March is Irish American Heritage Month. Woodlawn Cemetery pays tribute to the Irish Americans who helped shape New York City’s history.
The Irish were among the first European settlers to come to North America in the early 1600s. Ireland’s 1845 Potato Blight, also known as the Irish Potato Famine, is often credited with launching the second wave of Irish immigration to America. Throughout the Famine years, the peak of Irish immigration, more than 1.5 million Irish sailed to North America. The Irish, like most other immigrant groups, brought their music and dance, especially Irish step dancing, with them to America, and incorporated these traditions into their new lives.
In time, the sum total of Irish Americans exceeded the entire population of Ireland. Quite famously host to cultures and traditions from around the world, New York City has the biggest Irish American population compared to all other cities in the United States. The Irish are one of New York City’s major and important ethnic groups, and the Irish presence in the city – and America – is ubiquitous. Woodlawn is an integral part of the Irish community in New York City. New York City’s “Little Ireland” in Woodlawn is known for its pubs, Irish food stores, and plethora of green awnings and signs.
Famous Irish American residents of Woodlawn Cemetery include actor Joseph Murphy, lawyer and patron of music William Sullivan, Union Army officer in the Civil War Thomas Joseph Kelly, operetta composer Victor Herbert, and writer Herminie Templeton Kavanagh known for her short stories. As we celebrate Irish American Heritage Month, let us honor the achievements and contributions of Irish immigrants, and their experience in American life and culture.
Discover New York’s deep connection to Ireland at our family-friendly Irish American Heritage Trolley Tour on Sunday, March 12 at 3:00 PM. For tickets, please click here.