track and Field athletics specializing in the Shot Put and Discus and was fortunate to be nurtured by the Irish Olympian, Philip Conway and made enough progress to participate on Irish Junior teams. Like many young Irish athletes at the time, Martin decided to follow Philip’s footsteps by pursuing an athletic scholarship in America attending St John’s University in New York City and improved enough to have some modest success in American collegiate competition along with winning an Irish national team cap in 1985. Unfortunately, the heavy training load took a physical toll and effectively put an end to athletic aspirations.

  in 1828, journalist & livestock expert, Maria ‘Middy/Midy’ Morgan, was born in Cork, Ireland. Middy was one of the ear...
11/22/2023

in 1828, journalist & livestock expert, Maria ‘Middy/Midy’ Morgan, was born in Cork, Ireland. Middy was one of the earliest women sports writers in the US.

She was one of five children to landowner, Anthony Morgan. The Morgan family built the Ardnalee House (originally called Prospect Hill) in Coolymurraghue, Cork. Middy studied cattle & horse breeding & was an equestrian expert at a young age. Her father died in 1865, so Middy (now in her mid-30’s) went with her sister, Jane, to Rome, Italy, where Jane was going to study art. Two years later, Middy moved to Florence, where she was hired to manage the stables of King Victor Emanuel II & select his Horse Guard.

After 2 years working for the King, Middy moved to NYC & introduced herself to Horace Greeley, editor of the NY Tribune. The Tribune published her first column, about horse races at Saratoga Race Track. NY Times editor, Henry Jarvis Raymond, hired her as the livestock expert for the Times in 1870. She wrote for the NY Times for the next 20 years, while also contributing articles to the NY Herald, Live-stock Reporter, American Agriculturist, Country Gentleman, & The Turf, Field & Farm. Middy was hailed as the foremost expert of judging cattle in the US, so when she published an expose on the poor treatment of cattle on transatlantic crossings, shipping companies obliged & improved their existing conditions.

In the early 1880s, Middy traveled to the Western US & was hired as a ranch hand on a Montana property. The ranch owner soon brought Middy into a partnership & she was an advisor for the 7th Earl of Dunmore, as he planned to invest in the ranching industry. She moved back east after a year or two & lived in Robinvale, New Jersey. She worked as a custodian at the Pennsylvania Railroad station in exchange for free transportation for journalism. In 1884, Middy’s sister Jane moved to the US & the sisters lived together in a house on Staten Island. By this time, Jane was an established painter & sculptor. Middy Morgan died on May 31 1892, due in part to a stockyard accident she was in the year prior. Some of Middy’s belongings have been given to the Metropolitan Museum of NY.

Happy Thanksgiving from all at the Irish American Heritage Museum
11/22/2023

Happy Thanksgiving from all at the Irish American Heritage Museum

Join us tonight at 7pm for a conversation about Irish America with podcast host Martin Nutty. Irish Stew is the podcast ...
11/21/2023

Join us tonight at 7pm for a conversation about Irish America with podcast host Martin Nutty.

Irish Stew is the podcast for the Global Irish Nation, featuring interviews with fascinating influencers proud of their Irish Edge. If you're Irish born or hyphenated Irish, this is the podcast that brings all the Irish together. The podcast is hosted by John Lee and Martin Nutty with production and editorial assistance from Bill Schultz.

Tonight's chat will be a wide ranging conversation about Irish American history, identity, and culture.

  in 1844, judge, politician & poet, James Hilary Mulligan, was born in Lexington, Kentucky.James’ father, Dennis Mullig...
11/21/2023

in 1844, judge, politician & poet, James Hilary Mulligan, was born in Lexington, Kentucky.

James’ father, Dennis Mulligan, was born in Co Longford in 1818. He married Ellen Alice McCoy in Kentucky & became a prominent businessman & Democratic councilman in Lexington. James attended St. Mary’s College in Montreal, Quebec, Canada & spent one year studying in Vannes, France. When he came back to Kentucky, he entered the law office Huston & Downey & was admitted to the bar in 1867. He earned a law degree from Transylvania (formerly ‘Kentucky’) University in 1869 & was then made an official firm partner. The ‘Huston, Downey & Mulligan’ law firm became ‘Huston & Mulligan’ after the death of W.S. Downey.

In 1869, Mulligan married Mary Huston Jackson; they moved into Maxwell Place in Lexington, built by Dennis Mulligan in 1870. It has served as the home of every sitting president at the University of Kentucky since 1918. From 1870-1876, Mulligan served as the judge of the Recorder’s Court of Lexington. The Mulligan’s had 4 children before Mary’s death in 1876; James remarried to Genevieve Morgan Williams in 1881 & they had another 6 children.

Following the death of Mulligan’s law partner, General Huston, in 1881, the firm became ‘Mulligan & Beauchamp.’ That year, Mulligan entered the Kentucky House of Representatives & served for 4 consecutive terms. He was then made a Senator, representing Fayette County, in 1889 for one term. In June 1894, President Grover Cleveland appointed Mulligan as Consul-General to Samoa. While in Samoa, he became friends with Scottish writer, Robert Louis Stevenson. He resigned after 2 years & was appointed as special agent of the treasury department.

While maintaining his career in law, Mulligan also wrote poetry. In 1902, he wrote his most popular poem ‘In Kentucky’ which reportedly appeared on over one million post cards since its publication. He retired from the bench in October 1903 & led a simple quiet life in his Kentucky home. On July 1, 1915, Judge Mulligan died from a stroke at Maxwell Place.

Address

21 Quackenbush Square
Albany, NY
12207

Opening Hours

Wednesday 11am - 4pm
Thursday 11am - 4pm
Friday 11am - 4pm
Saturday 11am - 4pm
Sunday 11am - 4pm

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+15184271916

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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.


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