What a pleasure and a privilege it is to be writing you as president of the Museum of Newport Irish History. Please allow me to tell you a bit about my involvement in the organization and share my perspective on its recent history and bright future.
In 2005, I was invited to join the board by our founding president, the late Vince Arnold, and in 2008 I became treasurer following the passing of then-treasurer, Bill Nagle. I have witnessed the Museum grow from a concept to an actual brick and mortar operation, and seen its membership quadruple in size, now with a roster of over 800 individuals from Newport County and well beyond. What a thrilling journey it has been!
I continue to be impressed with our growth and the amazing dedication and generous support of our members and our board, without whom, none of this could have been possible.
Please take a moment to visit the “Board” page of our website so you might “meet” our new treasurer, Carol Lepley, and new vice president, Rick O’Neill, and see the full roster of all officers and other members of the board. These fellow member-volunteers are a wonderful team, and I know they will continue to serve you well.
On behalf of the membership and the board, I express much gratitude to Mike Slein, who took over as president in 2014 after Vince’s passing. Under Mike’s strong and inspiring leadership, the organization achieved tremendous growth in membership, fiscal stability, and a strengthened community presence. He continued Vince’s legacy of instilling the organization, its board and membership, with a strong sense of our mission, to honor the important contributions of the Irish in building Newport and the surrounding communities.
We have all suffered in these unprecedented times, individually and as a community. During these challenging times, the Museum endeavored to maintain contact with the membership and continue to offer you programming of value. We presented our Michael F. Crowley Lectures “virtually,” via Zoom, and continued to offer the virtual option after resuming in-person talks. We safely reopened our Interpretive Center, though on a more limited basis, and offered private tours for members. Our communications via mail, e-newsletter, and Facebook were uninterrupted, and our website, newportirishhistory.org, was redesigned to be a more useful resource. The Barney Street Cemetery continued to be maintained as a site of historic importance and interest, thanks to members’ donation of time and talent.
We are all looking forward to celebrating our heritage during the 45th Annual Newport Irish Heritage Month this March. Hopefully, and with a little bit of “Irish Luck,” I will see you at some of the activities we have planned (please read on for details).
Again, to you, our members, thank you for all your interest and support. I look forward to continuing to build on Mike and the board’s successes and to meeting you all and hearing your ideas for future activities and initiatives. To 2022!
NOTE: the Feb. 22 lecture flyer you received in the mail incorrectly stated Wednesday, instead of Tuesday as the day of week for this event. We apologize for any confusion.
ELIZABETH STACK is the executive director of the Irish American Heritage Museum, located in Albany, N.Y. The museum hosts historical exhibits as well as lectures, musical evenings and film presentations, consistent with its mission: “To preserve and tell the story of the contributions of the Irish people and their culture in America, inspiring individuals to examine the importance of their own heritage as part of the American cultural mosaic.”
Elizabeth joined the museum from Fordham University, where she taught Irish and Irish-American History and was an Associate Director of the Institute of Irish Studies. She completed her PhD at Fordham, writing about Irish and German immigrants in New York at the turn of the twentieth century. She is a native of Listowel, in Co. Kerry. We warmly welcome Dr. Stack for this, her first lecture for the Museum of Newport Irish History.
45TH ANNUAL NEWPORT IRISH HERITAGE MONTH
After the pandemic hiatus, the museum will again coordinate the Newport Irish Heritage Month community-wide online calendar of events of Irish interest, the highlight of which for many will be the Newport Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, scheduled for Saturday, March 12.
We are in the process of compiling events from community organizations and the online calendar for 2022 has not yet been published. You will be able to access the information going forward by clicking the above graphic or by visiting the the Newport Irish Heritage Month page of our website: https://newportirishhistory.org/newport-irish-heritage-month/
If you have an in-person or online event to submit for the calendar, please write to NewportIrishHistory@gmail.com with “Irish Heritage Month” in the subject line and please be sure to include your contact information.
Read on for an overview of the events the Museum has planned for this March!
MUSEUM-SPONSORED MARCH EVENTS
Plans are underway for the following museum-sponsored events for March 2022, Newport Irish Heritage Month. You’ll see some “old favorites” as well as new happenings.
Details will be mailed to all members and information and reservation links will also be available on our website.
Crowley Lecture to be presented at the Wayfinder Hotel and via Zoom on Wed. Mar. 23 at 6pm. Topic: Patrick J. Boyle, Newport’s 17-term mayor (1860-1923). Speaker: Steve Marino. Reservations will be required for in-person or Zoom participation. Details and reservation links to come.
Dancing at the Forty Steps on Cliff Walk – plans underway and we hope to offer this popular happening as a fitting close to the 45th Annual Newport Irish Heritage Month, the afternoon of Sunday, March 27. Details to follow. Click HERE to read about a past “Dancing” event.
Note: Some events are weather-dependent, some will require reservations, and some are subject to covid-related changes.
JAN. 26 VIRTUAL LECTURE RE. BERKELY
Many Museum members participated in the Redwood Library’s virtual lecture of January 26 regarding the famed Irish philosopher, George Berkeley, a resident of Newport in the Colonial era, news of which we shared with you in our last e-newsletter.
If you missed the presentation you may access the recording now on the Redwood’s YouTube channel by clicking the below green button.
Speaking of lecture recordings, if you missed any of the three Crowley Lectures we presented last fall, in person and via Zoom, you may access the recording on the “Lectures” page of our website or by clicking the below links:
“Shared Spaces: The Irish and African Heritage Experience in Gilded Age Newport” – presented by Keith Stokes & John Quinn
“The Irish Bridget: Irish Women in Domestic Service in America 1840-1930, with a Spotlight on Irish Servants of the Newport Mansions” – presented by Margaret Lynch-Brennan & Leslie B. Jones. (see below message to descendants of Irish servants)
“Cheers to Eire: The Political Life of J.Howard McGrath”- presented by Debra A. Mulligan
Click Here for Museum Board of Directors Contact Info. and list of deceased board members, fondly remembered.
The MISSION of the Museum of Newport Irish History is to tell the story of the Irish immigrants and their descendants in Newport County and the surrounding area from the Colonial era to the present. It also seeks to preserve artifacts and mementos relating to their experiences and facilitate