A Wee Bit o’ Ireland in America

By Patricia McMorrow Premium


Boston Irish Famine Memorial

Bronze statues salute the 4 million Irish who died or left home during the Great Famine. Washington and School streets, Boston, MA02111

John F. Kennedy Library

Stunning I.M. Pei-designed building approaches the Kennedy legacy from many points of view. Columbia Point, Boston, MA 02125; (617) 929-4500

New England Historic Genealogical Society

For a $10 daily fee, you can sift through 150,000 volumes and 10,000 rolls of microfilm records. The group also sponsors regular getting-started in genealogy courses. 101 Newbury St. Boston, MA 02116; (617) 536-5740

John F. Kennedy National Historic Site

See JFK’s birthplace in Brookline, Mass., and get more perspective on the complicated lives of Rose and Joe Kennedy and their nine children. 83 Beals St., Brookline, MA 02446; (617) 566-7937


Irish American Heritage Center

Besides housing a pub and a theater, the center’s collection includes a copy of the Book of Kells and a tapestry created by Yeats’ sister, Lily. 4626 N Knox Ave., Chicago, IL 60630; (773) 282-7035

Threads of Ireland Tour

Spring and summer half-day bus tours by the Chicago Office of Tourism wind through Bridgeport, the Gold Coast and Old St. Patrick’s Church. (312) 742-1190

St. Patrick’s Day Parades

The mega-parade, for which the Chicago River gets dyed green, winds downtown on March 17. The “alternative” South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the Sunday before St. Pat’s, along Western Avenue between 103rd and 113th streets.

New York City

American Irish Historical Society

Century-old group that keeps track of the Irish chapters in American history. 991 5th Ave., New York, NY 10028; (212) 288-2263

Irish Repertory Theatre

Two stages in a Chelsea building feature the works of Irish and Irish-American playwrights. 132 W 22nd St., New York, NY 10011; (212) 727-2737

Emerald Isle Immigration Center of New York

Non-profit center that helps Irish immigrants transition to life in the United States. Queens Office: 59-26 Woodside Ave., Woodside, NY 11377; (718) 478-5502. Bronx Office: 280 East 236th St, Bronx, NY 10470; (718) 324-3039

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

It’s grand. No matter the weather, the parade begins March 17 at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 44th Street, heads north to 86th Street.

To learn more

Center for Irish Studies

This internationally renowned, nonsectarian, nonpolitical organization based at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., explores Irish culture via educational programs, research, publications and support of the arts in Ireland. 2115 Summit Ave., #5008, St. Paul, MN 55105; (651) 962-5662

Green screenings

New at the movies

Angela’s Ashes (1999) — Neither Emily Watson nor Robert Carlyle is Irish, and Rosie O’Donnell lost the race to play Frank McCourt’s mother. But if the movie does half as well as the book, it will be a blockbuster.

New on video

This Is My Father (1998) — James Caan plays a Midwestern high school teacher who goes to Ireland to track down his father. Aidan Quinn plays the mysterious father in flashback.

Dancing at Lughnasa (1998) — Meryl Streep mastered a brogue in the movie version of the Tony Award-winning play about sisters living in dignified poverty in Ireland in the 1930s.

The General (1998) — Director John Boorman chronicles the notorious life of Dublin gangster Martin Cahill (Brendan Glee-son). Jon Voight co-stars.

Waking Ned Devine (1998) — A whole Irish village gets involved in a get-rich scheme when a resident dies before collecting his lottery winnings.

Also on video

The Boxer (1997) — Daniel Day-Lewis plays a former boxer and IRA man who tries to turn a Belfast gym into a demilitarized zone.

The Butcher Boy (1997) — A disturbing Neil Jordan movie about a 12-year-old boy (Eamonn Owens) in 1960s Ireland who can’t control his rage.

The Devil’s Own (1997) — Brad Pitt and Harrison Ford play IRA terrorist and Irish-American cop, respectively.

The Van (1996) — Two Irishmen sell fish and chips out of a rundown van during the 1990 World Cup soccer tournament.

The Brothers McMullen (1995) — Ed Burns got on the Hollywood scoreboard with his story of three Irish-American brothers dealing with the curse of Catholic guilt.

Circle of Friends (1995) — Maeve Binchy’s tale of college life in 1950s Ireland stars Minnie Driver and Chris O’Donnell.

In the Name of the Father (1993) — Daniel Day-Lewis plays an Irishman falsely convicted of bombing a pub.

The Snapper (1993) — Colin Meaney is the head of an Irish household dealing with his teen daughter’s surprise pregnancy.

Far and Away (1992) — Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman pose as brother and sister who emigrate from Ireland and ride west in search of free land.

The Crying Game (1992) — Stephen Rea gets a giant screen surprise in an otherwise-serious movie about The Troubles.

The Commitments (1991) — A northern Dublin rock band turns to soul. You can’t get the tunes out of your head.
From the January 2000 issue of Family Tree Magazine.