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Finding Home

Finding Home

By The Irish American Archives Society
A podcast series presented by the Irish American Archives Society exploring the Irish immigrants and their descendants whose struggles and sacrifices helped to build an American city and make up the history of the Irish in Cleveland. The second series consists of interviews with Clevelanders sharing information and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland.
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Episode 2.27 (Father Ryan Duns): Playing and Praying: A Musician-Priest's Life of Service
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. This episode features an interview with Jesuit priest Ryan Duns. Ryan Duns was born into a family of Irish dancers but had "two left feet," so he started taking tin whistle lessons. His tin whistle teacher, Tom Hastings, also played the accordion for Irish dancing competitions. Duns saw where he could fit in--not as a dancer himself but in service to dance. He began playing for dancing competitions in his college years, but at the same time began discerning a vocation as a Jesuit priest. He thought he might have to give up the Irish dancing world but has fortunately found a way to balance all his callings. Duns is now an ordained Jesuit priest who teaches theology at Marquette University and authors scholarly publications--while continuing to play at dancing competitions and serving as a chaplain for the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians.
42:30
May 11, 2022
Episode 2.26 (Marianne Mangan): Capturing Community with the Photographer's Eye
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. This episode features an interview with Marianne Mangan. As a child, Marianne Mangan could not have known that the gift of a "Brownie Instamatic" camera would lead to a lifelong pursuit of photography. When she took photos for her high school yearbook or captured school sporting events while working as a gym teacher, photography was a sideline. But the sideline became a profession as she was called on more and more to take photographs at events in the Irish American community. For the Irish American Archives Society, she has documented Walks of Life dinners, the Johnny Kilbane Sculpture process, and parade honorees and committee members. She started photographing musicians at Cleveland's annual Cultural Festival and now travels widely to create photographic portraits of some of the biggest names in traditional Irish music.
40:35
May 03, 2022
Episode 2.25 (Gerry Quinn): Promoting the "Green and Red" of Mayo in Cleveland OH
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. This episode features an interview with Gerry Quinn. Gerry Quinn was born in Garracloon, a village south of Ballina in County Mayo. His schoolteacher father instilled Gerry's lifelong love of Irish poetry and culture. When Gerry finished school in 1960, his prospects for work were slim and he immigrated to the US. Relatives in Cleveland helped him find work as a steamfitter, while dances at the West Side Irish American Club helped ease the transition. After settling in with work and family, Gerry helped to found the Irish American Club East Side in 1978 and served as the club's first president. Not long after, he began to host a weekly Irish radio show, which he's faithfully done for more than 40 years. In 2004, he revived Cleveland's Mayo Society to promote economic, educational, and cultural exchanges between Cleveland and County Mayo.
46:51
April 26, 2022
Episode 2.24 (Timothy Lynch): Traces of the Truth: Using Public Records to Track Down Forgotten Family History
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. This episode features an interview with Timothy Lynch. Timothy Lynch, an Airbnb proprietor and home rehabber by day, talks about the research tools he uses in his family history research, particularly when tracking the immigrant servants and laborers who often fall between the cracks in public records. The Cleveland Public Library has scanned and digitized numerous records that are available for free (with a library card)--including city directories, historic insurance maps, the Plain Dealer (going back to 1845), and Blue Book" directories of Cleveland's social elite. Librarians and archivists at CPL, Cleveland State University, and the Police History Museum have helped identify relevant photos from extensive digitized photo collections.
51:23
April 19, 2022
Episode 2.23 (Rita Lally): Teaching Tunes: The Irish Music Academy of Cleveland
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. This episode features an interview with Rita Lally. As a generation of immigrant musicians began to pass away in Cleveland in the 1970s and 1980s, the question of how the next generation would learn to play traditional music became an urgent one. With the goal of creating structured classes, Rita Lally, musician Dermot Somerville and others worked to launch the Irish Music Academy in 1993. As Lally recalls, in its five years of existence, IMAC did nurture a talented young group of traditional musicians who perform, teach, and enliven Cleveland’s Irish music scene to this day.
52:15
April 12, 2022
Episode 2.22 (Tom Corrigan): From The Lasalle Club to CYO: Keeping the Kids off the Streets
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. This episode features an interview with Tom Corrigan. When IAAS was working on the Johnny Kilbane Sculpture Project in 2012-2014, IAAS Board President Tom Corrigan researched and delivered a couple of talks about the role of Irish Americans in popularizing the sport of boxing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. With a decade's perspective on that research, Corrigan shares reflections on the connection between the Lasalle Club that nurtured Johnny Kilbane and the CYO sports activities that his uncle, Msgr. Thomas Corrigan, supervised during his nephew's youth.
39:53
April 05, 2022
Episode 2.21 (Meg & Jack McGarry): Painting the Town: The Mike McGarry & Sons Family Business
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. This episode features an interview with Meg and Jack McGarry. Mike McGarry came to Cleveland from County Roscommon in the 1920s. After painting streetcars and doing painting and other maintenance work at Graphite Bronze, he decided to start his own painting business. Four sons helped him build a business that would work on such important community projects as the renovations of City Hall and Severance Hall. One of those sons, Jack McGarry, and his wife Meg share memories of building a family business.
47:43
March 29, 2022
Episode 2.20 (Father Thomas Mahoney): Sticking to the South Side: One Family's Struggles and Faith in Tremont
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. This episode features an interview with Father Thomas Mahoney. As Fr. Thomas Mahoney recounts, the various branches of his immigrant family converged in the mid-19th century in St. Augustine Parish on what was then known as Cleveland's South Side. The parish received its first resident pastor in 1867, moving into its present location at W. 14th and Howard Streets in 1896. Fr. Mahoney's grandparents contributed a stained glass window dedicated to each of their mothers. Mahoney reflects on the role of the church as immigrant parishioners grappled with unsteady employment, the temptations of drink, and the early deaths of children.
45:51
March 22, 2022
Episode 2.19 (Mary Agnes Kennedy): Finding a New Voice in Old Songs
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. This episode features an interview with Mary Agnes Kennedy. As singer Mary Agnes Kennedy recalls, music and singing were a huge part of her growing up years. Her mother, Carole Anne Kennedy, played Irish music on a portable record player and made the family sit down for the Mike Comer radio hour. Music was everywhere--at family parties, school choirs and plays, television theme songs and jingles, even events on Fleet Avenue that a Polish neighbor organized. Kennedy reflects on the mentors and community influences that gave her confidence and staying power as a singer.
46:14
March 15, 2022
Two-Week Pause
Finding Home will be taking a two-week pause. We'll return with a new episode on March 15th. Thanks for listening!
00:16
March 01, 2022
Episode 2.18 (Tom McManamon): Putting Together a Perfect Parade
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. This episode features an interview with Tom McManamon. Three generations of Tom McManamons have been an integral part of Cleveland's St. Patrick's Day Parade. The current Tom’s grandfather, a City Engineer and project manager of the Irish Cultural Garden, was a leader of the Irish Civic Association, which reorganized the Parade in the early 1930s. Tom’s father, a City Sidewalk Inspector who also founded an insurance company, led another Parade reorganization in 1958 and served as the first Executive Director of the United Irish Societies. Our podcast interviewee carried on the family insurance business, served as UIS Executive Director from 2001-2004 and is the Grand Marshal of the 2022 Parade. He reflects on his family's three generations of commitment to the St. Patrick's Day Parade.
