Boston has long been associated with Irish-American heritage. Irish immigration to Boston dates back to the 1700’s and continues to this day. One of the best ways to experience Irish-American culture in Boston is to tour at least some of the sites on the Irish Heritage Trail. Altogether, there are 70 sites in Boston and surrounding neighborhoods. The Boston Irish Tourism Association offers guided tours of the Trail, as well as many other valuable resources. Below is a list of five of the top landmarks you’ll find along the Trail within the city of Boston.
1. Rose Kennedy Garden
This garden pays homage to the mother of the late President Kennedy. The garden was formally unveiled by Boston officials to honor Mrs. Kennedy in 1987. The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway was dedicated in 2004. Both of these landmarks serve as a testimony to the Kennedys’ legacy.
2. Boston City Hall
City Hall is an important part of Boston’s Irish landscape due to the large number of Irish and Irish-American mayors who have served. Hugh O’Brien was the first Irish mayor in 1885. The next Irish-born mayor was Patrick Collins, who began his term in 1902.
3. Boston Irish Famine Memorial
At the height of the Famine, Boston became home to 100,000 new Irish immigrants. The memorial was expertly designed by Robert Shure and made public in 1998. Twin statues serve as a testament to the refugees. A series of eight plaques tell the story behind the Famine.
4. Old Granary Burying Grounds
Many are unaware of the fact that several important non-Catholic Irish are buried here. John Hancock and Robert Treat Paine, signers of the Declaration of Independence, are buried here. Patrick Carr, a Boston Massacre victim, is here, as is Governor James Sullivan.
5. Boston Public Library
This is the oldest public library in the U.S., founded in 1848. The library has an Irish collection that is comprised of over 13,000 items. Many are rare. The collection includes books, photos, microfilms of newspapers, and sheet music.
These are just a few of the historic sites found on the Irish Heritage Trail. If you’ve never been to Boston, these are certainly worthwhile places for you to see. Even if you’re from the area, you might just develop a new appreciation for these places.