Digging in Lowell’s Acre and Ireland’s County Tyrone

The Cummisky Homestead dig, County Tyrone in Ireland taken from the “Lowell Irish” blog site.

In today’s Boston Globe correspondent David Rattigan gives us an update on two archaeological digs – one in Lowell, Massachusetts and the other in Country Tyrone, Ireland. The joint project of students and faculty from UMass Lowell and Queen’s University in Belfast got in the ground last August when a dig was opened on the grounds of St. Patrick’s Church in the Acre. Students searched for any remnant of the lives of the Irish immigrants who came to Lowell to dig canals for the textile mills. This year the Lowell site was exchanged for one in the town of Crossan in County Tyrone, Ireland – at the home and birthplace of Irish leader Hugh Cummisky who led the Irish laborers to Lowell.

The projects are all about learning the history of an important immigrant group – the Lowell Irish and making those connections today to a better understanding of the past.

This project is coordinated by the UMass Lowell’s Center for Irish Partnerships. Professor Frank Talty explained why the Irish interest in such a joint effort:

“Queen’s had an interest in Lowell because of their historical archeology project,’’ said Frank Talty, political science professor and codirector for the center. “Lowell, they knew, was an early Irish center of immigration. The more we collaborated, the more we identified a common interest of studying the pre- and post-immigration lifestyles of the Irish – before they left Ireland, and once they got to Lowell, how it changed.’’

Read all about the focus and experiences of these Lowell and Belfast student/faculty teams and what they found here at boston.com. Don’t miss the observations and commentary of St. Patrick’s Church and Lowell Irish historian David McKeon told on his blog “Lowell Irish.” McKean is a leader in this project who traveled to Ireland as part of the team.