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Home > My Ancestors > Irish > Timeline: 1950-present

  • 1952: Thomas O'Neill is elected to the United States House of Representatives.
  • 1953: Eugene O'Neill, Irish America's greatest playwright, dies in Boston and is buried at Forest Hills Cemetery.
  • 1959: John F. Collins is elected mayor of Boston. He builds the "New Boston."
  • 1960: John Fitzgerald Kennedy is elected the 35th President of the United States. Boston delivers 75% of its votes for Kennedy.
  • 1960: John McCormick, of South Boston is elected Speaker of the House from 1960-1970.
  • 1962: Edward Moore Kennedy is elected to his first term as Senator.
  • 1963: President Kennedy visits his ancestral home in County Wexford, Ireland.
  • 1968: Kevin H. White becomes mayor of Boston, a position he keeps until 1983, when he retires from public office.
  • 1970: 186,000 Bostonians claim Irish ancestry.
  • 1975: A Boston chapter of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann (Irish Musicians Association) is formed to promote traditional Irish music and dance in New England.
  • 1976: The American Ireland Fund is created in Boston to promote education, reconciliation and peace in Northern Ireland.
  • 1977: Congressman Thomas "Tip" O'Neill is elected Speaker of the House of Representatives.
  • 1979: October 1st, Pope John Paul II arrives in Boston to begin his first papal tour of America. 1 million people attend his mass on Boston Common. On October 20th, President Carter dedicates The John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library.
  • 1980-1990: A new wave of illegal Irish settle in Boston, driven here by high unemployment in Ireland..
  • 1986-1989: Congressman Bruce Morrison (CT)and Brian Donnelly (MA)sponsor two bills designed to legitimize the status of illegal Irish, most of whom live in Massachusetts and New York.
  • 1986: Massachusetts becomes the first state to adopt the MacBride Principles, a set of equal opportunity guidelines for Northern Ireland. The Principles were named after Nobel Peace Prize winner Sean MacBride, and were modeled after the Sullivan Principles in South Africa. The Irish Patoral Centre is founded in Dorchester.
  • 1987: The Irish Immigration Reform Movement (IIRM) opens a Boston chapter to deal with the growing problem of undocumented Irish immigrants living without visas.
  • 1990: There are 78,944 first generation Irish Americans in Massachusetts. 26% of Massachusetts residents claim at least some Irish ancestry, the highest percentage of any in the United States.
  • 1991: The University of Massachusetts convenes an international symposium to discuss human rights in Northern Ireland and South Africa. Boston's Irish Immigration Center is founded to help Irish and other immigrants adapt and prosper in the United States.
  • 1992: Boston College creates an Irish Music Program on campus to study and promote Irish traditional music and dance. Music director Seamus Connolly, creates the annual Gaelic Roots music festival. Martin O'Brien of Belfast is awarded the Reebok Human Rights award in Boston for his efforts to create a Bill of Rights in Northern Ireland.
  • 1993: Raymond L. Flynn is appointed as United States Ambassador to the Vatican. As Mayor of Boston from 1984-93, Flynn was the last of a sixty year unbroken line of Irish- American mayors.
  • 1994: Gerry Adams, president of Sinn Fein political party, is permitted to visit the United States after being banned for over a decade. He is welcomed by Boston's Irish community, and gives a lecture at Harvard University.
  • 1995: The first annual Cambridge St. Patrick's Day parade includes 6 gay groups. This comes after a parade in South Boston banned gays from attending in a case which went all the way to the Supreme Court.
  • 1996: Ireland's President Mary Robinson visits the future site of the Boston Irish Famine Memorial. She returns in 1997 to dedicate the Cambridge Irish Famine Memorial on Cambridge Commons. Boston hosts the North American Irish Dance Championships, attracting over 2,500 dancers.
  • 1997: The Cambridge Irish Famine Memorial is the first United States tribute to the 150th Anniversary of the Irish Famine.
  • 1998: The Boston Irish Famine Memorial is officially unveiled on June 28 in downtown Boston. Over 7,000 people attend the ceremony. In October Ireland's President Mary McAleese visits the memorial during a visit to Boston.
  • 1999: In June 1998 the Irish Technology Career Expo was held at the Hynes Convention Center in an unprecedented effort to lure Irish immigrants in Boston back to Ireland to help fuel its booming economy.

See 1850-1949




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