Patrick Connolly was born in County Offaly, Ireland in 1843. The potato famine (The Great Hunger) raged between 1845-1848. Patrick would have been 2-5 years old during that time. Family lore says that he was the youngest of 17 children. He emigrated to America in 1865 after the American Civil War had ended, at the age of 22. Patrick likely arrived in Manhattan and came through the Castle Garden immigration center.
St. Peter’s Church was the first Catholic church in West Baltimore, and is called the Mother Church of that side of town; rightly so. Thirteen churches resulted from the outreach of the congregation, with St. Martin of Tours being the first.
The Irish Railroad Workers Museum is different from any other. We develop relationships with many of our visitors, and build up our understanding of an immigrant Irish community that began dynamic lives among their own.
The tumultuous days of the Great Hunger brought Ireland's most desperate to the city of Baltimore. These might have been single young adults and siblings, or entire families who had been removed from their ancestral home by landlords who wanted to rid their acreage of poor Irish once and for all.
Perhaps you have spent years enjoying and participating in Baltimore’s Irish dance community, whether through the step dance form commonly seen among the many Irish dance groups of the region, or as part of a set dance group such as the Emerald Isle Club. That’s not the case with this writer, but there has been much to discover as I have interacted with dancers and musicians on the subject.
Today we remember two generations that endured hardship, sacrifice and loss, and yet they persevered. Generations that followed did not quite know about their sacrifices, and many saw no need to bring up the tough times.
Today's issue was inspired by several comments from those who enjoyed knowing about the role "Horse-and-Cart" men played in the care and feeding of our immigrant ancestors. Catholic Irish knew a few things about horses, or lack thereof.