Irish Railroad Workers Museum

Irish Railroad Workers Museum The museum is a historic preservation site that tells the story of the Irish presence in Southwest Baltimore City in the late 1840's, particularly as railroad families who lived in the neighborhood that surrounds the B&O Roundhouse.
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What is the Irish Railroad Workers Museum? The Irish Railroad Workers Museum is a historic site in Baltimore Maryland that celebrates the history of the immense Irish presence in Southwest Baltimore in the late 1840's. The museum officially opened on June 17th, 2002. This site consists of a group of 5 alley houses where the Irish immigrants who worked for the adjoining B&O Railroad lived. Two of the houses, 918 and 920 Lemmon St., are the museum. The Irish Railroad Workers Museum is the centerpiece of a larger historical district that includes the B&O Railroad Museum, St. Peter the Apostle Church, Hollins Market, and St. Peter the Apostle Cemetery. The museum is a project of the Railroad Historical District Corporation, a non-profit organization.

Operating as usual

Our "Big Pivot" issue that described Irish houses brought us this wonderful response: an image from historian John McGra...
01/15/2021

Our "Big Pivot" issue that described Irish houses brought us this wonderful response: an image from historian John McGrain. He told us that "My father went over to visit his grandmother, Mrs. Clooney in Queens County in 1907. I went back and got a photo of the house in 1970. The old family had died out, but the newer owners invited me to lunch. Anybody can get invited to lunch in rural Ireland, even if you are Dracula".

Something great has been happening at the Museum, sort of. Our covid closure in March 2020 caused us to bring the Museum...
01/10/2021

Something great has been happening at the Museum, sort of. Our covid closure in March 2020 caused us to bring the Museum to you via our email series known as the "Big Pivot", and our writings have now had over 30,000 unique opens. One of our most tremendous issues will be coming out tomorrow morning, and we want to invite you to be a part of all this. Add your email address to our list...you can sign up on our web site www.irishshrine.org . This issue will be great, as we are learning about how the City of Baltimore and surrounding regions saved thousands of lives during the Great Hunger...maybe your ancestors and mine. Come join us!

01/04/2021

We welcome 2021 wholeheartedly, and want to let you know about a way to work on a resolution that many have had, and just might finally get around to. Opportunities to learn a bit of the Irish, with the help of "Irish Language Learners" and linguist "Seán Ó Léanacháin" has arrived! We'll do this via Zoom from home... each is a twelve week course. A course for "Virtual Beginners" will start on Wednesday, 2/10 (7:00 p.m.), and two courses for "continuing beginners" will start on Sunday, 2/7 and Monday, 2/8. We'd love to have you...register on our web site www.irishshrine.org .

Irish Railroad Workers Museum's cover photo
01/04/2021

Irish Railroad Workers Museum's cover photo

Irish Railroad Workers Museum's cover photo
12/22/2020

Irish Railroad Workers Museum's cover photo

We invite you to participate in our annual "end-of-year" mailer, as we celebrate the Christmas season and seek to finish...
12/14/2020

We invite you to participate in our annual "end-of-year" mailer, as we celebrate the Christmas season and seek to finish up our year on a positive note, financially speaking. While we cannot gather like we did in 2019, when our new kitchen was celebrated with this Irish Dinner for special friends, we ask that consider how you might help us as we ring out the old year, and ring in a challenging new year. Our Museum will take on big challenges as we develop our footprint, and rely on your help. Click on our "Donate" button, and God bless you.

A Christmas Visit from the modern-day Feeley family, just a few years ago.
12/14/2020

A Christmas Visit from the modern-day Feeley family, just a few years ago.

We invite you to join our successful  Irish Language courses, including a "Virtual Beginners" course and two "Continuing...
12/07/2020

We invite you to join our successful Irish Language courses, including a "Virtual Beginners" course and two "Continuing Beginners" courses for the Spring Semester, 2021. Join linguist "Sean Lanahan" aka John Handy for the Museum's evening ZOOM gatherings on Sunday, Monday or Wednesday evenings: a 12-week semester. Board Member Cecilia Wright will get you set up and comfortable as you continue building Irish language skills via various methods, in a small group setting. Consider gifting someone their tuition! Once you register at www.irishshrine.org , send us an email at [email protected] , telling us mailing information for your gift card; we'll send it to you or them!

