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Bronze statue of a crouching man at the end of a long jump, and there’s two kids running by the statue. Boston Globe via Getty Images

Boston Irish heritage sites, mapped

These stops include the JFK library and museum and the Irish famine memorial as well as lesser-known sites such as a largely unmarked mass burial ground

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Memorials, monuments, and other reminders of the influence of the Irish and Irish-Americans pepper Boston. And why not? The city was a major disembarkation point for Irish immigrants throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, and remains a locus of the Irish diaspora today.

Here is a map of 11 of those key heritage sites, for St. Patrick’s Day and beyond.

The sites include obvious pilgrimages such as the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum (which marked a major milestone in 2019) and the Irish Famine Memorial, but also lesser-known ones such as a largely unmarked mass burial ground off the city’s coast and a testament to the Navy’s first commissioned officer.

[Sources: Irish Heritage Trail; Boston Art Commission]

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1. Bunker Hill Catholic Cemetery

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303 Bunker Hill St
Boston, MA 02129

This cemetery was immensely controversial when it opened in the 1830s. Protestant residents and officials in Charlestown did not want Irish-Catholics buried near the sacrosanct Revolutionary War battle site, even on private land (the bishop of Boston had bought the acreage).

It’s now closed to the general public but visible nonetheless.

2. Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy birthplace

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4 Garden Ct St
Boston, MA 02113

The daughter of a Boston mayor and the mother of a U.S. president—and the namesake of the famed ribbon of parkland in downtown Boston—was born at this North End address in 1890.

A placard on a brick building explaining the significance of the building. Flickr

3. Irish Famine Memorial

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The memorial commemorates the famine that started in 1845, and led to not only hundreds of thousands of deaths, but to a mass emigration to the United States.

Two sets of statue pedestals in a public square, with people on each pedestal in obvious distress. Shutterstock

4. Commodore John Barry Monument

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141 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02111

The Irish-born John Barry (County Wexford, to be exact) was the first commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy, having served during the Revolution.

This monument is located in Boston Common, where Temple Place meets Tremont Street.

5. Thomas Cass Statue

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Born in Queen’s County, Ireland (now County Laois), Cass saw extensive action in the Civil War, rising to colonel and dying in Boston of wounds sustained in the Battle of Malvern Hill in Virginia.

Unveiled in 1899, this statue is located on the Boylston Street Mall of the Public Garden.

6. Patrick Collins Statue

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Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02116

The memorial commemorates Boston’s second Ireland-born mayor, and includes a description of his rise from upholster to Harvard Law grad to Congress to City Hall. (Interestingly, there does not seem to be a similar memorial to Hugh O’Brien, the city’s first Ireland-born mayor.)

The Collins bust is located along the Commonwealth Avenue Mall between Clarendon and Dartmouth streets.

7. Deer Island

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Deer Island
Boston, MA 02152

More than 800 Irish immigrants died at the quarantine station on Deer Island in the mid-19th century and are buried there.

An oddly fascinating wastewater treatment plant dominates the island now, but there is a marker delineating the cemetery.

An expanse of grass with a blue-gray harbor in the distance. Shutterstock

8. John Boyle O’Reilly Monument

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This monument commemorates the Irish resistance leader and later U.S. journalist who emigrated to Boston (via British banishment to Western Australia).

Daniel Chester French, most famous for his statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial, sculpted O’Reilly’s monument. It is near the intersection of Fenway and Boylston Street.

9. Hibernian Hall

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184 Dudley St
Boston, MA 02119
(617) 541-3900
Visit Website

For decades after its 1913 opening, the hall served as a hub of Irish-American life in Boston. It was nearly demolished in 1997, but remains as an arts center in Roxbury.

A boxy, four-story brick building. Tim Pierce/Wikipedia

10. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

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Columbia Point
Boston, MA 02125
(617) 514-1600
Visit Website

The official presidential library dedicated to the only U.S. president of predominantly Irish descent is located next to the University of Massachusetts-Boston’s main campus.

The I.M. Pei-designed complex is one of multitudes of JFK-related sites and shrines in Boston and the surrounding area.

A modern building housing the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum on Boston’s waterfront. Shutterstock

11. James Brendan Connolly Monument

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100 William T Morrissey Blvd
Boston, MA 02125

The Columbus Park monument honors Connolly, who was the first Olympic champion—today’s equivalent of gold medalist—from Boston.

