A New Film About the Irish in New York – Filmmakers Need your Help!

April 11, 2011

Is there anyone out there who can help these folks with archival footage or old photographs of Irish family life in New York?

The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland and TG4 are responsible for making and airing high-quality films and television programs, and we would like to see the filmmakers get some help from the Irish-American community here.

Ardnawark, Barnesmore, Co, Donegal, Ireland.

Archive Film Footage and Stills

The Irish New Yorkers, an important new documentary film will tell the story of the Irish in New York. A two hour film that will bring audiences to the very heart of the Irish and Irish American community in New York and explore what it means to be Irish and Irish American. It will be a unique story of a people who fought hard to create the most successful Irish society abroad and those today with its future in their hands.

We need your help to tell that story. We are in search of New York’s unseen film footage that will take a fresh look at the social and cultural history of the Irish in New York. We are asking people and communities to delve into both their own and their grandparent’s attics, to dust down their old cine cans, Hi8 reels and VHS’s. Perhaps you may discover, and indeed rescue, little gems that will give us a treasure chest of history, offering us a unique and very real glimpse into life in the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s.

Also, any films or photographs you have of preparations for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. We are looking for footage from the 1930s-1970s that will show life in an Irish American neighbourhood, footage of New York city, pictures or films of Irish immigrant families and the lives they led in the NYPD, the FDNY, sporting lives in the GAA and the Church. It may be a picture or home movie of your grandmother, old friend, or relative, or neighbours but all of these sources will help us to weave together the rich tapestry that is the history of the Irish in New York.

If you have any home movies or photos you would like to share with us please email:


Ciara Baker, BA (History)

Archive Researcher

Real Films

Award winning Irish documentary filmmakers Garry Keane and Aideen Kane have been awarded funding by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland and TG4 to make The Irish New Yorkers. Twenty year veterans of documentary filmmaking their most recent film The Writing in The Sky was critically acclaimed and will soon be seen at film festivals worldwide.


Tenement Museum Talk about Governor Hugh Carey

January 25, 2011

January. 31 at 6:30 PM

The Man Who Saved New York: Hugh Carey and the Great Fiscal Crisis of 1975 with Robert Polner and Seymour P. Lachman

Are there similarities between the times Carey faced and today? Is that why Cuomo sent this book to union leaders and to his staff? Tonight’s conversation with Tom Robbins and Kevin Baker unravels the issues behind these questions.

Tenement Talks are free and held at the Museum Shop at
108 Orchard unless otherwise noted. RSVP to events@tenement.org

RSVPs are appreciated to help us gauge attendance and besaccommodate our guests, but they do not guarantee seating. Purchase a copy of the night’s book at 212.431.0233 ext 259
and we’ll reserve a seat for you.

Don’t forget! Open House January 22

January 12, 2011

Just a reminder…see the listing below about the Irish Counties Exhibit at the Irish Consulate.

It’s Saturday,  January 22nd 11 am to 4pm

See it before it closes.

County Societies in Irish America: The Fifth Province

November 19, 2010

The Fifth Province:
County Societies in Irish America

November 15, 2010 through January 25, 2011

at Consulate General of Ireland, New York City

The impulse to recreate a sense of home through social, cultural and sporting events can be documented wherever the Irish have settled in the world.  New York City can claim the largest cluster of Irish county societies, with the greatest longevity.

These dynamic societies have provided benevolent, protective, and fraternal sustenance for Irish immigrants since the late 1840s, especially after the founding of their umbrella body, the United Irish Counties Association, in 1904.  A strong county connection also nurtured and helped preserve Irish identity for the next generation.

At one time or another people from every one of Ireland’s thirty-two counties have come together in this way, encouraging strong relationships built around common roots.

Join us in celebrating the lifetime commitment many Irish men and women made to their heritage through membership in county societies. For them, America is Ireland’s Fifth Province.

November 15, 2010 – January 25, 2011
Consulate General of Ireland, New York
345 Park Avenue, 17th floor
between 51st and 52nd Street
New York, NY 10154

For an appointment
Tel: (212) 319-2554
Hours: Monday – Friday 12-2pm
Identification required to enter the building


Saturday, January 22, 2011, 11am–4pm
Come record your Irish county society stories or donate materials to the Archives of Irish America!

An exhibition by New York University’s Glucksman Ireland House & Archives of Irish America, created in partnership with the United Irish Counties Association of New York with funding from the Government of Ireland’s Emigrant Support Programme.

Monday, March 22 at the Tenement Museum

March 20, 2010

 Monday, March 22 at 6:30 PM

108 Orchard Street (Delancey).  Seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.


King of the Bowery:  Big Tim Sullivan, Tammany Hall and New York City from the Gilded Age to the Progressive Era

Richard F. Welch introduced by Peter Quinn

 A poor Irish kid from the Five Points, Tammany chieftain “Big Tim” Sullivan used ambition, wiles, and charisma to become the most powerful politician in New York. He shrewdly embraced everyone, recruiting Jewish and Italian newcomers into his largely Irish organization, earning votes and creating a personal following that made him “King of the Lower East Side” for over two decades.


