BIR History

The tragic wrecking at sea of the Brig St. John 169 years ago is an event that resonates especially in 2018 with America tearing along its political, racial, ethnic, and religious seams. The catastrophe engulfed desperate Boston-bound immigrants off the... Read more
On Aug. 10, 1890, stunning news spread through Boston and across the nation: John Boyle O’Reilly was dead at the age of 46. During that summer, exhaustion had plagued this seemingly indefatigable man. While serving as a judge at the National Irish... Read more
This month marks the 155th anniversary of a controversial and violent chapter in Boston’s annals. In July 1863, in the middle of the Civil War, the city’s Irish ignited draft riots when they rose up in rage against the class and ethnic unfairness of the... Read more
Immigrant Col. Thomas Cass and his fellow Boston Irishmen proved they would readily fight and die to protect the union BY PETER F. STEVENS BIR STAFF In American military annals, “the Fighting 69th” New York Regiment is steeped in legend. Comprised... Read more
For the Boston Pilot, April resonates with history. For the Boston Marathon, held each Patriots Day, this April brings a mystery that remains unresolved. Irish Americans loom at the center of both milestones. Rescuing the Pilot from Ruin In 1876, John... Read more
When it comes to the immigrants of yesteryear – especially Irish immigrants to America’s shores –historical distortions and outright lies abound. A huge number of Irish Americans refuse to accept any comparisons between their sacred ancestors from the... Read more
Second of Two Parts It was Jan. 16, 1908, and the ambulance had clattered to a stop at the Relief Station Hospital (part of the old Boston City Hospital) on Harrison Avenue. Inside, Boston Police Patrolman John T. Lynch hovered between life and death.... Read more
On Jan. 16, 1908, BPD officer Lynch made the ultimate sacrifice First of two-parts “For God’s sake, keep him away and don’t let him shoot me again!” shouted Patrolman John T. Lynch at Officer John P. Doyle, who had rushed across icy, snow-cloaked Arch... Read more
BY PETER F. STEVENS BIR STAFF At the moment that Martin J. Walsh took his second oath of office as Boston’s mayor on New Year's Day, he further entrenches his status in the long line of Boston Irishman to hold the office. It was 115 years ago, Jan. 4,... Read more
They were vastly different men in many ways, but in their inimitable ways, they shared a bottomless love of their native Ireland. Martin McGuinness was an IRA commander turned peacemaker. Frank Delaney was a journalist, broadcaster, and, above all, a... Read more
Second of four parts “Black ‘47” – just two words at first glance. In all of Ireland’s history, however, few phrases resonate with such horror. As peasant families in all corners of Ireland struggled to survive in the winter of 1846-47, desperate men,... Read more
Dorchester Heights Whether one calls March 17th “St. Patrick’s Day” or “Evacuation Day,” the Irish can lay claim to both celebrations. Many men bearing surnames of “the old sod” were nestled behind bristling cannons that peered down from Dorchester... Read more
There is no denying that the event is literally part of Boston’s turf – that’s not a point of view, but a simple fact. At the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast in South Boston, state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry will once again command center stage at the... Read more
There is no denying that the event is literally part of Boston’s turf – that’s not a point of view, but a simple fact. At the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast in South Boston, state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry will once again command center stage at the... Read more
The nightmare of the 2016 presidential election will soon end. A distressing question will linger amid the political ashes on Nov. 9: Will there be an even worse nightmare to follow? As of this writing, the political pundits and cognoscenti proclaim... Read more
The first 2016 presidential “debate” – more World Wrestling Federation than political discourse – is history. If recent past is prologue, Hillary vs. Trump II and III will decide whether or not a Nativist candidate will take up residence at 1600... Read more
By Peter F. Stevens BIR Staff In politics, the word “pivot” evokes breathless excitement in the media. Now, the “Trump pivot” draws nigh, his acolytes and witting or unwitting political pundits salivating that they can pretty up the Pompadoured One and... Read more
The Glasnevin Cemetery Trust and Tourism Ireland is proud of an array of new features, tours, and sites that have made Glasnevin Cemetery one of Dublin’s most popular tourist destinations. At a meeting held recently at the Boston College Club in Boston... Read more
“The Immortal Irishman,” indeed. Some lives splash across a larger-than-life canvas. Such a saga is that of Thomas Francis Meagher. In the finely wrought new biography “The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero,”... Read more
Any of the 40 million or so Americans who have ancestral or immediate family ties to Ireland certainly want both the US and Ireland to prosper. As I wrote in December, though, there has to be a better way than one-sided corporate inversions, one that is... Read more

Pages