The Highbridge Irish – A lecture by Kate Feighery

Saturday, March 26th 2011 at 2pm

Columbia University Law School,
Jerome Greene Auditorium, room 101
435 West 116th Street, NYC

The New York Irish History Roundtable is pleased to host a talk by Kate Feighery on the Irish community in the Highbridge section of the Bronx.

Highbridge, the neighborhood in the southwestern section of the Bronx, took its name from the massive stone bridge (spanning the Harlem River) constructed there in the 1840s to carry water to the island of Manhattan. The history of the Irish in Highbridge can be traced from the mid-nineteenth century, when homes of Irish immigrant workers building the Croton Reservoir first began to replace earlier farmlands and sprawling estates.

It wasn’t until a century later, however, that the true strength of Irish connections to the neighborhood reached its peak, a time when the neighborhood has been described by its former residents as made up of anywhere from seventy-five to ninety-nine percent Irish and Irish Americans. While the ethnic makeup of Highbridge has changed drastically since the late 1960s, remnants of the once-pervasive Irish community can still be found today; both in the physical sense, through the buildings and churches that stand as testaments and, more powerfully, in the memories of those individuals whose families were once a piece of this Irish community.

Utilizing archival, census, and church records, as well as oral histories and memoirs of former residents of the neighborhood, Feighery’s talk will focus mainly on the twentieth century Irish experience in Highbridge, and its connections to the larger Irish communities of the Bronx and other parts of New York City.

Kate Feighery holds a Master’s Degree in Irish and Irish American Studies from Glucksman Ireland House NYU. She currently works as a Project Editor in the College Department at W. W. Norton & Company, while continuing to pursue her interest in the history of the Irish in New York.

Suggested Donation for refreshments: $3

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