We are thankful for the 35 or so ZOOMERS who joined us last Saturday for the presentation on Historic Irish Churches of ...
11/30/2020

We are thankful for the 35 or so ZOOMERS who joined us last Saturday for the presentation on Historic Irish Churches of Baltimore. As per so many of our presentations, the interaction with our friends and their contributions to the conversation are a real highlight. Here are some images of Corpus Christi Church, the all-granite Bolton Hill Church featured in our presentation, and recently visited by Board member Martha Connolly and her singing group, "Larksong".

Irish Railroad Workers Museum's cover photo
11/26/2020

Irish Railroad Workers Museum's cover photo

Please join us on Saturday, November 28 at 11:00 as we remember the Historic Irish Churches of Baltimore, via ZOOM. We'l...
11/23/2020

Please join us on Saturday, November 28 at 11:00 as we remember the Historic Irish Churches of Baltimore, via ZOOM. We'll tell stories of many parishes with a strong Irish element, and just might talk about one of your favorites. That's where you come in; bring your stories with you, and join in what we hope will be a vigorous chat session. Here's your invitation:

Luke McCusker is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Baltimore's Irish Churches of Yesteryear
Time: Saturday Nov 28, 2020 11:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
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Meeting ID: 989 3607 9131
Passcode: 690727
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Boys of St. Martin's School, circa 1910. Thanks to Terry Bussard for sharing this photo.
11/18/2020

Boys of St. Martin's School, circa 1910. Thanks to Terry Bussard for sharing this photo.

Our "Big Pivot" history series continues to go out via email. and we are greatly encouraged. The Museum has received doz...
11/18/2020

Our "Big Pivot" history series continues to go out via email. and we are greatly encouraged. The Museum has received dozens of thank you notes for these stories of the early Irish in Baltimore, and some even print them out and add them to a collection they started...who knew?

Our series will continue this Monday, 11-23 when we share the story of early Irish musicians in Baltimore, titled "Baltimore's Early Irish Fiddlers Do Battle". It's an epic battle between north and south, and between generations...will it arrive in your email in box? If you have not been receiving these, sign up by adding your email address to our list at our web site: www.irishshrine.org . These usually go out once a week...real fun and true, these stories are. You'll find out what fiddler's tunes were being played over 100 years ago in Baltimore. Thankfully, we have new generations perpetuating the genre...thankful for our modern trad Irish musicians.

We thank Southern Methodist UnIversity for sharing this image of the Mount Clare Shops, circa 1872. This view was a dail...
11/02/2020

We thank Southern Methodist UnIversity for sharing this image of the Mount Clare Shops, circa 1872. This view was a daily one for James Feeley, man of the house at 918 Lemmon Street. It is now our Museum home.

We are celebrating James in our 50th issue of our "Big Pivot" series that is sent out to our email list. Hope you are a part of it....sign up at www.irishshrine.org .

A recent "Big Pivot" issue focused in on Denis B. Sweeney and family. They were among the Irish who restored the Baltimo...
10/29/2020

A recent "Big Pivot" issue focused in on Denis B. Sweeney and family. They were among the Irish who restored the Baltimore St. Patrick's Parade to us in 1956.

An Irish Wake, circa 1873...keening, socializing and fun gags by the children.
10/21/2020

An Irish Wake, circa 1873...keening, socializing and fun gags by the children.

We hope you have been following our series of emails that we call “The Big Pivot”. Many have contributed images and stor...
10/06/2020

We hope you have been following our series of emails that we call “The Big Pivot”. Many have contributed images and stories such as this one from Les Town and Jim Murphy:

“Consider this photograph from 1930. Among the gathering of lamplighters (pictured) was William Charles Taylor (1861-1935), shown fourth from the right. This group shot shows us how the fellas got around, and the pole they used to reach the lamps is shown in the foreground. William lived with his family at 107 S. Arlington Ave. in the Hollins Roundhouse neighborhood, with his extended family living along the same block. The photo was a gift for Taylor when he retired from duty with the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company.

Jim Murphy reached out through the Irish grapevine, and told us that his great great grandfather, Charles John Murphy, is fourth from left in this photo of lamplighters (1930). Charles John Murphy was born in 1862 and lived on Valley Street. He was a ward boss and belonged to St. John the Evangelist parish. Charles John Murphy's mother is buried at St. Vincent Cemetery.”