53:34
February 22, 2022
Episode 2.17 (John O'Brien Sr.): Working Hard and Making Things Happen
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. This episode features an interview with John O'Brien Sr. John O'Brien Sr. learned to put his head down and "just work" at an early age. His father's unexpected death left his mother with a family of young children to raise and a farm and grain mill to run. O'Brien learned to pitch in, and he's never stopped. In Cleveland, he pitched in on a GAA football team that won four national titles. He pitched in as multi-term President of the West Side Irish American Club to organize the volunteer maintenance of the club's sprawling campus in Olmsted Township. He pitched in to organize another couple hundred volunteers to put on the Irish Cultural Festival every year from 1983 until the COVID pandemic hit the pause button in 2020. Whatever's next will involve more work!!!
44:42
February 15, 2022
Episode 2.16 (John Lackey): A Pioneering Spirit: Keep the Flag Flying
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. This episode features an interview with John Lackey. John Lackey grew up in County Cavan. When his mother died at a young age, his father made a plan to send the family to a cousin in Cleveland, one child at a time. John and his father left together at the end of the line. In Cleveland, John became a produce manager at the old Pick 'n Pay. He soon immersed himself in Gaelic football, dances at the Westside Irish American Club, and Friday night card games; he met his wife at a wedding and started raising a family. But among his involvements here, he says that the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association takes pride of place. He talks about a lifetime commitment that has its roots in a pledge first made in Ireland.
39:16
February 08, 2022
Episode 2.15 (Vera Casey & Kathleen Casey Proctor): Importing What's Important: Family and Community Across Oceans and Generations
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. This episode features an interview with Vera Casey and her daughter, Kathleen Casey Proctor. Vera Casey grew up on a farm in County Mayo, Ireland. She had to quit school early to help raise her younger siblings when her mother died. While working in London, England, as a young woman, Vera married her husband Tom Casey. They followed Vera's older sister to Cleveland, Ohio. The Caseys bounced back and forth between Galway and Cleveland frequently over the years as their family grew, creating strong connections in both cities--but they eventually settled in Cleveland for good. After many years of running her own hair salons, Vera "retired," and opened a store specializing in clothes, food, jewelry, home goods, and other items imported directly from Ireland. Casey's Irish Imports in Rocky River soon became a beloved staple of Cleveland's Irish community. Vera's daughter, Kathleen, helped out with the family business for many years before officially taking over management of the store with her sister Maureen nearly a decade ago. Kathleen and Maureen continue Vera's legacy of community building and serving. 
45:08
February 01, 2022
Episode 2.14 (Patrick Custy): Play On: A Life in Irish Music and Sport
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. This episode features an interview with Patrick Custy. Patrick Custy's immigrant parents met and married in New York, but returned to Ireland with their young family to work the family's farm after Patrick's grandfather died. Growing up in Dysert O'Dea outside of Ennis in County Clare, Patrick was surrounded by distinctive ruins from all time periods in Irish history. He grew up playing traditional Irish music and sports. He met his wife-to-be Nikki, an Ohio native, when both were college students in Galway. Marriage, three children, and jobs in the computer industry have anchored the couple in northeast Ohio where they have become well-known musicians, and are active in the revival of Gaelic hurling in Akron.
53:06
January 25, 2022
Episode 2.13 (Helen Malloy): Building From the Ground Up: The West Side Irish American Club
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. This episode features an interview with Helen Malloy. Longtime West Side Irish American Club President Pat Lynch tapped Helen Malloy to serve as assistant to the Club secretary when Malloy was little more than a teenager in the late 1950s or early 1960s. She's been an office or board member with the West Side club ever since. As one of the Club's few American-born Presidents--and the only woman--Malloy presided over the preparation to move from the Club's old quarters at West 98th and Madison to a new, purpose-built facility in Olmsted Township. Malloy shares her memories of growing up in and with the West Side Club.
42:16
January 18, 2022
Episode 2.12 (Joan Hartnett Reali): Keeping the Culture Going: The Cleveland Gaelic Society
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. This episode features an interview with Joan Hartnett Reali. Growing up in the 1940s and 1950s near Kenmare in County Kerry, Joan Hartnett Reali was steeped in traditional Irish music, dance, and sports. At age 17, she followed an older brother to Cleveland, and other family members soon joined them here. Joan felt most at home at dances and lessons sponsored by the Cleveland Gaelic Society, which formed in 1958 to promote Irish language, music, and dance. Serving as longtime treasurer of the Gaelic Society, she represented the club in the formation of the Cleveland Associated Irish American Clubs-- the so-called "Four Clubs." She shares memories of organizing dances, recruiting teachers and musicians, and juggling activities and responsibilities.
44:18
January 11, 2022
Episode 2.11 (Marilyn Madigan): Living the LAOH Motto: Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. This episode features an interview with Marilyn Madigan. Marilyn Madigan is the National Vice President of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians and has held numerous offices at the local and state levels. Although the Ancient Order of Hibernians was founded in New York in 1836, a Ladies Auxiliary only formed in 1894. A Clevelander, Adelia Christy, became a National officer in 1913 and subsequently served as National President. Recalling the many women who have had a hand in steering the group in Cleveland, Madigan also confides her own determination to follow in Christy's footsteps a hundred years later.
43:15
January 04, 2022
"Finding Home" Is Taking a Brief Break Until 2022
Series 2 of the Irish American Archives Society Podcast, "Finding Home," will be taking a brief pause until the new year. Thanks so much for listening along during 2021. We're excited to share even more stories from Clevelanders of Irish descent with our wonderful listeners in 2022. Stay safe in the meantime, and have a Happy New Year.
00:11
December 28, 2021
Episode 2.10 (Patrick Reynolds): Generations of Service: The Story of a Cleveland Police Family
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. This episode features an interview with Patrick Reynolds. Patrick Reynolds is a retired detective sergeant of the the Cleveland Police Department and President of the Board of Trustees of the Cleveland Police Museum. Reynolds shares information about the Museum collections and its research services--from displays about Eliot Ness and the Kingsbury Run torso murders to help documenting a family member's police service. Reynolds also reflects on his own years of high profile work on the department's bomb squad and hostage negotiating team, on his extended family's more than 100 years of service on the force, and on the camaraderie that led to the formation of the Retired Irish Police Society.
39:41
December 21, 2021
Episode 2.9 (Colleen Corrigan Day): Better Together: The Achill-Cleveland Twinning
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. This episode features an interview with Colleen Corrigan Day. People have been immigrating from Achill Island, off the west coast of Ireland, to Cleveland, OH, since the 1840s, and immigration surges connecting the two communities can be well documented for the 1860s, 1880s, 1920s, and 1950s. Clevelander Steve Mulloy, an Achill native, spearheaded the effort to commemorate the community ties with a formal "twinning" initiative in 2003. Colleen Corrigan Day, who currently takes the lead in facilitating the initiative, talks about the pillars of business development, educational exchanges, and tourism that continue to undergird the connections and help to forge links with other global partners.
