Indiana O’Jones: UMass Lowell’s Irish Acre Dig in ‘Globe’

People are reading about Lowell’s Irish-American roots all over New England this morning. The UMass Lowell/Queens University of Northern Ireland archaeological project on the grounds of St. Patrick Church in the Acre earned major coverage in the Boston Globe today (bottom of Page One). I was on a National Park canal tour the other day when long-time Park staffer Alex Demas, who was guiding my group, wondered out loud about the name of the legendary Irish immigrant foreman who brought the first canal-diggers to Lowell: Hugh Cummisky. (The ‘net says most names ending in “sky” are variations of family names from Russia or Eastern Europe). Alex led a fascinating tour, by the way. He’s a wonderful storyteller when it comes to Lowell history.  Read Peter Schworm’s story here from, and consider subscribing to the Globe if you appreciate the reporting.

The immigrants? work of digging the canals along the Merrimack River to power Lowell?s mills was arduous and sometimes dangerous.

Photo courtesy of Lowell National Historical Park via

One Response to Indiana O’Jones: UMass Lowell’s Irish Acre Dig in ‘Globe’

  1. Steve says:

    Some names sound Italian or Polish when they’re translated from Irish into English.
    Cummisky was originally Cumuscach in Irish. “Ach” is a more common ending in that language. The English are “Sasonachs.”