Care to join us? Join our email list at www.irishshrine.org .

We are thankful for the life of Kathi Brooks, former Board member of the Irish Railroad Workers Museum. She is shown her...
10/05/2020

We are thankful for the life of Kathi Brooks, former Board member of the Irish Railroad Workers Museum. She is shown here in Cong, Ireland with her husband Joe with a statue of a couple that I am thinking you just might recognize. It was taken in 2018.
Kathi was a passionate member of Baltimore's history community, and the "go-to" person for the history of Dundalk and North Point. She loved telling the story about the Battle of Baltimore through her relationship with the Dundalk-Patapsco Neck Historical Society, and the formation of Dundalk by the descendants of Henry McShane, a native of Dundalk, Ireland who ran his bell foundry in Baltimore.
Kathi was like some of our relatives; married into a vibrant Irish family and underwent the "conversion experience"...becoming more Irish than the Irish themselves. She maintained an ongoing relationship with our Museum, and joined us for important events until just a few years ago. Her personality was always engaging, and she loved learning important stories and telling them to others. We were fascinated , and always looked forward to our next encounter.
We relied on her input as we did our recent series on Henry McShane and his bell foundry...and her research will be featured in an upcoming writing on the Brooks Family of West Baltimore.

Kathi passed away on September 2...may she have rest.

Lazaretto Point Lighthouse
09/22/2020

Lazaretto Point Lighthouse

Fire Captain James McDonnell (center, front) and crew, circa 1915.
09/22/2020

Fire Captain James McDonnell (center, front) and crew, circa 1915.

A happy Monday morning to you...are you on our email list? A wonderful issue of our "Big Pivot" series is sitting in you...
09/21/2020

A happy Monday morning to you...are you on our email list? A wonderful issue of our "Big Pivot" series is sitting in your inbox...just waiting to fascinate you. Our series is designed to bring our Museum to you, since you can't come to us during these strange days. Friends are sending in some great photos and stories, and we present them for your edification. Be sure to read issue 44...all about "Masons and their Stepping Stones". It's one of the ways that Irish developed skills and moved into the middle class... enjoy and remember. We thank Bryan Hanrahan for his important stone work, and the monuments he created. Enjoy!

Some beautiful changes in the neighborhood! We are rejoicing at the major renovation of the historic St. Peter's School ...
09/14/2020

Some beautiful changes in the neighborhood! We are rejoicing at the major renovation of the historic St. Peter's School by the University of Maryland. They have created a Community Engagement Center from a building that was the third school for an historic Irish parish just north of the Museum. So pleased!

We continue to thrive during these strange days. Thankfully the story of the Irish in America is a rich one, especially ...
08/26/2020

We continue to thrive during these strange days. Thankfully the story of the Irish in America is a rich one, especially in Baltimore. Many thousands came here in the days of the Great Hunger just to survive...they found work in this major transportation center and freedom of religion. They established homes among their own and maintained a vibrant culture within the ethnic neighborhoods of Baltimore. The city's largest Irish neighborhood was a rose among thorns...right in a triangle with Baltimore's most important cemetery, the Penitentiary and a place called Gallows Hill at its edges. We're researching that neighborhood earnestly these days, and will be presenting our findings in our ongoing series that we call "The Big Pivot"....sent to all on our email list. Care to join? Sign up on our web site....www.irishshrine.org . One of our discoveries was this image of Rev. Bernard J. McManus, founding pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church in Baltimore (1853). He was a native of County Roscommon, Ireland and served his congregation for 34 years.

John P. McGowan and friends show off a T-3 series locomotive, on the right. It was built in the Mount Clare Shops of the...
08/14/2020

John P. McGowan and friends show off a T-3 series locomotive, on the right. It was built in the Mount Clare Shops of the B & O Railroad...one of 40 "Mountain" locomotives they built to help win WW II. (John is the 8th man from the right).

We'd love to have you join us this Saturday as Board Member Cecilia Wright presents " Irish Immigrants: Working on the R...
08/11/2020

We'd love to have you join us this Saturday as Board Member Cecilia Wright presents " Irish Immigrants: Working on the Railroad". This ZOOM presentation was a popular event at the Garrett County Celtic Festival...before these strange days came upon us. No matter...same great story, and a wonderful teacher. Here's the ZOOM invite for you....hope you'll join us at 11:00!