44:06
December 14, 2021
Episode 2.8 (Sheila Murphy Crawford): Tending the Irish Garden
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. This episode features an interview with Sheila Murphy Crawford. Sheila, a well-known Irish dancing teacher in Cleveland, talks in this episode about her family's decades-long association with the Irish Cultural Garden. Sheila's mother, Betty Murphy, was a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, which had taken responsibility for programming and maintaining the Irish Cultural Garden since its dedication in 1939. Succeeding her mother as a representative to the Cultural Gardens Federation, Sheila served as President when the Federation celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016.
44:53
December 07, 2021
Episode 2.7 (JoAnn Kerr): Haunting Graveyards: Serious Work for a Genealogist
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. This episode features an interview with JoAnn Kerr. Posting under the moniker "Irish JoKerr," Clevelander JoAnn Kerr is a major contributor to a crowd-sourced tool for family history researchers, Findagrave.com. Kerr shares on the podcast how she went from researching her own family to finding and sharing information about Clevelanders of Irish descent on a free website that first launched in 1995. Created to share burial information about individuals around the world, Findagrave can include photographs, obituaries, biographies, vital statistics, and links to other family members. JoAnn Kerr has generated more than 21,000 entries and adds about 50 per week, using such resources as cemetery and death records, death notices, and other public records.
46:43
November 30, 2021
Episode 2.6 (Mary McCluskey): Marching to an Ancient Beat
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. This episode features an interview with Mary McCluskey. The Ladies Drill Team of the West Side Irish American Club dates back to the club's first decade in the 1930s. And yet, the recently retired Mary Hastings McCluskey was only the team's third leader. Succeeding Carol McGinty, who followed team founder Colletta Masterson Jablonski, Mary McCluskey led the group for more than 50 years. McCluskey first started coming to the West Side Club in the 1950s with her father, Thomas Hastings, who had helped to found the men's Fife and Drum marching unit. Mary joined the drill team as a freshman in high school in 1957. In this interview she recalls six decades of carrying a vibrant community tradition forward.
44:03
November 23, 2021
Episode 2.5 (Patrick Corrigan): Remembering the "Boys on the Run": Memoir of an Irish Soldier
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. Episode 5 features an interview with Patrick Corrigan. A trip to Ireland in 2017 sparked an interest in family history in Patrick Corrigan, who is a Battalion Chief in Cleveland's Fire Department. Genealogy became a passion as Corrigan connected with relatives world-wide. An 80-page memoir written by a great uncle in Ireland in the 1970s propelled him further. Corrigan's great uncle Brian Corrigan fought in the Irish War of Independence, and against the treaty in the Irish Civil War. Seeking context for the memoir, Patrick Corrigan immersed himself in research; he was invited to participate in the West Mayo Brigade Centenary Commemoration in Westport and to contribute an essay in the new publication, The Men of the West. See http://westmayo.ie/ for more information about the commemoration and publication and for a link to Brian Corrigan's memoirs under the "Family Histories and Stories" tab. Patrick Corrigan utilized the indexed pension applications and witness statements that can be accessed at https://www.militaryarchives.ie/collections/online-collections/bureau-of-military-history-1913-1921
34:22
November 16, 2021
Episode 2.4 (Bernie McCafferty): Leaving a Trace: Cleveland's First Irish Neighborhood
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. Episode 4 features an interview with Bernie McCafferrty. For several decades, Bernie McCafferrty, a Business Consultant for Hewlett Packard Enterprise, has tracked elusive information about the earliest Irish immigrants to settle in Cleveland. He has traipsed cemeteries, transcribed census records and city directories, and perused early property records. For an MA Thesis in Irish Studies at John Carroll University, he focused on the 1850 census and found an early concentration of Irish immigrants in the area equivalent to today's East Flats and Warehouse District. McCafferty, who is also a singer/guitarist with the Craic Brothers, shares the high-points of his work, which can be read in full at https://collected.jcu.edu/mastersessays/62/ He has also photographed and transcribed gravestones at cemeteries surrounding Clew Bay and shard the results on the IGP Irish Genealogical Projects website at https://www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/mayo/photos/tombstones/markers.htm
37:27
November 09, 2021
Episode 2.3 (Jim Dubelko): Wanted: Cleveland's McCart Street Gang
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. Episode 3 features an interview with Jim Dubelko. From about 1888 to the early 1900s, Cleveland was home to a notorious street gang, which the newspapers dubbed the McCart Street Gang, after the street that most of them lived on or near (today's W. 69th Street). The gang members were sons of Irish immigrants, or recent immigrants themselves. Jim Dubelko has been filling in the story of the McCart Street Gang since about 2010, when he embarked on a second career as a historical researcher, under the sponsorship of the late Housing Court Judge Ray Pianka. The McCart Street Gang was one of the first of more than 150 stories that Dubelko has written about Cleveland history for the website (www.clevelandhistorical.org), sponsored by Cleveland State University's Center for Public History and Digital Humanities.
47:16
November 02, 2021
Episode 2.2 (Kenneth R. Callahan): Hold The Line: An Irish Soldier in the American Civil War
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. Episode 2 features an interview with Kenneth R. Callahan. James K. O'Reilly, the 2x great grandfather of IAAS Board member Kenneth R. Callahan, was an Irish immigrant from County Longford, a Civil War veteran, a stone monument carver, one of Cleveland's first Irish-born City Council representatives, secretary of the St. Edward Parish Council, and head of a veteran's contingent marking the passage of President Abraham Lincoln's funeral cortege through Cleveland. A Past-President of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable, Ken Callahan shares his hunt to uncover sources that would illuminate his ancestor's Civil War service and life in Cleveland. Note: In the episode, James K. O'Reilly is mistakenly identified as the great-grandfather of Ken Callahan, but he is actually Callahan's 2x great-grandfather.   Also note:  The Ohio 8th Infantry Regiment, which O'Reilly served in during the Civil War, was part of the Army of the Potomac's famed "Gibraltar Brigade," known for their steadfast, unyielding dependability in the midst of battle.
37:28
October 26, 2021
Episode 2.1 (Kevin O'Toole): Restoring Johnny Kilbane's Fight Films
In season two of the "Finding Home" podcast series, Irish American Archives Society Executive Director Margaret Lynch interviews an array of Clevelanders with specialized knowledge and stories about the history of the Irish in Cleveland. In the inaugural episode of season two, Kevin O’Toole, great grandson of champion boxer Johnny Kilbane, talks about discovering a treasure trove of memorabilia when his grandmother passed away in 1993. Tucked among the boxes in her garage was one containing old film canisters. Those canisters took O’Toole on a journey that led to the restoration of original footage from Johnny Kilbane’s 1912 world championship fight. O’Toole also shares how he’s built the website, www.johnnykilbane.com, as a way to share and learn about his beloved ancestor.
41:56
October 19, 2021
Episode 50: Still Going Strong: The Irish American Community in Cleveland, Today and Beyond
Irish people have continued to immigrate to Cleveland since the 1960s. Both recent immigrants and American-born counterparts contribute to the vitality of Cleveland's Irish American community today. The community is flourishing--with a newspaper, radio shows, active social clubs, clubs devoted to particular professions, and strong support for traditional Irish music, dance, language, and sports. The Irish American Archives Society works with all these organizations and more to preserve the history of the Irish in Cleveland. I’m going to take a break until early summer to figure out how to format a new podcast series in a way that keeps advancing our knowledge. Until then, enjoy the spring! And thanks for listening.
