Sunday, May 22, 2011
What is it???
Those of you who know your Irish history of Lowell will know the name Hugh Cummiskey. Hugh was the preeminent leader of the Irish population in its first generation. A native of Crossan, County Tyrone, Hugh was the moving force of the Irish population. He was a beer brewer, then labor leader, constable, store owner, labor leader, founder of St Patrick Church, and a year later, one of the founders of the Catholic Cemetery (Later known as St. Patrick's). Hugh had 5 daughters, some who became nuns. In his later years he referred to himself as a "gentleman."
His resting place remained a mystery. That is until Lowell's foremost historian, at least in my opinion, and myself started snooping around. (I love watching CSI.) No matter where we went, we hit brick walls. It looked like Hugh would never be found. That's when Detective Walter went into high gear and found the key piece of evidence that pinpointed his grave. A little surprisingly there was no marker. Was it because of finances? Vandalism? Someone forgot? No one knows. We raised funds with the help of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, St. Pat's parishioners, and the cemetery and erected an appropriate stone that reflects what Hugh might had known at his time.
Ok, so what does that have to do with the picture? Well, one part of the Dig with Queen's and UMass is that a team from Lowell will be going over to Tyrone to do a dig on the Cummiskey homestead this summer!!!! Just to think that we've uncovered artifacts from Hugh's time period in Lowell, and Dr. Donnelly has discovered the remains of the Cummiskey home in Crossans. It sounds like a Ken Burns documentary to me. Dr. Donnelly was kind enough to bring a piece of Hugh's homestead over from Crossans, and in the Fall, when we do the annual cemetery tour, we'll put that rock, pictured above, in Hugh's resting place. Requiescat in pace, Hugh.
P.S.- Walter and I have been building a currach that we are going to sail across the Atlantic so we can join the team digging in Ireland.
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