Weekly Comment:
Lower Manhattan Historical Society Plans Irish 4th of July Celebrations

Irish studies scholar Maureen Murphy will lead the Lower Manhattan Historical Society’s second annual Fourth of July parade on
July 2, and raise the Irish Flag at Evacuation Day Plaza. Image courtesy Lower Manhattan Historical Society.

By Olivia O'Mahony, Editorial Assistant
June 30, 2016

Irish studies scholar Maureen Murphy will lead the Lower Manhattan Historical Society’s second annual Fourth of July parade.

The Lower Manhattan Historical Society will celebrate American and Irish independence alike this weekend with a series of events in and around Battery Park. Assisting the society in running these activities will be the Consulate of Ireland in New York, the Sons of the American Revolution, Culture Now, The New York Veteran Corps of Artillery, the Sons of the Revolution of the State of New York, and the Bowling Green Association.

On July 2nd, the activities begin with the Great Irish American Independence Day Parade at 11 a.m. The theme of this year’s parade is the contribution of the Irish to the City of New York, in order to observe the centenary of the Easter Rebellion in Ireland. The parade will begin at the Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park City at 10:45am, moving through the streets of Lower Manhattan before concluding at the flagpoles at the Evacuation Day Plaza (Bowling Green) at the southern tip of the island. The Plaza was the site at which the British troops departed New York Town in 1783, after the success of the American Revolutionary War.

"'Evacuation day' and Washington's triumphal entry in New York City, Nov. 25th, 1783," a 19th century chromolithograph by Edmund P. and Ludwig Restein. Library of Congress.

“‘Evacuation day’ and Washington’s triumphal entry in New York City, Nov. 25th, 1783,” a 19th century chromolithograph by Edmund P. and Ludwig Restein. Library of Congress.

Renowned Irish studies scholar Maureen Murphy will serve as the parade’s grand marshal, leading the route down lower Broadway and raising the Irish flag at Evacuation Day Plaza following the parade’s conclusion. During a trip to Dublin earlier this month, Murphy raised this same flag at the GPO in order to commemorate the rebels of 1916; the display of the tricolor in both Dublin and New York reflects the indomitable spirit that drove the Irish and American nations towards independence. As the past chairperson of of the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures, Murphy is an accomplished academic in the areas of Irish literature, history, folklore, and Irish-American culture. Most recently, she was an editor of the nine-volume Dictionary of Irish Biography, published in 2009.

The Alexander Hamilton Immigrant Achievement Award Ceremony will take place on July 3rd. This new award honors those of New York who were born outside of the United States and have contributed immensely to Lower Manhattan and the city as a whole. The award finds its namesake in Alexander Hamilton, the right hand man of George Washington during the American Revolution and the Nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury, who traveled to New York from the Caribbean as a teenager. Thus far, the named recipients of the award are Rick Rescolar, an English born security director who saved over 2600 lives during the collapse of the World Trade Center in 2001 (the award will be accepted posthumously by his wife.); Margaret Chin, the first Asian American to be accepted to the New York City council; and Matthew Eugene, a Brooklyn-based New York City councilman born in Haiti.

On July 4th, there will be a number of historical activities taking place in Lower Manhattan. An all-night walking tour of Lower Manhattan’s revolutionary history will be followed by a ceremonial wreath-laying on the graves of Alexander Hamilton, General Horatio Gates, and Marinus Willett in Trinity Churchyard. At Historic Castle Clinton, there will be a 51 gun salute by the New York Veteran Corps of Artillery. The National Parks service plan to host a day-long event at Federal Hall that will feature a reading of the Declaration of Independence, various musical performances, and children’s games. The Fraunces Tavern Museum will be open to the public with a reduced $1 entry fee. Finally, an interfaith and inter-religious ceremony at the John Street Methodist Church remembers the celebration of that same church on July 4th, 1827, when the practice of slavery was officially abolished in New York State.


For more information email Arthur Piccolo at the Lower Manhattan Historical Society.

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