Past Events

Below are Past Events of the
New York Irish History Roundtable.


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.

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.

Water And Ice: The Irish Victims

On Saturday, March 3 at 2 p.m., historian Art Mattson will tell the story of terrible shipwrecks in the 1830s that resulted in the deaths of over 200 immigrants just outside the port of New York. Most victims were Irish, many of them women and children drawn to the freedoms and expanding opportunities in America. They had chosen to cross the Atlantic during a treacherous sailing season. And they almost succeeded. This program will take place in the parish house of the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, 263 Mulberry Street, in Manhattan. A reception will follow. Suggested donation: $5.

Wreck Of The Bristol

In the winter of 1836–37, two landmark events occurred when 215 people perished in shipwrecks off Long Beach and Rockaway Beach, within shouting distance of shore. Most victims were Irish immigrants and New York was their destination. Passengers on the ship Bristol drowned in minutes when it was stuck by a rogue wave. Those aboard the Mexico froze to death on the stranded ship after their captain and crew abandoned them. These shipwrecks are among the most important ones in U.S. maritime history, and among the most dramatic ever recorded. Sadly, the story was forgotten for 170 years.

But the details were uncovered when Art Mattson discovered a weather beaten obelisk in a tiny cemetery in Lynbrook, Long Island. Barely-legible wording said that this was the mass grave of 139 unclaimed bodies from two shipwrecks in the 1830s. With virtually nothing published about the events, research took Art to archives in New York City, Liverpool, and Dublin, and led to revelation of the full circumstances of callous disregard for the passengers’ lives. Seemingly, instead of being welcomed to America, such immigrants were referred to as “demoralized,” “degraded beings,” and “vagrants.” Today, thanks to Art Mattson’s work, their mass grave is on the National Register of Historical Places.

Art Mattson is the historian of the Village of Lynbrook, N.Y. and a registered historian of the State of New York. He is also a university lecturer and author of two books. These include Water and Ice: The Tragic Wrecks of the Bristol and the Mexico on the South Shore of Long Island, which received the Joseph F. Meany Award for Excellence in New York State Maritime History.

A Girl From Queens

On Saturday, May 12 at 2 p.m., author Eileen Markey will discuss the life—and death—of Sister Maura Clarke, M.M., whose brutal assault and murder at the hands of Salvadorian soldiers in 1980 became the source of international news and years of debate over America’s Cold War policy in Latin America. Who was Maura Clarke, and… Continue Reading

Launt Thompson: Enduring Success

On Saturday, December 2, writer and Roundtable member Michael Burke will discuss Launt Thompson, the Irish-American sculptor who rapidly rose to fame and accomplishment in the United States in the years following the American Civil War. Thompson’s success, however, was dramatically jolted at one of its highpoints and Thompson died in a state asylum. The… Continue Reading

Building Bridges

In the mid-1800s, Irish Catholics arrived in the U.S. in dramatic numbers. They were often confronted with severe and ugly discrimination, and they reacted in various ways. One such reaction—uncommon in its time—was that of Fr. Sylvester Malone. To hear more about this unique man, join us and Geoffrey Cobb on Saturday, May 6 at… Continue Reading

On Inwood—and Being at the War

On Saturday, Oct. 22, the NYIHR will provide a special program on Manhattan’s Inwood, once the largest Irish community in New York. Author Edward Hagan and Roundtable president John Ridge will collaborate to re-capture Inwood, its institutions, values—and its expectations for its inhabitants. This program will take place at 2 p.m. in the McCloskey meeting… Continue Reading

Shaping Culture: The impact of Irish-American Writers

On Saturday, Dec. 3 author Eileen Sullivan will present a talk on changes in the culture of American Catholicism emerging from the works of nineteenth-century writers who created a distinctive—and influential—Irish-American literature. Examining characters and themes in novels published in 1830s to the 1870s, Professor Sullivan will shed new light on how, for example, Irish… Continue Reading

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