Luke McCusker is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Experiences of the Irish Immigrants Working on the Railroad
Time: Saturday, Aug 15, 2020 11:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
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Meeting ID: 950 1474 5104
Passcode: Railroad
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We are thankful for the life of Dr. Mary Ellen Hayward, our Museum Curator. Her gifts and insights are a tremendous part...
08/03/2020

We are thankful for the life of Dr. Mary Ellen Hayward, our Museum Curator. Her gifts and insights are a tremendous part of all that we are, and we will continue to rely on her work each day as we present the Museum to others. It is fitting that a recent post shows our Museum from a heavenly view; it was Mary Ellen who persevered and convinced us that our "standing-seam" metal roof was the right answer. Perhaps we will consider that view as a capstone to her 23 years of caring for our special place. May God bring each of us comfort as we grieve and remember.

Here's a photo and posting from October 15, 2012:

"Our "Irish in the Alleys" presentation was a wonderful experience. Many came to learn about the simple houses that became homes for the immigrant Irish, so many years ago. Mary Ellen Hayward, author and curator of the Irish Railroad Workers Museum, shared with us about her discovery of the Feeley home, and how it came to be rescued and restored as a memorial to those who worked hard and experienced the miracle of a new life in America. Many thanks!"

in loving memory
08/03/2020

in loving memory

In loving memory of Dr. Mary Ellen Hayward. our curator and one of the founders of our beloved Museum. Mary Ellen passed...
08/03/2020

In loving memory of Dr. Mary Ellen Hayward. our curator and one of the founders of our beloved Museum. Mary Ellen passed away on July 25th. May she have rest.

Thanks to each of you who continues your faithful support and encouragement as we work our way through these difficult t...
08/01/2020

Thanks to each of you who continues your faithful support and encouragement as we work our way through these difficult times. This heavenly view of the Museum reminds us to take the long view...we're one day closer to a new beginning!

It's crunch time! We have two seats available for our Zoom online "beginner's course" for the Irish Language. Have you a...
07/28/2020

It's crunch time! We have two seats available for our Zoom online "beginner's course" for the Irish Language. Have you always wanted to, but never have? It's a perfect time; not so much going on in our lives these days, and something to look forward to for the next 10 weeks. Linguist John Handy is leading our third class, and we are confident your experience will be wonderful. The course begins this coming Sunday, August 2. Register on our web site: www.irishshrine.org .

Visitors from Belfast a few years ago, welcomed by Museum board member Conor Donnan.
07/20/2020

Visitors from Belfast a few years ago, welcomed by Museum board member Conor Donnan.

Our Museum Mural, created by Irish artist Patrick Harnett.
07/20/2020

Our Museum Mural, created by Irish artist Patrick Harnett.

We're doing well in gathering brick orders for our next install. Hundreds have ordered a brick to remember a loved one, ...
07/18/2020

We're doing well in gathering brick orders for our next install. Hundreds have ordered a brick to remember a loved one, or a special place or organization in their lives. Care to do the same? Visit our web site to print out the form, and mail it in soon...
http://www.irishshrine.org/BrickOrderForm.pdf

We look forward to Bill Barry's presentation this coming Saturday, July 18 when he presents on the 1877 Railroad Strike....
07/13/2020

We look forward to Bill Barry's presentation this coming Saturday, July 18 when he presents on the 1877 Railroad Strike. Baltimore was front and center as railroaders and their families had just about enough. Cuts in pay for the working man were presented in tandem with stock dividends for the shareholders. The community of workers exploded, and the 'powers-that-be" reacted. Bill has all the details, and considerable experience as a compelling presenter. See you on Zoom at 11:00.

