About us   NJ Champions of Irish Freedom   Biographies   Articles   Fenian Memoribilia    External Links       Fenian Poems

Last Updated
 02/02/2017 


Lydia Barrington Darragh 1729 - 1789)

American patriot, Washington spy

Lydia Barrington Darragh, the youngest child of six children, was born to John Barrington, a weaver by trade, and Mary Aldridge Barrington in Dublin, Ireland in 1729.  The Barrington’s were members of the Religious Society of Friends, nicknamed Quakers, whose English ancestors resettled in Ireland in the 16th century.

The Religious Society of Friends was founded by George Fox in England in 1652(1). Simply stated Quakerism embraced pacifism as a core principle, rejected the trimmings of organized religion, promoted social reform, and emphasized caring for the less fortunate within and without their own communities as a unselfish expression of their faith.

The first recorded Quaker meeting held in Ireland was in 1654 at the home of William Edmundson in Lurgan, Co. Armagh.  Edmundson, the acknowledge founder of Quakerism in Ireland was born in England. He resettled in Ireland after the Cromwellian defeat of the Irish Confederate Armies in 1653. --- continue


Padraic Henry Pearse (1879 – 1916)

Educator, linguist, lawyer, poet, playwright, author, military leader

Padraic Henry Pearse, the second of four children, was born on November 10, 1879 to James Pearse and Margaret Pearse (née Brady).

His father, James, who was born in England, was a mason and monumental sculptor who sculpted the pediment adorning the Bank of Ireland (formerly the Parliament House) in College Green and the 12 statues in the niches of the tower of John's Lane Church located on Thomas Street in Dublin.

His mother, Margaret, who was born in Dublin was elected a Sinn Fein member to the 2nd Dail Eireann that convened in August 1921 and functioned until June 1922. After the Dail accepted the controversial Anglo-Irish Treaty by 64 to 57 votes on January 7th 1922, Margaret together with the other opposing Sinn Fein members left the Dail (1).

During his childhood Pearse was greatly influenced by his father’s embrace of libertarian ideals that embodied political and personal freedom, civil liberties and social justice. The embrace of these ideals by Pearse gave substance to his evolving censorious attitude towards cultural imperialism and colonial rule, particularly as applied to Ireland and its people. In addition to his father’s influence, which was significant, he grew up in midst of the Irish Literary Revival, a movement associated with the revival of interest in Ireland's Gaelic heritage and the consequential growth of Irish nationalism.

continue


Mary Maguire Colum (1887-1957)

Irish Nationalist, Literary Critic, Writer

 Mary Maquire Colum was born Mary Maguire on June 14, 1884 in Collooney(1) Co. Sligo to Charles Maquire and Catherine Gunning.  Mary’s father, Charles, was a constable of the Royal Irish Constabulary and, later on in his carrier, a District Inspector.  Her mother, who died in 1895, was a descendent of the mid-18th century Irish family that produced the alluring and vivacious rag-to-riches Gunning sisters who charmed, wowed and married British aristocrats.

After her mother’s death Mary went to live with her maternal grandmother, Catherine Gunning, in Ballissodare in Co. Sligo.  At the age of thirteen she enrolled in the Convent of St. Louis boarding school in Monaghan. After completing her secondary education there she entered University College Dublin (UCD) where she studied literature.

Mary arrived in Dublin at the height of the Irish Literary Revival that took hold and flourished during the latter half of the 19th century through the first quarter of the 20th century. The movement spearheaded the revival of Ireland's Gaelic heritage and the growth of Irish nationalism. Its participants included such notables as James Clarence Mangan, William Butler Yeats, Douglas Hyde, Maud Gonne, Ella Young, George Russell, Thomas McDonagh, Alice Milligan, Padraic Pearse, James Connolly and many other talented writers, artists and warriors, whose hands and minds shaped and changed the course of Irish history.---  continue


James Orr  (1770 - 1816)

Poet, United Irishman, 1798 Rising participant

James Orr, an only child, was born to James Orr and his wife in the village of Ballycarry between Larne and Carrickfergus in Co. Antrim in 1770.  James’s father was a weaver by trade who also cultivated a small tract of land on the outskirts of the village to supplement the family’s larder.