17:47
April 13, 2021
Episode 49: Growing Up Irish: My Memories of the Irish American Community in the 1950s and 1960s
This episode I'm going to share my own memories of Cleveland’s Irish community during the 1950s and 1960s--my growing up years. My family was involved with the Hibernians and Irish dancing. The Hibernians put on an annual St. Patrick’s Day banquet and held card parties to raise money for Irish missionary priests. We helped with Parade floats, manned tables at nationality fairs, and attended Irish picnics at Euclid Beach Park. Our parishes reinforced our Irish identity. At St. Mel's Parish, where I grew up, Fr. Tom Flynn organized an annual St. Patrick’s Day show and encouraged us to take Irish dancing lessons from Tessie Burke at the old I.A. Hall on Madison Avenue. We attended feises or dancing competitions at the Berea Fairgrounds, did danceouts at the Irish Cultural Garden, and went to ceili dances sponsored by the Gaelic Society--nurturing a lifelong love of Irish music and dance.
16:01
April 06, 2021
Episode 48: The Parade: Recent Immigrants, Younger Generations, and Women Find Common Cause
The immigrants of the 1950s and 1960s had a particular impact on the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. From 1935 until 1958, the Irish Civic Association organized the parade. Most of the Civic Association members were born in the US. By 1958, the postwar immigrants had formed new clubs that celebrated traditional Irish sports, music, and dance and were also reinvigorating the Hibernians and the West Side IA. The new energy required a new model for parade management--the United Irish Societies. New constituencies--women and younger generations--also had to work their way to the table, but the UIS functions to this day as a kind of United Nations for Irish organizations in Cleveland.
17:49
March 30, 2021
Episode 47: Join the Club: 1950s and 1960s Immigrants Take the Lead
Postwar immigration energized Irish club activity in Cleveland. The newcomers helped to revitalize the city's longest-lasting Irish organization--the Ancient Order of Hibernians and its Ladies Auxiliary--and the West Side Irish American Club which had already been a community hub since its founding in 1930. The 1950s and 1960s immigrants also established new clubs: The Pioneer Total Abstinence Association and four clubs that were devoted to preserving traditional Irish culture and joined forces as the Associated Irish Clubs: The Gaelic Football Club, the Gaelic Hurling Club, the Irish Musicians Association, and the Gaelic Society. The 1950s and 1960s cohort also revived interest in an east-side social center, resulting in the Irish American Club East Side, which was founded in 1978.
16:57
March 23, 2021
Episode 46: For the Love of Gaelic Games: The GAA in Cleveland
Irish immigrants of the 1950s and 1960s had a huge impact on Gaelic sports in Cleveland. After WWII, Gaelic Athletic Association promoters like Cleveland's Henry Cavanagh began talking about re-starting inter-city competition for Gaelic sports in 1949. Cleveland was in the forefront, as Henry Cavanagh invited colleagues from other Midwest cities to attend the first Midwest GAA convention in Cleveland in 1950. In the early 1950s, Cleveland organized multiple intramural squads for Gaelic Football, Hurling, and Women's Camogie. By the early 1960s, immigrant players coalesced around one strong, competitive football team—Cleveland St. Pat’s. St. Pat’s captured five consecutive national titles from 1962 through 1966. Hundreds of unheralded players kept Gaelic sports alive in Cleveland, through their commitment to the GAA values of discipline and teamwork, and their love of the games.
17:25
March 16, 2021
Episode 45: Land of Opportunity: Irish Immigrants in the 1950s and 1960s
After the immigration wave of the 1920s, the next big wave occurred in the 1950s and 1960s. While the 1950s immigrants came from all over Ireland, the earlier connections between Cleveland and County Mayo were reinforced. Several factors slowed Irish immigration down between the late 1920s and the 1950s: the first restrictions on immigration from Europe in 1924, the worldwide depression of the 1930s, and World War II. Many Irish people found it easier to immigrate to England in the 1930s and 1940s. When the English economy was slow to recover after WWII, some Irish immigrants looked to Canada or Australia. But the US was still the destination of choice. Most of the 1950s and 1960s immigrants worked at laboring jobs. They had a strong presence in the Building Laborers Local 310. Some were able to parlay laboring occupations into business ownership. Cleveland's economy was still humming then, and they were absorbed into it readily.
17:34
March 09, 2021
Episode 44: The World at War: Irish Americans Serve Their Adopted Country
Recent immigrants and American-born sons were quick to join war efforts during the Spanish American War of 1898 and World War I. They did so again when World War II broke out. Brothers often enlisted together; six brothers from one Gallagher family served at the same time. Priests and doctors answered the call as well. On the home front, many Irish Americans were involved in maintaining a canteen for servicemen at St. John Cathedral. For returning servicemen, the GI Bill offered an opportunity to attend college or even medical or law school--opportunities that young men from working class families would not have had otherwise, and opportunities that they could open up for their children in turn.
16:17
March 02, 2021
Episode 43: Leveraging Land: Women and Entrepreneurs in Real Estate
By the 1930s, more people of Irish birth and descent were investing in real estate in ways large and small. Families scrimped to buy second lots and held onto their first houses as rental property. Managing that property was often a side job for married women, providing a way for women to contribute to their family’s financial well-being. The extra income earned by managing real estate became a lifeline for women who were widowed or whose husbands lacked steady employment. One widowed woman and real estate speculator, Celia McCafferty Carney, paved the way for her two sons, John and Jim Carney, to become major players in real estate and politics in Cleveland for many decades.
16:54
February 23, 2021
Episode 42: Do No Harm: Irish American Doctors and Nurses in the Mid 20th Century
People of Irish birth and descent entered the medical professions earlier, but their numbers grew in the 1920s through the 1940s. The city's Catholic hospitals were founded in the 19th century by religious orders. The Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine organized St. Vincent Charity Hospital during the Civil War to care for wounded soldiers and set up a maternity hospital, St. Ann's, to care for unwed mothers and foundling babies. A German order, the Sisters of St. Francis, formed St. Alexis Hospital in Newburgh and St. John's on the west side (later yielding St. John's to the Sisters of Charity). Sons of 19th century immigrant families began studying to become doctors in the 1880s and 1890s and were chiefs of staff and surgery at the city's Catholic hospitals by the 1920s. By the early 20th century, women of Irish birth and descent were training at hospital nursing schools in the United States. Irish American doctors and nurses took on essential roles as the city's Catholic hospitals served a growing city.
17:09
February 16, 2021
Episode 41: Dangers and Dilemmas: Firemen and Policemen in the 1920s and 1930s
Everyday run-ins with danger could pull policemen and firemen into newspaper stories and headlines. But famous cases and fires tended to be featured when careers were being summed up. Many firemen who were active in the 1920s and 1930s worked on the 1914 lumberyard fire in the flats that nearly destroyed the Central Viaduct, or the 1929 Cleveland Clinic Fire that killed 123 people and injured 92. Policemen were more likely than firemen to face moral quandaries. The 1930s were rife with such quandaries. Between the desperation of the Great Depression, the rise of gangsters, and labor unrest, policemen often found themselves in situations that pitted them against neighbors and friends or involved temptations and conflicted loyalties.
