In this time of world strife, let us remember the open hearts and hospitality of our Irish ancestors, who had initially been treated as poorly as all non-WASP immigrants that arrived in America in the early centuries. Let us not forget that the Native and Indigenous tribes had populated the world continents before colonization against their will and their genocides, much as the Irish had been disenfranchised of their ancient ancestral homelands through the process of religious discrimination. Even in Waterbury, Connecticut, the topic of my 2015 publication, Waterbury Irish: From the Emerald Isle to the Brass City, the arrival of Italians and other nationalities had been historically met with discrimination, including by the Irish.
My childhood friend, Dave Manzo, contributed this important photograph to Waterbury Irish that represents an evolved time when the Irish and Italians got along so well that Irish-Italian marriages had become quite common. Dave’s dad, of Italian descent, is included in the photo riding in a horse-drawn coach full of his Irish friends at a Saint Patrick’s Day parade circa 1937. Not only could Mr. Manzo quickly list every county in Ireland, but his very best life-long friend was Irish — the owner of Waterbury’s former Wacki Grill.
As I concluded in Waterbury Irish, “Irishness remains in Waterbury like the currents that flow beneath its Green, blended through the blood streams of many generations. Waterbury’s heart beats strongly in a community that continues to change and rebuild itself from hopes, dreams and hard work. May the stories continue, the dreams be realized and people of every nationality thrive there.”
I still have paperback copies of the first edition of Waterbury Irish, should anyone wish to purchase one. You can contact me through my website (troll safely typed here — janetmaher dot com), or please leave a comment, all of which are first approved by me before they are posted here.
All good wishes on this day and always, with special prayers on behalf of those suffering persecution of all kinds in New Zealand, North America and throughout this endangered planet.
©2019 Janet Maher / Sinéad Ni Mheachair