Posts Tagged ‘Irish History’

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Legend of Jack-O-Lantern

A Young boy carving a Jack O Lantern Perhaps the single-most-recognizable symbol of the Halloween season is the traditional hollowed out pumpkin carved into a smiling or ominous, illuminated-in-the-dark face. But, “Why,” I’ve often been asked, “is it called a jack-o-lantern?”

While much of what’s known is ambiguous at best, the first widely-accepted mention I can find dates back to the five classes of fairies in Cornish lore: the Small People, the Brownies, the Spriggans, the Buccas, Bockles, or Knockers, and the Piskies. The Piskies went about confusing wary travelers; getting them hopelessly lost and eventually leading them into bogs and moors with a ghostly light called Ignis Fatuus; ‘the foolish fire’. Among the named Piskies were Will-O’-the-Wisp, Joan the Wad, and Jack-O’-Lantern. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Father Fitz: Missionary to the Adirondacks

Rev John FitzgeraldThe Rev. John G. Fitzgerald, or “Father Fitz,” as he was known to contemporaries, was the first resident Roman Catholic priest in Old Forge. He is fondly remembered as a missionary to the widely scattered working people of the region and as a prolific builder of churches. His obituary in 1925 and local histories rightly focus on his time in Old Forge, but Father Fitzgerald had a significant career prior to that. His early assignments reveal a resourceful and energetic clergyman who made an impact across the Adirondacks and North Country. He served the people of northern New York State for a total of 49 years providing faith, culture, and kindness.

John Gerald Fitzgerald was probably born November 19, 1850 in Deptford, Kent, England (now part of Greater London). His parents, Patrick Fitzgerald and Joanna O’Connor, were both born in Ireland. John was educated in Catholic schools in England, namely: Blackheath; Sedgley Park in Wolverhampton; and St. Edmund’s in Ware, Hertfordshire. Records from St. Edmund’s show that a John Fitzgerald attended the school from 1868 until 1871. Soon after, John emigrated to the United States where he attended St. Joseph’s Provincial Seminary in Troy, NY. He was sponsored by the recently established Diocese of Ogdensburg. At seminary, John served as choirmaster and developed what would become a lifelong interest in music. He was ordained at Troy by Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid of Rochester on June 10, 1876. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Irish Fenians In The North Country

fenian meetingToday we would label them a “paramilitary organization.” In the years immediately following the American Civil War, life in the Adirondacks was briefly interrupted by the Fenians, also known as the Fenian Brotherhood.

The Fenian Brotherhood was an Irish Republican organization founded in New York in 1858 by John O’Mahoney. Their name is derived from legends about ancient Irish warriors called the Fianna.

Their goal was an Irish Republic free of British rule. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Irish Military Encampment And Concert Saturday

hair of the dog bandMilitary living historians and authors will cover the grounds of the Hancock House in Ticonderoga on Saturday, August 13 for a day-long event celebrating Irish history. The evening will feature a concert by “Hair of the Dog,” the well-known Celtic band with a large fan base across the United States and Europe. Opening for the band is the popular local trio “Loose Monkeys.”

The afternoon will also include several brief programs highlighting the Irish in the American Civil War and How the Adirondacks worked for Irish Freedom. William L. McKone, author of Vermont’s Irish Rebel – Captain John Lonergan and President of the Fenian Historical Society, will present a program on the Fenians. » Continue Reading.