16:48
February 09, 2021
Episode 40: Serving a Higher Power: Priests and Nuns in the Mid-Twentieth Century
Priests and nuns were highly valued and essential Irish community members in every decade, but an exceptional generation came to the fore in the 1920s and 1930s. Men and women of Irish descent who were born in the 1870s and 1880s, who grew up in Cleveland and attended school here, were reaching their prime as clergy and religious at that time. Founding pastors, diocesan officials, and mother superiors of Irish descent all stepped into the limelight during the tenure of Bishop Joseph Schrembs, from 1921 through 1945. Thanks to their vision and dedication, Cleveland’s parishes and Catholic schools continued to flourish and kept pace with a thriving city.
16:44
February 02, 2021
Episode 39: Funeral Directing: A Family Affair
Undertakers were valued and essential community members. Known as undertakers in the 19th and earlier 20th centuries they morphed into funeral directors by the 1930s. Whether in the 19th century, the 20th century, and even today, they ran small family businesses whose survival depended on the continuity of family generations and a clientele of their own ethnicity. The first generation of Irish undertakers came on the scene when undertaking was a new profession. The next generation of undertakers  emerged at the turn of the century, while a large cluster of Irish-owned funeral operations formed to serve the 1920s cohort of immigrants. The bond between Irish funeral directors and the Irish American community remains strong to this day.
18:59
January 26, 2021
Episode 38: Fiddlers, Singers, and Step Dancers: Traditional Culture in a Modern City
Music featured prominently at Irish community events all the way back to the first St. Patrick's Day Banquet in 1842. But traditional Irish music and dance really came to the fore in Cleveland in the 1920s and 1930s. The immigrants of the 1920s were the first generation to experience the full impact of the late-nineteenth-century revival of interest in the Irish language and traditional Irish culture, including folklore, sports, music, and dance. Irish "folk dancing" was featured at the Theater of Nations circa 1930. Also in 1930, a weekly radio show featuring Irish music was launched, hosted by Mary K. Duffy and featuring tenor Dick O'Heren and the Irish Ensemble with accordion player Johnny McNea. The West Side Irish American Club also began a fife and drum band in the 1930s. Fiddler Tom Scott began teaching Irish dancing in Cleveland in the 1940s. The 1950s wave of immigration continued to boost the traditional Irish music and dance scene in Cleveland, and it's still going strong today.
17:38
January 19, 2021
Episode 37: Gangs, Gangsters, and Gamblers
Irish Americans found themselves on all sides of the law in the late 19th and 20th centuries. A life of crime tempted some who lived hardscrabble lives in the Angle and the near West Side. The Triangle, McCart Street, and Cheyenne Gangs stopped at petty crime, though the Cheyennes were caught up in the newspaper circulation wars of the 1910s, culminating in the death of a former newspaper boy in 1914. Legendary characters such as Blackjack McGinty and Shimmy Patton grew up in the same milieu but made their livelihoods and reputations in bootlegging and gambling. A few decades later, Danny Greene embroiled himself in a civil war between mob factions in Cleveland and "lived by the bomb and died by the bomb."
18:03
January 12, 2021
Episode 36: Women and White Collar Workers Take the Stage
The children and grandchildren of earlier immigrants continued to identify with their Irish heritage in the 1920s and 1930s. But the second and third generations tended to become involved in a different set of Irish organizations—ones that were shaped more by circumstances in Cleveland and the US than in Ireland. The most prominent new Irish organization to emerge during this timeframe was the Irish American Civic Association—later shortened to the Irish Civic Association. In the 1930s, the Civic Association facilitated Irish involvement in large-scale civic projects such as fundraising for the Irish Cultural Garden, reinvigorating the summer picnic tradition, and reviving a downtown St. Patrick's Day Parade. But women--especially Adelia Christy and Mary Kay Duffy--also emerged as civic leaders during this decade, spearheading Irish participation in the Theater of Nations and bolstering the successful completion of the Irish Cultural Garden.
17:35
January 05, 2021
Episode 35: We Built This City
Irish immigrants were holding a wide array of jobs by the mid-to-late 19th century. However, no matter what the era, it seems that each newly arriving group of Irish immigrants first entered the workforce as manual laborers. Sample groups of Irish immigrants from the 1850s, 1880s, 1920s, and 1950s also show the same trend. More than half of them held laboring jobs during each given time period. At all of those time periods, Cleveland's growth provided laboring jobs--in manufacturing and construction. Irish immigrants were involved in building this city at each stage of its growth.
18:15
December 29, 2020
Episode 34: Secret Societies, Gaelic Sports, and Social Clubs: The Greenhorns Make their Way
Many of the Irish immigrants who came to Cleveland in the 1910s and 1920s were young single men who were escaping conflict. They or their families wanted them to avoid conscription into the British Army during World War I or to avoid what seemed certain to be another failed rebellion in 1916. Others left in the later 1910s as rebellion spread in Ireland, and the British Black and Tans terrorized the countryside. Others had been enemy combatants during the Irish Civil War in 1922 and 1923. This cohort of immigrants swelled the ranks of organizations that promoted Irish freedom, including the secretive Clan na Gael. They also brought Gaelic football to Cleveland in the 1920s, and they helped to found the city’s most enduring Irish social club, the West Side Irish American Club. A new wave of immigration was already producing a new wave of Irish community leaders.
18:12
December 22, 2020
Episode 33: Stepping Up to the Plate and Into the Ring
The craze for baseball hit Cleveland in the 1860s, and is reflected in telegraph operator William Manning's diaries. He and his cousins played baseball among themselves. The Cathedral Sodality Club that they belonged to formed a team, as did their father, Thomas Manning's, iron foundry. William Manning also mentioned attending several Forest City Baseball Club games. Cleveland's baseball team was a fully professional team and charter members of the American League, by the time that Irish Americans Jack Graney and Steve O'Neill joined the team in 1908 and 1911, respectively. Both were members of the 1920 World Championship team, and Graney went on to become the team's radio broadcaster. Boxing rivaled baseball in popularity, however, and Cleveland's Johnny Kilbane rose to national prominence as world featherweight champion from 1912-1923.
17:08
December 15, 2020
Episode 32: There's No Business Like Show Business: Irish Performers and Audiences
The newspapers of the day and the diaries of telegraph operator William Manning document an Irish presence on both sides of Cleveland’s footlights in the 19th century. Manning went to the theater almost once a month in the 1860s, sampling melodramas, farces and large-cast spectacles. He took in plays by Dion Boucicault, a versatile Irish-born actor-manager-playwright who was especially celebrated for a series of comic Irish melodramas that showcased his comedic talent while tapping into the growing audience of Irish immigrants in the United States. A Boucicault successor, actor Joseph Murphy, criss-crossed the country with his own roster of Irish melodramas, often stopping in Cleveland. As vaudeville or variety shows gained in popularity in the 1890s, Irish kids in Cleveland dreamed of making it in vaudeville and could see "one of their own," Mitty Devere, at the Majestic Theatre on West 25th Street, or the Empire downtown.
