Category Archives: American Civil War

Epic stories of Irish Emigrants

Writing this blog has led me to keep an eye out for topics that interest me and which may be of interest to those who visit these pages. Many of my family are modern day emigrants who live in far flung places across the globe, so it has been interesting  to discover connections with Irish emigrants of earlier decades and the impact they have had on places where they ended up. So these ‘pioneers’ and ‘trailblazers’ feature on my blog from time to time as I believe they deserve to be better known at home. (See link to Irish People who made a difference page).

annie-moore

The Moore Children Statue at Cobh Co Cork, point of departure for many emigrants from these shores. Annie Moore was the first immigrant processed at Ellis Island, New York  in 1892. (Image thesilvervoice)

Last year Dublin acquired a new  21st Century  interactive visitor experience with the opening of  EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum on Custom House Quay. Dedicated to the millions who left these shores, it celebrates our diaspora in a number of virtual galleries in historic vaults on the bank of the River Liffey. The varied and complex story of the 10 million people who left Ireland over the centuries  and how they changed the world is captured here. Now tens of millions proudly claim a degree of Irish Ancestry. From Grace Kelly the Hollywood actress, to Ned Kelly the Australian outlaw; from Patrick Cleburne, Major General in the Confederate Army of the American Civil War to Admiral William Brown, father of the Argentine Navy; from the poor starving masses who left on famine coffin ships for America to the young so-called ‘Orphan’ girls who were shipped out to Australia to become domestic servants and to marry: It’s all here!

william-brown

Admiral  Brown from Foxford in Mayo, revered in Argentina as father of the Argentine Navy (Image thesilvervoice)

And they went and they made a difference, building and navyying and dying in tunnels in Scotland and England; they fought and they died in wars with Australian and other other armies; they saved lives, they brought expertise, literature, engineering, arts, religion, science,politics and  dedication to every corner of the world. The story of our emigrants is  a rich and a proud one and deserves to be well known.

img_0008EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum and the Irish Independent Newspaper have come together in an exciting project to spread the word about the Irish Emigration experience. A very impressive four part Magazine Supplement will come free with the Friday edition of the newspaper. A further  5 free copies of the magazine will be delivered to every second level school in the country where it is hoped it will be used as a learning aide by students who wish to know more about our people who changed the world.

I was delighted to be asked to contribute a short piece on Dave Gallaher, who left Ramelton in my native Donegal as a young boy and who became world famous as the captain of the first ever All Blacks Rugby team. Last weeks supplement looked at the impact of the Irish abroad.

img_0006

The cover of last week’s magazine supplement

And my piece ..img_0005

The subject of our diaspora and what became of them is dear to my heart. My son writes extensively about the Irish who moved across the Atlantic in their droves in search of better lives and of the impact of that migration on both the modern day United States and the social and financial fallout for family members who stayed behind here in Ireland. He makes the point that we Irish tend to leave the memory of our emigrants at the quayside and that we as a nation do not engage with preserving their memory or celebrating the enormous contribution they made on both sides of the Atlantic. This wonderful collaboration between Irish Independent and EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum will I hope, help change that view that we hold of those who had to leave our shores. We need to be proud of them.
forgotten-irish
References
Wikipedia.
Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under American Civil War, Emigration from Ireland, Ireland, Ireland and the World

Tait’s Clothing Factory: Flowers in the rubble.

In June last there was an ‘Open House’ event in Limerick City, showcasing the historically important Tait’s Clothing Factory, ahead of the redevelopment of the site, to provide much needed housing in this part of the city.

The site today

The site today

It was a great honour to stroll through this significant industrial heritage site of international importance. Opened in 1853, the clothing factory became the biggest clothing manufacturer in the world, supplying military uniforms to the British Army,the Canadian Volunteer Militia and to the Confederates in the American Civil War. Many hundreds of Limerick men and women were employed here, up to the time it closed in 1975.

Sir Peter Tait was born in Lerwick Scotland in the early 19th Century and arrived in Limerick to join his sister in 1838. He was an astute and successful business person who became Mayor of Limerick in  three successive years from 1866 to 1868. During his thirty years in the city Peter Tait provided employment to hundreds of people who serviced contracts for military uniforms.

On the day of my visit,at first sight, it appeared to be a desolate site, but on closer inspection I was pleased to see an abundance of wildflowers amid the rubble. I was struck by the similarities with the poppy fields of the world war battlefields, and could not help but think of these beautiful wildflowers as a testament to the men and women who sewed and stitched the uniforms that went to the Crimea and to the United States, many of which became shrouds for their unfortunate wearers.

These are a few of my snaps in memory of all of them. Tomorrow in Limerick, as part of Heritage Week, there will be a day long seminar on Tait’s Clothing Factory,past and future, entitled  ‘A Testament to Time’. These wildflowers are a testament to all those whose lives were affected by the work carried out here.

