Boston’s Irish Heritage Trail

One of the great things about being in a an older city is that you can’t walk more than three feet without bumping into something historic. The Irish Heritage Trail consists of several memorials, statues, or places that illustrate the Irish influence on the city’s history.

The trail starts between Quincy Market and Long Wharf with a green area that has several fountains called the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Unfortunately there were way to many small children cavorting about to take any pictures, so suffice to say it was green. There you go.

On the other side of the market were several statues of Boston mayors, including this one of Kevin White, who has the most enormous hands and feet of any statue I have ever laid eyes on.

The next few stops include Boston City Hall and a poignant memorial of the Irish Famine.

The plaques that surround the two statues (there is another of a family of young children) are what makes the memorial, though:

The same could be said of the lessons learned from war, deprivation, different government systems, etc. Anyway, on a brighter note, the next area was…

The cemetery! Well, okay, it was brighter physically, but not philosophically. Anyway, the Granary Burying Grounds holds some very interesting people: Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine, some of the victims of the Boston Massacre, the original Mother Goose, and more.

The gravestones are all in a line because they were rearranged to look nicer years after most people were buried there. The inscriptions on the stones can still be read, and the designs on them are just as interesting as the people buried there. I know, who knew the superstitious Batscapades would be hanging out in so many cemeteries?

One of the cooler memorials was the Colonel Robert Shaw memorial, which depicts black infantry soldiers from the Civil War. My friend and I actually saw this and thought it was interesting enough to stop at several days before I walked this Heritage trail; that should tell you how large and cool-looking it is.

The next several places were on the southern edge of Boston Common; the one I was most interested in was the Boston Massacre monument. For the history lesson of the day, the Boston Massacre was precipitated by rising tensions against British soldiers stationed in Boston during the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War. Several hecklers were hassling a British soldier (because what else do hecklers do?) and he wound up hitting one of them. Eventually, a large crowd built up and more British soldiers joined the show; the soldiers got fed up and after one was hit by a rock, they fired into the crowd. Eleven people were hit; five of them died.

The trail leads to another burying grounds after this which contains, you guessed it, even more gravestones. The trail said this one was locked, but it is in fact open during the day, and contains the only gravestones with Celtic crosses in Boston.

This next picture is here because Thomas Cass looks so stoic in his statue, like a Wild West legend that’s seen too many adventures. Or a Civil War Colonel who’s seen too many battles.

The next two statues involved a walk along the Charles River, after which a detour brought me to a public park outside the Boston Public Library.

For the record, what kind of large city library is closed on a Sunday? The only day I was near the library happened to be the day it was closed. Two statues of an artist and a mayor hide outside the library, as well as a lovely public fountain that seemed to be pretty popular for families to play in.

The trail ends at Fenway Park near the Back Bay Fens (which is a story for another time). All in all, it was a pretty fun walk that I did in several segments while I was doing other walks, and it’s fun to read up on the trail’s website here why all of these stops are so important to Irish history.


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