17:36
December 08, 2020
Episode 31: Money in the Bank: Irish Managers of Risk and Money
From benevolent or mutual help societies in the 1860s and 1870s, Irish immigrants took the next step--establishing building loan associations and commercial insurance companies in Cleveland. Fenian supporters and Irish community leaders helped to form such groups as The Forest City United Land and Building Association in 1867 and the Hibernia Insurance Company in 1870. People of Irish birth and descent moved more slowly into the higher status ranks of banking and stock brokering. Several came to banking through their success in retail business, others through political connections. It was an Irish immigrant, Jeremiah Sullivan, President of Central National Bank, who chaired the committee that secured the Federal Reserve Bank for Cleveland in 1914.
17:34
December 01, 2020
Episode 30: Good Enough for Government Work: The Irish Enter Politics
The ranks of Cleveland city government and Cuyahoga county government were filling with Irish officeholders in the 1890s. Irish Americans occupied the mayor’s office twice that decade. Many of the same folks who were active in the city's Irish organizations were also active in Democratic Party politics--though Irish Republicans also had success at the ballot box in the early 1900s. The progressive reformer, Tom L. Johnson, was not Irish but garnered support across a broad spectrum of the Irish community--from rank and file laborers, who were the backbone of Democratic Party support, to such community leaders as Martin A. Foran, William Gleason, and Hibernian P. J. "Honest Pat" McKenney, a longtime Cleveland councilman and county commissioner. But Johnson's management of the city’s police department may have cost him some Irish votes along the way. Though Johnson promoted the first Irishman to the top position in the police department, he also skipped over and forced out popular Captain Michael English, and lost the Angle vote in the 1909 election.
17:38
November 24, 2020
Episode 29: Swings, Dirigible Rides and Guns: Cleveland's Irish Nationalist Picnic Tradition
Cleveland supporters of Irish nationhood launched a summer picnic in 1864--a tradition that lasted for decades. The picnics featured speeches promoting the cause of Irish freedom, but also offered summer amusements at parks outside the city. Railroads offered excursion rates for days filled with swing, tugboat or dirigible rides, races, music, and sports and dancing competitions. The names of the organizations that sponsored the picnics changed over the years--from the Fenians, to the Land League, to the National League, to the Irish Nationalists. Sometimes the nationalist impulse intersected with a business networking impulse, and downtown hotels and club rooms also became the scenes of nationalist activities. But the same leaders were behind those shifting organizations for decades, only gradually giving way to a new generation of leaders. A new century was dawning, but Ireland was still not free. The pressure to support armed rebellion grew.
17:07
November 17, 2020
Episode 28: Aspiration and Americanization: Parishes of the 1890s
In the 1890s, the pastor of an Irish Parish in Cleveland was called upon to be many things. Irish parishes continued to be a focal point for Irish identity and pride. The Cleveland Catholic Diocese, under Bishop Horstmann, was encouraging parishes to host musical concerts and productions of plays. Educated Irish priests introduced Irish or Irish-American plays to their parishioners, and Irish parishes and pastors were happy to be associated with these displays of cultural aspiration. At the same time, one of the pastor's fundamental tasks was to erect and manage large building projects--church and school buildings, rectories, and convents. They were called upon to function essentially as businessmen, but had to be wary of getting too caught up in the pitfalls of business speculation.
19:01
November 10, 2020
Episode 27: Collateral Damage: Industrial City, Industrial Accidents
As industry accelerated in Cleveland during the 1880s and 1890s, the pace of industrial accidents--all too often fatal--also picked up. The newspapers of the day gave brief but vivid accounts of workplace accidents. The ore docks seem to have been particularly dangerous, but fatal accidents took place in factories of all kinds. Larger industrial disasters also took place. Some of those disasters are little remembered today--such as a riverbed accident that claimed the lives of 16 ore dock workers in July 1896. One of the most dramatic industrial accidents in Cleveland history was the water tunnel explosion of 1916. 20 lives were lost as tunnel workers, firemen, policemen, doctors, tugboat crew members, the janitor on the crib, and African American inventor Garrett Morgan were all swept up in desperate rescue attempts.
16:29
November 03, 2020
Episode 26: Cooks, Coachmen, and "Second Girls"
More and more Irish immigrants began to share in Cleveland’s rising prosperity in the 1880s and 1890s. Cleveland was the industrial equivalent to Silicon Valley in the 1890s. Irish immigrants who had been living elsewhere were drawn to Cleveland. Along with those who had been here for decades, they were becoming businessmen, lawyers, and bankers. And prosperous families hired help. More and more new Irish immigrants, especially women, arrived in the US with the expectation that they would become servants. Working for Cleveland's most prominent families or for fellow immigrants, they became coachmen, chauffeurs, gardeners, cooks, maids, and nannies.
16:07
October 27, 2020
Episode 25: Immigrant Oilmen and the "Standard Squeeze"
Cleveland shot to the forefront of the American oil refining industry after the Civil War. The city's lead in oil was largely due to the enterprise of John D. Rockefeller, who quickly jumped on the opportunities presented when oil was discovered in Titusville PA in 1859. But Grasselli Chemical Works, Sherwin Williams, and Glidden Paints also helped to put Cleveland on the oil industry map in the late 1860s. A few of the city's oil pioneers had Irish roots. Brothers John and James Corrigan, sons of an Irish immigrant, became involved in shipping oil products from Cleveland to their native Canada in the late 1860s. By 1870, they were both living in Cleveland and engaged in kerosene refining. (James Corrigan later shifted his attention to shipping iron and founded the Corrigan McKinney Steel Company in 1894.) Jeremiah Murphy, another son of an Irish immigrant, founded the Ohio Oil Company in 1881. Unable to compete with Rockefeller's ruthless business practices, Murphy had to fold Ohio Oil in 1885, but was able to gather the resources to start Phoenix Oil Company in 1890 and found success as the maker of Murphy's Oil Soap.
18:01
October 20, 2020
Episode 24: Location, Location, Location: The Detroit Shoreway Neighborhood
Many Irish immigrants had been shut out of land ownership in Ireland. They were eager to own a lot and a home in Cleveland, though many could not accomplish property ownership in the span of one generation. However, the most successful of the city’s pre-Famine Irish immigrants were able to do more. As industry took off after the Civil War, families who could afford it--such as brass foundry owner James Farnan--sought property in less congested areas, for instance, along  Detroit Avenue, past today’s W. 65th Street. John McCart, another Irish immigrant who bought property in the area in 1860, became a real estate speculator and helped to open up what we now call the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood.
17:48
October 13, 2020
Episode 23: The Apostle of Parochial Schools
The push for compulsory education was heating up in Ohio as Richard Gilmour began his tenure as Bishop in Cleveland in 1872. Like many Catholics, Bishop Gilmour feared that the Americanizing impulse of public schools also had the hidden agenda of taking the "Catholic" out of Catholic immigrants. Gilmour championed Catholic education, battling against compulsory public education and asserting that parish schools should be exempt from property taxes. Catholic grade schools had been a part of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland almost since the diocese was formed in 1847. After the Ohio State Legislature passed a compulsory education bill in 1877, Bishop Gilmour promoted the expansion of the Catholic school system in Cleveland to include high schools for both young men and young women.