17 Comments

Filed under American Civil War, Ireland, Ireland and the World, Irish at War, Irish Diaspora, Social History Ireland

Tipperary Remembrance Trust – Annual Remembrance 2013

It was a great privilege to take part in the Tipperary Remembrance Trust annual  remembrance over the last weekend in September.

DSCF2585The Tipperary Remembrance Trust was founded to commemorate Irish men and women who have  sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom and peace  across the world. To this end they have reclaimed and restored a portico from the officers Mess and living quarters from the Tipperary Military Barracks, built in the 1870’s. At one time there were up to 10,000 troops stationed in Tipperary Town and the military  presence had a big influence on the town.

DSCF2618The weekend kicked off with a most enjoyable dinner at the Aherlow House Hotel, beautifully located in the fabulous Glen of Aherlow,overlooked by the majestic Galtee Mountains. Damian Shiels, author of The Irish in the American Civil War delivered the after-dinner speech on the forgotten Irish who fought and died or were maimed in the shaping of the United States of America that we know today.

Guests of Honour at the dinner /commemoration were

Lt.Col Conor Burke, Irish Defence Forces

General David The O’Morchoe (Ret) C.B . C.B.E., President of the Royal British Legion Republic of Ireland

Sqdn Leader Susie Barnes Defence Attaché New Zealand Defence Forces

Liet. Col. Sean Cosden Defence Attaché U.S.A Defence Forces

Lieut Col. Sean English Defence Attaché United Kingdom Defence Forces

Liet. Col. Jean Trudel Defence Attaché Canadian Defence Forces

Group Capt. Peter Wood, Defence Attaché Australian Defence Forces

Lieut Col. Conor Burke, Irish Defence Forces

Guy Jones Irish Lebanese Cultural Foundation

William Kane Irish U.N Veterans Association

On Sunday morning we gathered at St Mary’s Church in John Street, Tipperary,once the Garrison Church of the town and sadly now in need of maintenance. This Church has a stunning stained glass window, erected to the memory of 3 members of one family who died within months of each other in 1916. Also in this church is a plaque in memory of  39 Abbey Boys – pupils of the local Abbey School – who lost their lives in the  First World War.The Rector,Rev. Browen Carling with Fr  Dan McCarthy Chaplain to the Defence Forces,conducted a most edifying service in remembrance of Irish soldiers who have died in conflicts, serving with our own or other forces, across the world.

St Bridget’s Pipe Band then led a procession from the Church to the Remembrance Arch ,about 1 km away, for a wreath laying ceremony

The ceremony was very moving, especially of course at the sounding of the Last Post, always an emotional moment,and again when  a Lone Piper piped ‘Going Home’  .

It was so good to see the Military Attachees from other countries – many of whom visited Ireland specifically for this ceremony – honour our dead Irish soldiers by laying wreaths.

Mick Haslam, as the ‘face’ of the Tipperary Remembrance Trust has done excellent work in setting up, planning, organizing and implementing these annual commemorations. Huge thanks are due to him for his trojan work. I love these pictures of him at the ceremony, raising the Irish Flag from half-mast. The memory of our  countrymen, who have given their lives for peace on this planet,has been in a safe pair of hands.

It was a privilege to have been there.

Further information:

The History of Tipperary Barracks

The Abbey Boys, TipperaryTown

Tipperary Remembrance Trust

David, The O’Morchoe CB, CBE 

Damian Shiels, Author, Conflict Archaeologist,PhD Scholar,Blogger

 

12 Comments

October 7, 2013 · 10:05 pm

Heritage Week: Dear Father and Mother

There are so many aspects of Heritage to celebrate in Ireland during this Heritage Week August 17th to 25th. So, where to begin? We are surrounded by heritage in the form of ancient  buildings, historic sites, splendid gardens, magnificent scenery, an extraordinary literary and musical tradition, fascinating museums and monuments that commemorate major events in our history. All of these can be experienced, commemorated, celebrated  here in hundreds of locations throughout the country.

There is another part of our legacy, less obvious, less visible,  and most certainly less well-known than it deserves to be, and which may well be overlooked during this week of celebration of  the richness and diversity of our culture and inheritance. It is because the greatest memory and the main monuments are not in our country at all,but  thousands of miles offshore, and far removed from our consciousness. Emigration has been a fact of  Irish life  in one form or another  through the ages. Of the millions who have left these shores – many in tragic circumstances, many not – most have gone on to live relatively ordinary lives in their new countries. There is a substantial number however, who went on to lead extraordinary lives  by being significant participants in both sides of the conflict that shaped the ‘greatest nation on earth’ – America. During the American Civil War  170,000 of our  Irish-born  emigrants played a major role in this conflict – they suffered and they died in their tens of thousands. Their sacrifice goes largely unrecognised  in the country of their birth, and they certainly do not spring to mind in Heritage Week.

