Friday, March 16

Let’s Hear It For The Irish

You could probably tell by my last name that I am not of Irish descent, but I was born in 1952 in New York City and I know its history. I truly believe there would be no New York City if it were not for the Irish. New York City was one of the main ports of call for the Irish, especially after Ireland’s great potato famine of 1845.

The Irish built the streets, the high rise buildings and even the subway system. Yes, there were other immigrants who also contributed, like Italians, Polish, Germans, but the Irish were the main contributors just because of their overwhelming numbers.

The Irish were also the toughest boxers; during the period of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the boxing game was dominated by the Irish, the first heavy weight champion was Irish, John L. Sullivan. Sullivan and other Irish fighters would sometimes go 60 or 70 rounds, sometimes over 100 rounds, could any fighter do that today? During that time period the police force was dominated by the Irish.

When I was growing up Irish bars were everywhere, (not in my neighborhood). There were Irish neighborhoods in each of the five boroughs, the biggest being in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. Midtown Manhattan was dotted with Irish bars and eateries. The Saint Patrick’s Day parade marching down 5th Ave. brought tens of thousands of partiers, all pretending to be Irish that day.

Yes, New York City owes the Irish a bit of gratitude for what they have contributed to that city. But let’s not forget the other cities they have also made great, like Boston and Chicago.

With over 35 million people in this country who claim Irish descent today my hat is off to you Irish Micks, great job, you did so much.    

This is one man’s opinion.  

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