Geoffrey Cobb's Blog (14)

Mayor Patrick “Battle Axe” Gleason of Long Island City

What Marc Antony said about Julius Caesar in his famous play about the Roman dictator, “The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones,” is also true about Long Island City’s legendary Irish mayor Paddy Battle Axe Gleason. A deeply polarizing figure, Gleason was attacked by his enemies for his alleged corruption, buffoonery,…

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Added by Geoffrey Cobb on June 20, 2021 at 11:30am — No Comments

A Bit of Killarney in Northern California

An Irish visitor to Northern California’s grandiose  Filoli Mansion, nestled at the edge of the towering oak and redwood-forests in the coastal foothills just 30 miles south of San Francisco, might be gob smacked by the amazing similarities the stately residence has to Killarney’s famed Muckross House, and he or she would not be wide of the mark. The…

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Added by Geoffrey Cobb on April 7, 2021 at 8:00pm — No Comments

John Quinn, The Irish American Patron of Genius

The life and accomplishments of John Quinn are so improbable that if they were fiction no one would believe them. The son of a baker from a small town in Ohio, Quinn, by the time of his untimely death in 1924 at the age of 54, had not only amassed the greatest collection of…

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Added by Geoffrey Cobb on March 27, 2021 at 9:30pm — No Comments

Lucy Burns, Fighter for Women's Suffrage

December 22nd, 2020, marked the 121st birthday of heroic women’s rights fighter Lucy Burns. Today, few remember Burns and take a woman’s right to vote for granted, forgetting that a century ago women were denied this basic American freedom. They also forget that women like Burns were imprisoned…

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Added by Geoffrey Cobb on March 3, 2021 at 7:30pm — No Comments

Patrick Gilmore, The 'Father of the American Band'

Ever wonder who started the tradition of welcoming in the new year in Times Square? Well, it was a Famine Irish immigrant, Galway man Patrick Gilmore who was the most well-known Irish immigrant of his day and a famous person, but today sadly, Gilmore and his contributions to American music are…

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Added by Geoffrey Cobb on March 3, 2021 at 7:30pm — No Comments

Kathleen Daly Clarke (1878- 1972): Dublin’s First Female Mayor

Like many women deserving of greater recognition, Kathleen Daly Clarke is often overshadowed by her famous husband, Thomas, one of the men who proclaimed the Irish Republic and was shot by the British for their role in the Dublin Rising of 1916; however, without his wife, Thomas Clarke would never have…

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Added by Geoffrey Cobb on March 2, 2021 at 10:00pm — 2 Comments

Calvary Cemetery -- Historic Resting Place of the New York Irish

Driving out of frenzied Manhattan heading out over the 59th Street Bridge and through the congested highway traffic east into Queens, the dense urban landscape is suddenly broken up by a jarring sight- an immense sea of green. Coming closer, the driver, who sees a vast number of gravestones and…

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Added by Geoffrey Cobb on March 2, 2021 at 9:00pm — No Comments

An Irish-American Family's Huge Sacrifices in World War I

I have lived in Greenpoint, Brooklyn for decades, yet somehow I was oblivious to the fact that McCarren Park has a Nulty Square. Knowing that Nulty was an Irish name, I became curious about the person’s identity and uncovered a long-forgotten story of a family of Irish-American heroes and their grieving…

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Added by Geoffrey Cobb on March 2, 2021 at 8:00pm — No Comments

Martin Sheridan NYPD Cop, Olympic Gold Medalist and Pandemic Victim

(Above: Celtic Park where Sheridan and other Irish American athletes trained.)

It is easy to think that we are in new territory with the pandemic, but a century ago, New York City was also gripped by a pandemic, the dreaded Spanish Influenza that killed 20 to 50 million people worldwide. Here in the U.S we lost by some…

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Added by Geoffrey Cobb on March 2, 2021 at 7:30pm — 1 Comment

Fr. Sylvester Malone: Famed for Love of America and Ecumenicism

When Fr. Sylvester Malone died Dec. 29, 1899, almost at the very end of the century, it signaled the end of an era not only for the Catholic community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn but also for the entire neighborhood. A beloved and respected figure among all local residents, Fr. Malone (pictured…

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Added by Geoffrey Cobb on April 7, 2019 at 8:30pm — No Comments

William Sampson: United Irishman and Protector of Religious Freedom in Precedent Setting New York Court Case

William Sampson is one of the most important Irish-Americans in the legal history of New York State, but sadly few remember his name or how this Protestant Irishman made an invaluable contribution both to the rights of Catholic New Yorkers and to the religious freedom of all New Yorkers. Sampson was born…

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Added by Geoffrey Cobb on March 25, 2019 at 10:00pm — No Comments

Fin Dwyer: Irish Podcaster with Worldwide Fan Base

As a historian, I attend many historical lectures, book readings and walking tours, but notice that sadly few young people seem to be interested in the past. That is why the success of Kilkenny’s Fin Dwyer’s podcasts with people of all ages is even more impressive.

I…

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Added by Geoffrey Cobb on March 23, 2019 at 12:00pm — No Comments

'Wild Bill' Donovan -- Irish-American War Hero and CIA Founder

Among “Wild Bill “ Donovan’s many fascinating friends was Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, the fictional, globe trotting superspy. Donovan’s real-life feats, however, surpassed even Bond’s wildest exploits.

Perhaps no other Irish-American served his country more daringly, yet Donovan’s largely…

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Added by Geoffrey Cobb on March 17, 2019 at 9:30am — No Comments

Rinty Monaghan -- Beloved Belfast Champion Boxer

His fists earned him a world featherweight boxing title, but his songs and geniality won him his city’s hearts. Nicknamed the singing Irishman, Rinty Monaghan, even decades after he left the ring, remains a beloved Belfast icon. In a town full of fascinating characters, Monaghan has proven to be one of…

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Added by Geoffrey Cobb on March 7, 2019 at 1:00pm — No Comments

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