A Memory: Lowell’s Irish Monument

This is a cross-post from the Lowell Historical Society blog. Using Dick Howe’s great photo below, I recalled the story of Lowell’s Irish Monument now located in Cardinal O’Connell Parkway.

From the Lowell Irish Monument  inscription: “…through their efforts in every facet of city life they helped establish Lowell as one of the most important cities in the nation.”

This is a great photo taken by Dick Howe of Lowell’s Irish Monument set in the Cardinal O’Connell newly restored greenspace. To the rear is the monument – bust and fountain – in memory of Lowell-born William Cardinal O’Connell – longtime Cardinal-Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Boston. This is the 100th anniversary of O’Connell’s elevation to the College of Cardinals. This monument to the Irish immigrants who came to Lowell in the 1820s to dig the canals then stayed to become citizens, raise their families and contribute to the community was a project dear to the heart of former Lowell Mayor and Lowell City Councilor Leo J. Farley. With the help of a great committee that included Susan Callery, Agnes Kirwin and Lewis Karabatsos and others – and the generosity and support of locals of Irish heritage and those that appreciated the contibutions of the Irish, the monument was designed and installed by the late Adian Luz. For those who might remember we had a Shamrock Ball (or two) with a program to raise funds for the monument. We participated in the Regatta Festivals up on the Boulevard where we sold Irish Coffee, lamb stew and Irish bread and displayed art and artifact of our heritage. In a collaboration with Dr. Patrick Mogan we sponsored a presentation of traditional Irish music and performance at the Smith-Baker Center.

In October, 1977 – a jubilant group  paraded to the monument site after a benediction service at St. Patrick Church in the Acre. A wreath was laid and the late Bishop Rocco gave his blessing and words of dedication.

Note: On behalf of the Lowell Irish Heritage Committee I gave photos and memorabilia from the monument project to Dave McKean to add to the St. Patrick Church archive.

One Response to A Memory: Lowell’s Irish Monument

  1. Daniel Patrick Murphy says:

    Here’s a ‘monument’ to my mother, aunts, and grand-aunts who worked in the Mills of Lowell. It is my way of honoring my Irish ancestors who toiled in Lowell for a better life for their families than the one they were forced to leave behind. ‘Kathleen’ was an ‘invention’ for my aunt whose real name was Catherine O’Connor Riley.


    Kathleen. Wake now.
    Go weave your waving wings,
    Taste the seeds, eat the buoyant blue,
    Inhale the flax-flower scent of loom,
    Sow your seeds in flight,
    Flap your flaxen hair in air,
    My butterfly, my Kathleen.

    Dance up the airy ferns and rushes,
    Dance up the fields of flax-flower bloom,
    Wet your patterned wings with dampness,
    Fly your supple self so fair,
    Softly lace the darkened night,
    When you were where,
    My Kathleen, my siskin care.

    Before you go, take one last dance in dreamy air,
    Leave me lowly lapping wings,
    Ascend and unfold.
    Thread through growing light.
    Let my fingers reach the dark,
    When you were where,
    My Kathleen, my linen queen.

    –Daniel Patrick Murphy