Luke McCusker is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: 1877 Railroad Strike
Time: Saturday Jul 18, 2020 11:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
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Meeting ID: 980 5197 1056
Password: 963397
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918-920 Lemmon St
Baltimore, MD
21223

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Our Story

What is the Irish Railroad Workers Museum? The Irish Railroad Workers Museum is a historic site in Baltimore Maryland that celebrates the history of the immense Irish presence in Southwest Baltimore in the late 1840's. The museum officially opened on June 17th, 2002. This site consists of a group of 5 alley houses where Irish immigrants lived while working for the adjoining B&O Railroad. Two of the houses, 918 and 920 Lemmon St., serve as our Museum, and include the home of James and Sarah Feeley, who lived at 918 Lemmon Street for over twenty years with 6 of their 10 children. The Feeley home has been restored to reflect the lives of the family, and a special room on the second floor displays James Feeley’s perilous journy from County Tipperary to Baltimore. The adjoining house is used for historical displays and presentations that expand our story. The Irish Railroad Workers Museum is the centerpiece of a larger historical district that includes the B&O Railroad Museum, St. Peter the Apostle Church, Hollins Market, and St. Peter the Apostle Cemetery. The museum is a project of the Railroad Historical District Corporation, a non-profit organization.

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Looking for Wayne Schaumburg so that we can continue our discussion from a webinar about a possible Irish Presbyterian church located on Holliday s of Saratoga st. Ref: Elizabeth #Kelso (wife of John Kelso, seaman).
May be of interest to some.
Hey everyone! I hope you are all hanging in there as we all watch History repeat itself! If you’d like to try a new book, there is a new historical novel out by Irish-American author and musician Cahal Dunne. Its called ATHENRY: An odyssey of sacrifice, survival, and love. Anyone with Irish roots may want to take a look. It is set in 1840’s Ireland during the Great Famine, a time also full of injustice for Irish Catholics. If you’d like to check it out, here is a link to the first 18 pages free! http://cahaldunne.com/media/Athenry%20ebook-18pages.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0UsRHy7k9doV6-2pxjAPVqxH3uqKbnCJD6gmg5TmfxAXpb7BOwI8c0SG8 ATHENRY is available on Amazon/Kindle for $8.99 To order the book, go to cahaldunne.com $15 + $4 S&H https://www.facebook.com/100007354332459/videos/2723243464597438/
Northern Ireland's legendary singer, songwriter and peacemaker in a FREE Facebook concert!
Once again I thank you for an excellent e-mail that I received today, They Danced for Erin: Irish Life, with Small and Big Themes". I am not related to the Sweeney family; however, my family lived on the same street (McHenry) and attended the same parish (St. Martins). Again, I greatly appreciate all the e-mails. I learn and understand more of my paternal Irish heritage from each e-mail you send. Mega thanks.
I participated in an event on Sunday(July 5th)at a museum in Fell's Pt. When I posted photos of the event,most of the comments said that they had no interest in visiting or touring a city that allows mobs to destroy public property. This toppling of the Columbus statue is bigger than it appears. The fact that the Italian community has stepped forward to retrieve and repair the statue(for free!),speaks volumes.We might want to think about claiming the O'Donnell statue before it is destroyed too. Great men are flawed because they are human. Martin Luther King was a philanderer and a member of the Communist Party but we remember the GOOD he did. The same should be tolerated about Carroll,Paca,Howard,O'Donnell and Columbus. This is not about slavery or Black lives It is about destroying American history. If you think we are immune,you are wrong.
Silly to some, but just got very excited to discover my granfather's brother, Valentine Russell, living at 926 Lemmon Street! Can't help but wonder if they knew the Feeleys!
Big Pivot Issue VII - High Kings of Baltimore: Walter A. “Buddy” Kratz Jr. - so thrilled with this article - my Irish descendants were Poultry/Produce Hucksters - of course, I loved the entire issue but was especially happy to read about the Irish Baltimore Arabbers! Thank you.
A great program by my friend, Sean Duffy, in Wheeling, WVA, about the Easter Rising
Thank you so much to the volunteers at the museum!! A special thank you to Luke McCusker for his wonderful help in finding some family info on my grandfather John P. McGowan!!!
To everyone at The Irish Railroad Workers Museum: Sincerest thanks for your always unsurpassed hospitality and generosity. On two recent occasions, it has been my humble pleasure to perform at events you hosted, and everyone associated with the museum has gone out of their way to make all of us musicians and dancers feel welcome. So, to Luke McCusker and your great crew -- many thanks for everything. You do wonderful work on behalf of Baltimore's Irish community, and we are all much the better and more educated for it.