Annie Moore’s Picture in Today’s New York Times

December 29, 2009

Courtesy of the Family of Anna Moore Shulman

Relatives Say Photos Depict Ellis Island’s First Immigrant

Published: December 28, 2009
For more than a century, she was lost to history. Three years ago, she was rediscovered. As it turned out, the first immigrant to set foot on Ellis Island when it opened on Jan. 1, 1892, an Irish girl named Annie Moore, did not go west and die in Texas, as had long been believed, but spent her days as a poor immigrant on the Lower East Side, dying in 1924.

A picture said to be of Annie Moore, found in a scrapbook.

Now, relatives have found two photographs of the woman they believe is the real Annie Moore.

“It is of Annie, probably in a photography studio with a baby girl, maybe a year old, in her lap,” said Michael Shulman, Annie’s great-nephew.

The story of Annie Moore, who set foot on Ellis Island on her 15th birthday, is memorialized in song and in bronze statues in New York Harbor and Ireland.

In 2006, Mr. Shulman joined four generations of descendants of Annie Moore Schayer to celebrate her rediscovery by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, a genealogist, who teamed up with Brian G. Andersson, the New York City commissioner of records, to figure out that Annie never left New York, as had long been believed.

“Megan called a few months ago, and we were just chatting,” Mr. Shulman recalled. “Then I mentioned it to my sister, Pat Somerstein, and we said, ‘Let’s start a real hunt for a picture.’ “She found one in a collection given to her by a cousin. The back of the picture is inscribed ‘Ma Schayer.’ The clothing and the quality of the picture indicate that it’s of the right time period.”

Schayer was Annie Moore’s married name. The photograph is of a woman with an infant (Mrs. Schayer and her husband had at least 11 children). A second photograph, believed to be of Mrs. Schayer years later, was found by Maureen Peterson, one of Mrs. Schayer’s great-granddaughters, in a scrapbook.

“Like the photo of Annie with a baby, this one also says ‘Mama Schayer’ on the back,” Ms. Smolenyak Smolenyak said. “Maureen believes that the handwriting is that of her Aunt Geri, who passed away in 2001. Geri was the so-called ‘crazy aunt’ who constantly insisted that her grandmother was ‘the Annie.’ She’s the reason why some of the current generation knew this part of their family history.”

Roundtable Event Saturday, December 5

November 27, 2009

Irish Immigrants & County Associations in

NYC, 1946-61

Saturday, December 5, at 2-3:30 p.m.

Mother Seton National Shrine (Our Lady of the Rosary Hall),

7 State Street (between Pearl & Whitehall Streets)

opposite Battery Park, Manhattan

Dr. Miriam Nyhan will discuss the unique presence and important roles of Irish county associations in New York City during the years following World War II. The discussion will be based on her extensive research using oral interviews and archival research, and on her analyses of these special associations, their yearly activities, and their enthusiastic participants.

The post World War II era saw a massive exodus of migrants from the island of Ireland. In fact, between 1946 and 1961 approximately 500,000 emigrated: the equivalent of approximately 17% of the population. In New York, county associations played an important role in the Irish communities that greeted the new migrants. These societies provided a means by which immigrants from particular counties could reunite, socialize, and provide contacts or assistance. For many newly arrived migrants, a county association meeting or event was the first port-of-call in the search for permanent housing, jobs, or a familiar accent. Each county, through these organizations, became a guardian to those it represented, and provided invaluable safety valves to the needs of its county-people. The annual calendar of the associations was structured around key events which punctuated the year, with St. Patrick’s Day representing the highlight. As a general rule, larger counties had larger and more vibrant associations – but demographics were not the only indicator of the association strength.

Dr. Miriam Nyhan will discuss the significance that county associations had for post-war immigrants from Ireland. Starting from a premise that we can only understand that wave of immigrants by looking at the Ireland people left and the New York they arrived in, she will clarify the many roles counties associations fulfilled. To widen the focus, experiences of Irish immigrants and county associations in post-war London will also be discussed.

Miriam Nyhan is Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow at Glucksman Ireland House, New York University. She received her M.Phil. from University College, Cork and her Ph.D. from the the European University Institute. Dr. Nyhan is the author of ‘Are You Still Below?’ The Ford Marina Plant, Cork 1917-1984. She has served as a historian for Henry Ford & Son Limited, (Ford Ireland) and is currently Glucksman Ireland House’s oral historian.

Reception to follow.

There is no fee to attend, but

A $3 donation for refreshments in suggested.

All are Welcome!