Lowell’s Irish Monument – 1977 Dedication Remembered

From the 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 Hertiage Committee I gave photos and memorabilia from the monument project to Dave McKean to add to the St. Patrick Church archive.