18:09
October 06, 2020
Episode 22: The Hibernians Keep the Parade Afloat
Bishop Gilmour wrangled continuously with Irish community leaders for more than a decade. The bishop had managed to enforce centralized planning for the city's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. But enthusiasm for his planning process was waning. The Ancient Order of Hibernians bridged the gap between the Catholic Central Association and the secular organizations that Bishop Gilmour shunned. The Hibernians were a national organization, founded in New York in 1836 to protect Irish Catholics against discrimination. Although they were associated in the public mind with the labor agitators, the Molly Maguires, they managed to fly under the bishop's radar in Cleveland. They were able to leverage their role as mediators to maintain Cleveland's parade tradition.
17:21
September 29, 2020
Episode 21: From Mayo to Newburgh and the Angle
A series of bad weather and bad growing years in the late 1870s and early 1880s caused what historians now call the "Forgotten Famine" in the west of Ireland. James Hack Tuke, an English banker and Quaker who had been involved in relief efforts during the Great Famine, decided to do something to alleviate the hunger and civil unrest. He raised funds to offer "assisted emigration" to needy families in communities surrounding Blacksod Bay, including townlands on the Belmullet peninsula, townlands such as Ballycroy and Mulranny along the western edge of the bay, and the townlands of Achill Parish, along the southern edge. With steelmaking surging, Cleveland was one of the country’s fastest growing industrial centers at the time and drew a significant number of Tuke immigrants.  They were drawn to the two neighborhoods most connected with steel--Newburgh, where the steel mills were located, and the Angle, where the raw materials were unloaded.
17:24
September 22, 2020
Episode 20: Outspoken Women and Excommunication
Bishop Richard Gilmour was already affronted when Irish community members formed organizations without a religious purpose and without the leadership of priests. He was further exercised when those leaders and organizations began to push more aggressively for Irish nationhood. But the conflicts between Bishop Gilmour and some Irish community leaders reached a new level of antagonism when a bold group of women got involved in promoting Irish nationhood. Calling them unwomanly and "brawling politicians" whose place should have been in the home, Gilmour excommunicated the women who persisted in participating in the Ladies Land League.
18:03
September 15, 2020
Episode 19: Bishop Gilmour Hijacks the Parade
Since 1842, the city's St. Patrick's Day Parade had gone forward, whether led by religious leaders or lay leaders. Cleveland's Irish priests and Irish community members knew each other and interacted easily. Some organizations, like the Irish Literary and Benevolent Association, had Catholic members but did not have a Catholic purpose and were not led by priests. No one had flagged this situation as problematic until Bishop Richard Gilmour arrived in Cleveland in 1872 and set about trying to prevent "un-Catholic" groups from participating in the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.
18:19
September 08, 2020
Episode 18: Public Servants Pave the Way
In the 1860s and 1870s, people of Irish birth and descent moved more and more into different forms of public service. The city's police and fire departments were both organized in the mid-1860s, and Irish-born Civil War veterans joined both forces. In the 1870s, the city's first two lawyers of Irish birth or descent were admitted to the bar. Both became active in Democratic party politics, leading to a career in government for one of them. The late 1860s and 1870s saw the city's first Irish councilmen and appointments to various government boards and commissions.
19:07
September 01, 2020
Episode 17: Bread, Beer, and Boarders
In the 1860s and 1870s more and more Irish immigrants decided to go into the business of providing goods and services to their neighbors. Opening a grocery store, a saloon, or a boarding house increasingly became an option for immigrants who didn’t have a trade but had the ambition to be their own boss. People in those days didn’t travel far and wide to shop in specialty boutiques or to sample craft beer or whiskey. They sought the basics in food and drink in their own neighborhoods, even on their own blocks. Irish-run grocery stores, saloons, and boarding houses on both the West and East Sides of the River, near the River mouth, a grocery store in Newburgh, and one in Tremont reflected settlement patterns for Irish people in Cleveland. These small business owners paved a path toward upward mobility for themselves, but at the same time gave their immigrant neighbors a sense of community and belonging.
16:40
August 26, 2020
Episode 16: One-Stop Funeral Shops: Undertaking a New Profession
Undertaking was a new profession in the 1860s and 1870s--and an entrepreneurial type of family business. Undertakers had to deploy the skills of embalming, coffin making, and stabling horses. They had to balance the books of a small business, while not appearing to take advantage of folks in mourning. They had to have the ability to calm and console. The pioneering Irish undertakers of the 1860s and 1870s were trusted and known to neighbors and friends--Thomas McLane and Mark McGorray on the West Side, Thomas Gallagher downtown, Michael McGreal in Newburgh, and James Flynn moving east along St. Clair, later Superior, then Euclid.
17:23
August 18, 2020
Episode 15: Books and Banners: The Irish Literary and Benevolent Association
Cleveland's Irish community was coming of age in the 1870s. Jobs in Cleveland were plentiful. People had time for leisure activities--for clubs. More and more clubs formed, making their presence known in the city's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. Along with the Temperance Society, parish sodalities, benevolent societies and fraternal organizations like the Ancient Order of Hibernians began appearing. An organization that was unique to Cleveland came to prominence--the Irish Literary and Benevolent Association. In addition to providing assistance to members in need, the group built a large lending library, encouraging self-improvement, citizenship, voting, and support for the cause of Irish nationhood. All of these groups started meeting together to plan the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade--a symbol of communal pride.
17:19
August 11, 2020
Episode 14: The Irish Priests Take Down Bishop Rappe
The complaints about Bishop Rappe mounted in the 1860s. Priests of Irish birth and descent protested Rappe’s unpopular pew rent fees and annual seminary tax, his habit of assigning French-and German-speaking priests to Irish parishes and his frequent transfers of Irish priests. There were outcries when Rappe replaced an Irish seminary rector with a French one and admitted to favoring bi-lingual French- and German-speaking seminarians over Irish ones. Rappe saw himself as counteracting the barriers of nationality as he struggled to build a cohesive diocese. A group of Irish-born priests began to meet to formulate a complaint to Rome, ultimately forcing Bishop Rappe to resign from the Diocese of Cleveland in August of 1870.
17:55
August 04, 2020
Episode 13: Bishop Rappe and Irish Parishes of the 1860s: When is an Irish Priest too Irish?
Cleveland's population exploded after the Civil War. In the 1860s, Bishop Amadeus Rappe--the French-born clergyman in charge of the fledgling Cleveland Diocese--began subdividing old parishes and designating new ones to accommodate the city's rapid growth. However, Bishop Rappe was resistant to Catholic immigrants over-investing in their ethnic heritage. Believing that they should identify as Catholics first and foremost, he often tried to mix and match French and German priests with Irish flocks. However, Irish-born priests and parishioners increasingly made clear that they wanted parishes that harbored and protected tight-knit Irish immigrant communities.
16:51
July 28, 2020
Episode 12: The Strange Case of the Fenian Invasion of Canada
Irish-born Civil War veterans returned to Cleveland with a new-found confidence. They had just helped to win a war. Some Irish veterans began to think about advancing another just cause -- freedom for their native country. Returning veterans joined the Fenian Brotherhood -- which aimed to stir up American support for overthrowing British rule in Ireland. Plans coalesced around a proposed (and ill-advised) invasion -- of Canada! Cleveland was in the thick of Fenian activity, serving as a rendezvous point for Fenians headed toward Canada from points west and south. But unsurprisingly, the US government did not want war with Britain in Canada, and squelched the short-lived Fenian movement.