The village of Ballycarry was established by a Scottish personage, William Edmonstone of Duntreagh, during the Plantation of Ulster in the early decades of the 17th century.  The Orr’s were one of the settler families brought to Ballycarry by Edmonstone to maintain and defend his considerable estate of 3,000 acres of arable land confiscated from native landowners.  The settlers included clerics, farmers, craftsmen and overseers possessing the necessary skills to establish, maintain and secure a plantation settlement on confiscated land. 

Many of those settlers, including the Orr family were members of the Auld Licht (Old Light) faction of the Presbyterian Kirk (Church) who subscribed to a very conservative interpretation of Presbyterianism. As a consequence, James was not allowed to attend the local Presbyterian school because his parents believed that the teacher, who was a New Licht (New Light) Presbyterian, would expose James to a more liberal interpretation of Presbyterianism: an anathema to members of the conservative faction. -- continue


Margaret Skinnider (1892 - 1971)

Scottish-born suffragette, Irish Republican and veteran of the 1916 Easter Rising

Margaret Skinnider, the youngest of five children, was born to James Skinnider and Jane Dowd on May 28, 1892 in Coatbridge on the outskirts of Glasgow in Scotland.  Her father was born in Cornagilta in Co. Monaghan and her mother in Barrhead in East Renfrewshire, Scotland.

 In the latter half on 19th century Coatbridge was a booming town owing to the discovery of large deposits of coal and iron ore and, consequently, a choice locations for many of the Irish  fleeing the “Great Hunger” of 1845 through 1850.   By 1851 the Irish constituted 35% of the of the town’s population.  By the turn of the 20th century that had dropped to 15% owing to the depletion of the coal and iron ore deposits and the consequent reduction in the work force needed to man the mines and smelters.

 Coatbridge was, and sometimes still is referred to as “little Ireland”, a not so unique distinction in that it was applied to other towns and areas in Scotland including the Cowgate in Edinburgh, the birthplace of James Connolly. During Skinnider’s childhood it had an abundance of Irish social, cultural and political organizations frequented and supported by exiled Irish immigrants. The influence exerted by these organizations on the attitudes and loyalties of the children growing up in places like Coatbridge, particularly, with respect to Ireland and its people, was the real deal as opposed to what they were taught in school which, to them, was unbelievable and, generally, dismissed as propaganda.

continue

 

                                      

They think that they have pacified Ireland. They think that they have purchased half of us and intimidated the other half. They think that they have foreseen everything, think that they have provided against everything; but the fools, the fools, the fools! - they have left us our Fenian dead, and while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace.

Padraic Pearse oration given at 

Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa's funeral on Aug. 1, 1915


New Jersey Champions of Irish Freedom 2015

Desmond A. Boomer (1931-1993)

Desmond A. Boomer (Des)   from Kearny was one of eight children born and raised on Clondara Street on the Falls Road Belfast on September 27, 1931. He emigrated to Kearny in 1957 where he met his wife Bridget (nee Mulrennan) who also was born in Co. Roscommon, Ireland. They were married in Morristown and shared 32 wonderful years together. -- continue

 


John V Kelly  (1926 - 2009)

former New Jersey Assemblyman, Bank Executive, Mayor of Nutley

 John V Kelly, 83, of Nutley passed away on October 30th, 2009 in Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville.

Mr Kelly was born on July 11, 1926, to Joseph and Mary Silvestri Kelly on Griffith Street in Jersey City. John got his toughness from his Irish dad who was signed by the NY Yankees as a catcher and his moral compass from his old fashion Italian mom, who taught him the importance of being a good compassionate Christian and to always try to help people. John would follow his mother’s advice for his entire life. -- continue


Andrew J. Melillo  (1939 – 2011)

Born August 23, 1939 in Newark NJ, Andrew J. Melillo, is the son of Scotch and Italian parentage. At the age of 17 he joined the US. Navy from 1956 to 1960 and served most of his time, as Chief Petty Officer at the Clooney Naval Base in Derry, Northern Ireland. Assigned to the radio communications unit, he had considerable association with the people of Derry; it is also where he met his loving wife Dora Doherty Melillo. -- continue


1916 Easter Rising Centennial Commemoration

The Following videos were shown at a 1916 Easter Rising Centennial Commemoration held in New York on April 24, 2016.