He won in the 1896 Games, the first of the modern era, for the triple jump. Hence the monument’s design of a Connolly sticking the landing of a jump.

It is located at the intersection of Mount Vernon Street and Old Colony Avenue.

Bronze statue of a crouching man at the end of a long jump, and there’s two kids running by the statue. Boston Globe via Getty Images

1. Bunker Hill Catholic Cemetery

303 Bunker Hill St, Boston, MA 02129

This cemetery was immensely controversial when it opened in the 1830s. Protestant residents and officials in Charlestown did not want Irish-Catholics buried near the sacrosanct Revolutionary War battle site, even on private land (the bishop of Boston had bought the acreage).

It’s now closed to the general public but visible nonetheless.

303 Bunker Hill St
Boston, MA 02129

2. Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy birthplace

4 Garden Ct St, Boston, MA 02113
A placard on a brick building explaining the significance of the building. Flickr

The daughter of a Boston mayor and the mother of a U.S. president—and the namesake of the famed ribbon of parkland in downtown Boston—was born at this North End address in 1890.

4 Garden Ct St
Boston, MA 02113

3. Irish Famine Memorial

Boston, MA 02108
Two sets of statue pedestals in a public square, with people on each pedestal in obvious distress. Shutterstock

The memorial commemorates the famine that started in 1845, and led to not only hundreds of thousands of deaths, but to a mass emigration to the United States.

4. Commodore John Barry Monument

141 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02111

The Irish-born John Barry (County Wexford, to be exact) was the first commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy, having served during the Revolution.

This monument is located in Boston Common, where Temple Place meets Tremont Street.

141 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02111

5. Thomas Cass Statue

Boston, MA 02116

Born in Queen’s County, Ireland (now County Laois), Cass saw extensive action in the Civil War, rising to colonel and dying in Boston of wounds sustained in the Battle of Malvern Hill in Virginia.

Unveiled in 1899, this statue is located on the Boylston Street Mall of the Public Garden.

6. Patrick Collins Statue

Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

The memorial commemorates Boston’s second Ireland-born mayor, and includes a description of his rise from upholster to Harvard Law grad to Congress to City Hall. (Interestingly, there does not seem to be a similar memorial to Hugh O’Brien, the city’s first Ireland-born mayor.)

The Collins bust is located along the Commonwealth Avenue Mall between Clarendon and Dartmouth streets.

Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02116

7. Deer Island

Deer Island, Boston, MA 02152
An expanse of grass with a blue-gray harbor in the distance. Shutterstock

More than 800 Irish immigrants died at the quarantine station on Deer Island in the mid-19th century and are buried there.

An oddly fascinating wastewater treatment plant dominates the island now, but there is a marker delineating the cemetery.

Deer Island
Boston, MA 02152

8. John Boyle O’Reilly Monument

Boston, MA 02215

This monument commemorates the Irish resistance leader and later U.S. journalist who emigrated to Boston (via British banishment to Western Australia).

Daniel Chester French, most famous for his statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial, sculpted O’Reilly’s monument. It is near the intersection of Fenway and Boylston Street.

9. Hibernian Hall

184 Dudley St, Boston, MA 02119
A boxy, four-story brick building. Tim Pierce/Wikipedia

For decades after its 1913 opening, the hall served as a hub of Irish-American life in Boston. It was nearly demolished in 1997, but remains as an arts center in Roxbury.

184 Dudley St
Boston, MA 02119

10. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Columbia Point, Boston, MA 02125
A modern building housing the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum on Boston’s waterfront. Shutterstock

The official presidential library dedicated to the only U.S. president of predominantly Irish descent is located next to the University of Massachusetts-Boston’s main campus.

The I.M. Pei-designed complex is one of multitudes of JFK-related sites and shrines in Boston and the surrounding area.

Columbia Point
Boston, MA 02125

11. James Brendan Connolly Monument

100 William T Morrissey Blvd, Boston, MA 02125
Bronze statue of a crouching man at the end of a long jump, and there’s two kids running by the statue. Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Columbus Park monument honors Connolly, who was the first Olympic champion—today’s equivalent of gold medalist—from Boston.

He won in the 1896 Games, the first of the modern era, for the triple jump. Hence the monument’s design of a Connolly sticking the landing of a jump.

It is located at the intersection of Mount Vernon Street and Old Colony Avenue.

100 William T Morrissey Blvd
Boston, MA 02125