Clogheen, Co Tipperary. It was from countryside near here that William left home  for a new life in America. Image Wikimedia Commons

Clogheen, Co Tipperary. It was from countryside near here that William left home for a new life in America. Image Wikimedia Commons

This week when thinking about Heritage Week and how to mark it, I read an amazing story of an ordinary young  boy who left family and Ireland for America at 16 years of age.  Ed O’Riordan, a Tipperary Historian and Damian Shiels, author of Irish in the American Civil War have collaborated to bring the story of  a young emigrant William Hickey, to a wider audience, through a series of very moving letters that William wrote to his parents in Tipperary.  Imagine the feelings of the parents on seeing an envelope from America! William Hickey’s short life  in a foreign land  is very much a part of our legacy and this is an appropriate week  to acknowledge his life and the sacrifice of so many men, women and children who were born here and who changed the shape of the world often at a shocking  cost to themselves and their families. They surely are our ‘hidden heritage’.

A number of enthusiasts have set up a group to further the cause of  having a permanent memorial to these Irish emigrant. They hope too to develop  a tourist trail in Ireland of interest especially to overseas visitors, most especially those from USA who know more about these Irishmen that we do at home. To quote from their site, as President John F Kennedy said   ‘A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honours, the men it remembers’. In this Heritage Week, we remember them.

The full text of the very moving story of  William Hickey, who at age 16 emigrated to America from his Tipperary home, can be seen here. The post includes a number of  letters from William to his parents. A few short years after he emigrated he lay dead in a field at Shiloh in Tennessee.

More information on the Irish American Civil War Trail can be seen here.

With thanks to The Irish in the American Civil War blog which can be accessed here.

8 Comments

Filed under American Civil War, Emigration from Ireland, Family History, Genealogy, Ireland, Irish American, Irish Culture, Irish Diaspora, Irish Heritage, Irish History

Irish Examiner Feature: Remembering the Irish Lost at Gettysburg

A voice for the Irish Diaspora , many of whom fled the suffering and dying in Famine ravaged Ireland only to find themselves suffering and dying in their adopted land. These emigrants  helped forge one of the most influential countries on earth.

The newspaper article can be read here

 

 

Irish in the American Civil War

As many regular readers of the site will know I have been campaigning for some time (along with colleagues) to see greater recognition in Ireland of the cost of the American Civil War to the Irish community. It was the second biggest conflict in terms of numbers in which Irishmen served in uniform, yet we have no memorial. Despite repeated efforts the State has failed to take any steps to acknowledge the 150th anniversary of this important event in Irish history. As I have said before, I find the official apathy with which we seem to regard the Irish role in this conflict at odds with the consistent promotion of ‘The Gathering‘, aimed at welcoming the diaspora home to Ireland. I strongly believe that more than simply inviting the diaspora home we have an obligation to embrace our diaspora’s history and acknowledge that it is a central part…

View original post 112 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under American Civil War, Emigration from Ireland, Irish American, Irish Diaspora, Irish History, Irish_American, Social History Ireland

Stamp Your Mark on Irish Commemoration of the American Civil War

As events commemorating the  150th Anniversary of the American Civil War continue  into 2015, there is still an opportunity for Ireland to recognize the enormous contribution of tens of thousands of Irishmen who gave their lives, limbs  hearts and minds in this conflict. A commemorative stamp would be a fitting tribute and as An Post are looking for suggestions for a commemorative issue, would you like to make this suggestion by filling in their form here ? It will only take a few minutes!

Read more on this in the repressed item from Irish in the  American Civil War blog

Stamp Your Mark on Irish Commemoration of the American Civil War.

 

2 Comments

January 27, 2013 · 9:35 pm

The Great Famine: Irish Relief Funds

When the Irish were starving to death in the Great Famine, there were concentrated efforts in other countries to bring relief to the suffering here at home. This blog post outlines some results of efforts made across the world but most particularly in the ranks of the Union military in the American Civil War.

Irish in the American Civil War

In 1863, Ireland was on the brink of famine. Poor harvests for three consecutive years had left many destitute, and disaster loomed. In response to the threat, relief committees that had previously been established to channel funds to assist the worst afflicted areas were reactivated. The large Irish population in the United States, many of whom were Famine victims themselves, were not to be found wanting in coming to the assistance of those at home. The cause was championed by the leaders of Irish-American communities, and soon Irish Relief Funds emerged across the war-stricken North.

Irish soldiers were also quick to put their hands in their pockets to help out those less fortunate. Irishmen in the British army of India collected rupees for the appeal, while those soldiers stationed in Shanghai, China sent on £108 sterling. The Irishmen in Union blue were no different to their red-coated brethren. Even…

View original post 1,461 more words

2 Comments

Filed under American Civil War, Emigration from Ireland, Irish American, Irish Australian, Irish Diaspora, Irish History, Irish_American, Social History Ireland