Exploring Irish History on the Irish Heritage Trail


With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, there isn’t a better time than now to take a closer look at Boston’s Irish Heritage Trail. Spanning over three miles before spreading out to many of the area’s neighborhoods, the Irish Heritage trail allows you to take an enjoyable look back on the area’s rich Irish history.

Exploring the Irish Heritage Trail

Boston’s Irish Heritage Trail takes you on a self-guided tour of the landmarks of Irish-American artists, heroes and other people dating back to the 1700s. Divided into three sections, the trail boasts 20 sites in downtown Boston and Back Bay along three miles as well as more than 40 other landmarks within Boston neighborhoods and other cities and towns throughout Massachusetts. Starting at the Rose Kennedy Garden in the North End, the trail itself spans all the way through Downtown Boston and Back Bay to Fenway Park. Some of the key monuments and sites you will see along the three-mile trail include:

  • Rose Kennedy Garden – Honors Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, mother of President John F. Kennedy
  • Kevin White Statue – Honors Kevin Hagan White, who was Boston’s 45th He presided over desegregation of schools and the city’s downtown renewal.
  • James Michael Curley Statues – Honors James Michael Curley, who was a legendary Boston politician. He served at mayor four times in four different decades, as governor and as US Congressman.
  • Boston City Hall – Long stood as a symbol of hope for Irish immigrants.
  • Boston Irish Famine Memorial – Memorializes the 100,000 Irish refugees who arrived in Boston between 1845 and 1849 in response to Ireland’s potato famine.
  • Old Granary Burying Grounds – Established in 1660, the Granary served as a resting place for early settlers.Old Granary Burying Ground
  • Colonel Shaw Memorial – Memorial to the 54th Black Infantry Regiment that took Irish artist Augustus Saint Gaudens 14 years to complete.
  • Massachusetts State House – One of the state’s most acclaimed architectural masterpieces. It also holds various items of Irish interest dating back to the 18th
  • Soldiers & Sailors Memorial – Memorial to those who died in the Civil War created by Irish brothers and artists Martin, James and Joseph Milmore.
  • Commodore John Barry Memorial – Hnors Irish naval hero, John Barry, who fought in the Revolutionary War.
  • Boston Massacre Memorial – Memorial to the five Boston Massacre victims of 1770, one of which was an Irishman named Patrick Carr.
  • Central Burying Grounds – Boston’s fourth burial ground, the Central Burying Grounds is where many “strangers” such as Irish Catholics were buried during the Revolutionary War. It boast numerous Celtic crosses.
  • Colonel Thomas Cass Statue – Honors Colonel Thomas Cass, who led the 9th Massachusetts Voluneteers, which consisted solely of Irish immigrants, during the Civil War.
  • David I. Walsh Statue – Honors David I. Welsh, who was the first Irish Catholic elected Governor of Massachusetts.
  • Maurice Tobin Statue – Honors Maurice Tobin, who was the Irish son of immigrants and later became the youngest state representative at the age of 25.
  • Patrick Collins Memorial – Honors Patrick Collins, who was Boston’s second Irish-born mayor.
  • John S. Copley Statue – Honors celebrated artist John S. Copley, who was the son of Irish immigrants. Copley Square was also named in his honor.
  • Boston Public Library – The oldest public library in the country and the fourth largest, the Boston Public Library houses an important collection of Irish sheet music as well as numerous newspapers, documents and photos of historic importance.
  • John Boyle O’Reilly Memorial – Honor’s John Boyle O’Reilly, who was one of the most influential Boston Irishmen in the 19th A spokesman for the downtrodden, O’Reilly was a journalist, poet and sportsman who was imprisoned for his beliefs.
  • Fenway Park – Home of the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park was constructed by an Irish immigrant named Charles E. Logue.

With 15.8 percent of Boston’s population being Irish, Irish is the single largest ethnic group in the city. Exploring the Irish Heritage Trail provides ample opportunity for residents to get back in touch with their Irish roots.

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