A Special Visit To Mc Sorley’s

The Historic McSorley's Pub

On Saturday October 27th at 10 a.m. New York historian, author and Educator, Geoffrey Cobb will talk about the long and colorful history of this New York landmark and institution. Mr. Cobb recently wrote about the history of this special “Ale House” in Canada’s History. His article discussed the McSorley family history, the pub’s admission of women in 1970, and the many historical figures who have imbibed over the generations in this unique place. He will bring this rich expertise to an intriguing presentation right in the place itself, at McSorley’s Old Ale House, near Third Avenue at 15 East Seventh Street in the East Village. NOTE: This is an exclusive visit for Roundtable members. Proceedings start at 10 A.M.

Opened in 1854 by Irish immigrant John McSorley, this New York City special institution has been voted the best Irish pub in the world outside of Ireland by the Irish Times. Decorated with hundreds of pieces of authentic New York Irish memorabilia, McSorley’s is part alehouse and part history museum.

Unlike other historic New York pubs, McSorley’s has changed little from the 1850s and offers the visitor an unmatched window back into New York’s Irish American past. McSorley’s became an important gathering place for some New York Irish as they discussed and made decisions about winning their place in the city’s political and economic life. For others McSorely’s offered familiarity, friendship and refuge. On its walls and near its bar, artwork, newspapers, memorabilia, polemics, and informal announcements have remained untouched for nearly a dozen decades. For more than a century after its opening, McSorley’s was a “men only” establishment (its motto was “Good Ale, Raw Onions & No Ladies.”) That practice, which received national attention for years, was notably changed in 1970. Ladies are now welcome, and current mottos at McSorley’s include “Be Good or Be Gone” and “We were Here before You Were Born.”

Geoff Cobb is a regular contributor to history publications including New York Irish History and Irish America magazine. He is the author of several books on figures and places important in the history of Brooklyn. A frequent speaker and discussant on the subject of Irish New York, he is a vice president for local history for the New York Irish History Roundtable.

Save The Date

A Special Visit to McSorley’s
Saturday, October 27, 2018, 10 a.m.
Mc Sorley’s Old Ale House
15 East 7th Street, Manhattan
(East of Third Avenue)

Rebel Rossa

On Saturday, Dec.1 at 2 p.m., film maker Williams Cole, great-grandson of O’Donovan Rossa, will present a revealing program and film-showing on the life and times of the 19th-century Irish patriot, and New Yorker. Williams Cole, accomplished documentary producer and director, will introduce and discuss his documentary, Rebel Rossa. A reception will follow. Join us in the McCloskey Meeting Room in the parish house of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, 263 Mulberry Street in Manhattan.

Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa grew up in Co. Cork during the 1830s and 1840s, a period of great suffering in Ireland. As a young man he devoted his life to Irish independence, joining with the Irish Republican Brotherhood in the 1850s. Because of his rebellious political activities, subsequent convictions, and relentless resistance, late in the 1860s he was sentenced to life imprisonment for high treason. Released in 1870 as part of as amnesty agreement, he was exiled to the United States along with John Devoy and other members of the Brotherhood. In New York, Rossa as a member of Clan na Gael and the Fenians, founded The United Irishmen, a newspaper in which he called for using dynamite and armaments in a campaign of terror to win Irish freedom. And he organized some of the first bombings in English cities aimed at gaining that freedom. Rossa also organized the “Skirmishing Fund,” a cash reserve to provide money for armaments used in attacking English targets. Called a madman by his critics, Rossa asked “…why shouldn’t an Irishman be mad when he grows up face to face with the plunderers of his land and race…?” In 1885 Rossa was shot by an Englishwoman in downtown Manhattan because of his activities. While recovering he stated that he had been “wounded in the war.” For the rest of his life he remained staunchly active on behalf of Irish independence. On his death in 1915, his body was returned to Ireland for a funeral procession through the streets of Dublin and burial in Glasnevin Cemetery. The funeral contributed to the Easter Rising the following Spring, and the statement at Rossa’s graveside by Padraic Pearse has become a classic part of the movement for independence in Ireland.

Williams Cole has been producing and directing documentary films for over 15 years. His feature-length credits include Sundance Film Festival premieres like Finding Fela! (2014), 99%—The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film (2013), and the documentary Giuliani Time among other films. Recently he filmed in places like Lebanon, Senegal, India, Thailand and Chile for the Rockefeller Foundation’s “100 Resilient Cities” initiative. He has produced and directed over 60 short documentary profiles of authors for Open Road Integrated Media. He was a Fulbright Scholar at the London School of Economics and a founder of the Brooklyn Rail (www.brooklynrail.org). Rebel Rossa premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh and was broadcast on RTE One.

Save The Date

Rebel Rossa
Williams Cole
Saturday, Dec.1, 2018, 2 p.m.–4 p.m.
Parish House of the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral
263 Mulberry Street, Manhattan

Reception to Follow
Suggested donation: $5.

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