Video 1 pays homage to the Volunteers executed and killed in action 

Video 2 pays homage to the children killed during the week of the Rising.

Click on the images below to download and view the videos

    

                           Video 1                                                            Video 2


Roger Casement's speech from the dock

Roger Casement (1864-1916) was a British consul by profession, well known for his reports and activities against human rights abuses in the Congo. He was executed for treason in August 1916, following the Easter Rising against British rule in Ireland earlier that year. This is the speech he made after his conviction on 29 June.


My Lord Chief Justice, as I wish my words to reach a much wider audience than I see before me here, I intend to read all that I propose to say. What I shall read now is something I wrote more than twenty days ago. I may say, my lord, at once, that I protest against the jurisdiction of this court in my case on this charge, and the argument, that I am now going to read, is addressed not to this court, but to my own countrymen.

There is an objection, possibly not good in law, but surely good on moral grounds, against the application to me here of this old English statute, 565 years old, that seeks to deprive an Irishman today of life and honour, not for "adhering to the King's enemies", but for adhering to his own people.

When this statute was passed, in 1351, what was the state of men's minds on the question of a far higher allegiance -- that of a man to God and His kingdom? The law of that day did not permit a man to forsake his Church, or deny his God, save with his life. The "heretic", then, had the same doom as the "traitor"... continue


Teeling Monument, Carricknagat, Co Sligo

On 5 September 1798, the Franco-Irish troops pushed north through Co. Sligo but were halted by a cannon which the British forces had installed above Union Rock near Collooney.

A young Irish aide to General Humbert, Lieutenant Bartholomew Teeling, distinguished himself during the encounter. Teeling cleared the way for the advancing Irish-French army by single handedly disabling a British gunnery post located high on Union Rock when he broke from the French ranks and galloped towards the gunner's position. Teeling was armed with a pistol and he shot the cannon's marksman and captured the cannon. After the loss of the cannon position the French and Irish advanced and the British retreated towards their barracks at Sligo, leaving 60 dead and 100 prisoners.

 

 

 

 


Ballykissane Monument, Killorglin, Co. Kerry

Commemorates the deaths of Con Keating, Donal Sheahan and Charlie Monaghan at Ballykissane pier on 21

April 1916 as they attempted to assist the importation of arms on board the Aud for the 1916 Rising.

  

Con Keating      Charlie Monaghan      Donal Sheahan

These were the first Volunteers to die in the Easter Rising

 


Roger Casement Monument , Co. Kerry
At a spot on Banna Strand adjacent to here Roger Casement, Robert Monteith and a third man, came ashore from a German submarine on Good Friday morning 21st. April 1916 in furthering the cause of Irish freedom’

 

 

 

 

 


Robert Emmet statue

The Robert Emmet statue was sculpted by Jerome Stanley Connor and is located in the small Emmet Park, near Massachusetts Avenue and 24th Street, in Sheridan Circle.  The inscription on the base of the statue says "Robert Emmet, Irish Patriot, 1778-1803".  The Bronze plaque on the pedestal is inscribed with excerpts from the speech Emmet delivered the day before his execution.

The excerpt from his speech reads

The excerpt from his speech reads: "I wished to procure for my country the guarantee which Washington procured for America. I have parted from everything that was dear to me in this life for my country's cause. When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then let my epitaph be written."

 

 


Commodore John Barry Memorial 

It cannot be done, they said.
To John McInerney (left), and Jack O’Brien (right), “cannot be done” was never the right answer.

With Irish tenacity, the two men set out to secure the Commodore’s place in history once and for all. Along with the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the largest Irish Catholic fraternal organization in the US, and their chapters in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia, McInerney and O’Brien took on this project with a resounding and unflinching determination and resilience. No obstacle was insurmountable, no odds were too long, and no goal unachievable.
Through a network of politicians, retired and active admirals and captains, businessmen, and finally retirees with plenty of time to make calls, McInerney and O’Brien made progress. Despite all of the obstacles in their way, despite all of the roadblocks placed in front of them by those who did not wish to see this project through, they marched on, without being deterred, without being discouraged.
And there was much to be discouraged about.
 

Click here to read the story in its entirety

 


Click here to view other monuments

email --- feniangraves@optonline.net