Part of the Hadwen House Fireside Chats Lecture Series, NHA welcomes Dr. Catherine Shannon. Dr. Shannon will deliver a lecture titled “Irish Immigration and the Creation of ‘ A Greater Ireland’ ” on August 8, at 6:00 p.m.
In this presentation, the patterns of Irish Immigration to the United States that were unleashed by the Great Irish Famine, or An Gorta Mor, beginning in 1846 and lasting down through the twentieth century will be described. This unprecedented migration of nearly 2 million Irish people, mainly to the eastern seaboard, and the often hostile reception they received, served to shape a distinct Irish American community and political consciousness that involved them directly in various campaigns in Ireland to secure economic and political reforms, and ultimately Irish independence. The role of Irish America in securing the historic Good Friday/Belfast Agreement will be briefly described.
Catherine B. Shannon is Professor Emerita of History at Westfield State University. She has written on the historical roots of Irish partition and the Northern Irish conflict in her book Arthur J. Balfour and Ireland, 1874-1922 and in chapters on Lord Randolph Churchill in The Churchills in Ireland, Connections and Controversies, ed. Robert McNamara. She was actively involved in the 1980s and 1990s in the search for a peaceful settlement in Northern Ireland by organizing conferences and symposia that promoted dialogue between nationalist and unionist politicians and commentators, and that educated Boston audiences about the complexities of the Northern Irish conflict. She has published articles on the role of women in the peace process and convened conferences in 1994 and 1999 where women from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland discussed their aspirations for peace and roles in achieving it. Her article on Bill Clinton’s historic 1995 visit to Belfast is forthcoming in a volume on Clinton’s foreign policy. Professor Shannon recently served as a guest historian for Irish related exhibits at the New Bedford Whaling Museum and the Massachusetts Historical Society.