17:45
July 21, 2020
Episode 11: The Hibernian Guards Go To War
The Confederate army attacked Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. Five days later, forty-nine of Cleveland’s Hibernian Guards--an "all-Irish" local militia company--volunteered for the Union war effort as a group. They were absorbed into Company B of the 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and fought at Antietam, Fredericksburg, and many other battles, playing a pivotal role during the Battle of Gettysburg. After the war, returning veterans filled Cleveland's newly organized police and fire departments. An Irish-born veteran championed the cause of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Cleveland's Public Square.
16:09
July 14, 2020
Episode 10: The Cold Water Men
The Famine Irish in Cleveland were quick to heed the anti-drink message being popularized in Ireland and America by Fr. Theobald Mathew. The  "Apostle of Temperance" visited Cleveland in 1851, and thousands of Fr. Mathew's countrymen "took the pledge" to refrain from alcohol.  "Cold  Water Men" they were called, the followers of Fr. Mathew.  The "Fr. Mathew Total Abstinence Society" was first mentioned as marching in a Cleveland St. Patrick's Day Parade in 1854. As parishes for Irish congregations grew in number, Temperance Societies proliferated and assumed a larger part in Parade planning and marching. The Cold Water Men were as proud of their heritage as the Hibernian Guards--and both strove to prove that they belonged in their new home.
16:47
July 07, 2020
Episode 9: The Hibernian Guards
The Hibernian Guards were a local militia group who came on the Cleveland scene in about 1847--just as Famine immigrants were arriving here in growing numbers.  Militia companies were a holdover from the War of 1812--part army reserves, past local police force, and even larger part ceremonial parade unit. The Hibernian Guards took their place among other local militia companies such as The Cleveland Grays, and the Cleveland Jaegers. The Hibernian Guards began taking the lead on the St. Patrick's Day Parade and launched an annual banquet. Find out about how the Hibernian Guards conveyed the pride of Irish immigrants in Cleveland and supported the cause of Irish nationhood.
15:40
June 30, 2020
Episode 8: The Famine Immigrants Put Down Roots
Once the Famine Immigrants arrived in Cleveland, they started putting down roots. Many early immigrants practiced what today we'd call "chain migration." The initial immigrants who came in search of work were eventually joined by family members from Ireland, leading to whole extended families transplanting their lives, their loved ones, and their old communities into the new city.  Many of these immigrants became laborers. A few eventually started their own businesses. Rooting themselves in their new American place, the Famine immigrants found many different paths to success as they pursued the American Dream and created a new home.
17:15
June 23, 2020
Episode 7: "Coffin Ships" and Hardships
The Irish who immigrated due to the Famine in the late 1840's and early 1850's faced a harrowing journey across the Atlantic Ocean -- crammed  into overcrowded "Coffin Ships" with little food, and even less sanitation. Once in the United States, they often experienced discrimination. A xenophobic political movement sprang up called the "Know Nothings" – the “Know Nothings” were American-born Protestants who harassed Irish  immigrants and burnt down Catholic churches. Irish immigrants were met with “No Irish Need Apply” signs. Without acknowledging the discrimination that the Irish faced, Protestant abolitionists chided them for not embracing the anti-slavery movement. The hardships faced by early Irish immigrants reveal an ugly nativist impulse that shows up again and again in United States history, as each fresh wave of "others" is vilified. The Irish refugees of the 1850's -- fleeing a decimated and depleted land in search of safety and opportunity -- are not so very different from today's Syrian refugees or Central American immigrants. And the alienating discrimination Irish immigrants initially faced was just a tiny fraction of the relentless discrimination Black people faced and continue to face to this day. Perhaps by remembering the Irish experience, we can learn not repeat it. By the way, in this episode mistakenly cites the magazine Harper's Bazaar. The periodical should have been cited as Harper's Weekly.
14:46
June 16, 2020
Episode 6: From St. Mary's on the Flats to St. Pat's: Early Parishes in Emerging Ethnic Neighborhoods
The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland formed in 1847, just as both Irish Catholics fleeing the Famine and German Catholics fleeing a failed revolution converged on the banks of the Cuyahoga River. These immigrant groups both formed their own ethnic neighborhoods, and petitioned the Diocese to form distinct ethnic parishes, as well. Soon, English speaking churches for the Irish, and German speaking churches for the Germans dotted the lands around the Cuyahoga, all anchored by a grand new Cathedral in what would become downtown Cleveland.  The first Catholic church in the area was St. Mary's on the Flats (the congregation was founded in 1826, but the church structure itself wasn't built and dedicated until 1840). It served all Catholics, regardless of their ethnicity. The first specifically Irish parishes were St. Patrick's on Bridge (founded in 1853), and Holy Name (founded in 1854). The first resident pastor of St. Patrick's on Bridge - Irishman Fr. James Conlan - became a beloved figure in the Irish community and the city of Cleveland at large. He was described as a steady and sympathetic shepherd for those who had endured the trauma of the Famine. He had such a big impact on his fledgling congregation of immigrants that his funeral procession stretched for more than three miles. 
15:33
June 09, 2020
Episode 5: Brass Tacks & Railroad Tracks: Early Irish Immigrant "Royalty"
The immigration wave caused by The Great Irish Potato Famine coincided with the coming of the railroad to Cleveland. But those fleeing the famine were ill-equipped to hit the ground running in this rapidly industrializing trade nexus. Instead, immigrants who'd left Ireland before the Famine and were already in the United States were better positioned to take immediate advantage of the railroad boom--Examples include a railroad and ore dock contractor, a brass foundry owner, and an iron works owner.
17:14
June 02, 2020
Episode 4: Boomtown Pioneers
Irish immigrants in the 1830s and 1840s take advantage of the boomtown economy resulting from the Ohio and Erie Canal--transitioning from transient laborers to settled entrepreneurs in a fledgling city. This episode follows a farmer, a grocer, a teamster, and a a tug-boat titan, all forging their own paths in a new city within a new world.
17:05
May 25, 2020
Episode 3: Early Catholic Priests in Cleveland
The early growth of the Catholic diocese in Cleveland is a marker of the growing presence of Irish Catholics in the community. The city's first Catholic church, St. Mary's on the Flats, was dedicated in 1840, keeping pace with the increasing number of Catholics--both Irish and German--who were arriving in the city to participate in the canal economy.
21:10
May 25, 2020
Episode 2: Canal Fever
The Ohio and Erie Canal was a man-made waterway designed to connect Lake Erie with the Ohio River. It was dug by hand between 1825 and 1832--with Irish immigrants providing much of the labor. The Irish laborers who dug the canal left few traces in public records, but this episode endeavors to resurrect their memories and the contributions they made to a fledgling city.
14:52
May 25, 2020
Episode 1: George Croghan & The Northwest Territory
This episode starts our journey with Irish immigrants in Cleveland by examining the story of George Croghan. He was an Irishman who worked as a fur trader along the Cuyahoga River in the pre-Revolutionary War period in America. His interactions with both Native Americans and English colonizers was a template for Irish immigrants trying to navigate a new world full of possibilities and peril.
15:43
May 25, 2020