“The crickets sang in the grasses. They sang the song of summer’s ending, a sad monotonous song. “Summer is over and gone, over and gone, over and gone. Summer is dying, dying.” A little maple tree heard the cricket song and turned bright red with anxiety.” E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web
Rather than anxiety, we are feeling refreshed and eager to be outdoors without the excessive heat and humidity of summer. We are eager to explore, to engage, to experience the world around us. Might we suggest you spend some of these glorious fall days visiting some of the sights on the South Shore Irish Heritage Trail?
Depending on your direction, Weymouth or Plymouth could be the starting point. Between Labor Day and Thanksgiving is an ideal time to visit Plymouth where the Pilgrim story is not limited to the original sojourners. The Irish, too, found refuge on these shores beginning with those who survived the SeaHawk Shipwreck in 1626. John Boyle O’Reilly was the poet and orator chosen to speak at the dedication of the National Monument to the Forefathers – a great honor. Do not miss a stop at the Plymouth Public Library where you will find a collection of books and media on Irish history, culture, and contributions to the development of the United States.
Weymouth is home to stops 1-4 on the Trail. If you aren’t familiar with it, stop at the Stetson Medical Building once home to the Stetson Shoe Company. The shell of the building hasn’t changed much. It is still huge! Just imagine how many people could be employed in the various activities creating what was then considered the finest shoe made in America – the Gucci of its day. It was those steady jobs and weekly paychecks that beckoned and allowed the Irish immigrants to save money, buy homes, marry and establish families. Their children and grandchildren graduated from eighth grade, high school, even college. The jobs that attracted the Irish to Weymouth offered them a hopeful future not available in mid nineteenth century Ireland. At other stops in Weymouth learn about amazing heroes: Jeremiah Quinn, Frederick C. Murphy, and Mary F. Toomey.
A special stop to visit in October is the Town Cemetery in Cohasset where those who perished in the largest shipwreck on the South Shore are remembered. Learn about this tragedy on our website. Rest a few minutes on the bench dedicated a couple of years ago before visiting the Cohasset Maritime Museum to see the artifacts saved from the wreckage. Every year the Ancient Order of Hibernians recalls the Brig Saint John Tragedy with a gathering, prayers, lecture, and more. Many immigrants faced life threatening hardships on the trek to the land of hope.
And, of course, you must stop and explore the towns along the way. Restaurants of every kind offer tantalizing fresh, locally grown food you will love and the boutique shops offer one of a kind- or hand crafted- goods that make perfect gifts! Shop now and avoid the holiday crazies!
See you along the trail!