The mission of LowellIrish is to collect and preserve the history and cultural materials, which document the presence of the Irish community in Lowell. As the first immigrant group in a city that continues to celebrate its immigrant past, LowellIrish will serve as an advocate to support a better understanding of the historical, political, religious, and social function the Irish played in the formation of the city.
I recall last year's final day. There was a feel in the air- a loss. Colm picked up on it today and said there was a sense of quiet over the site. The 2 pits were cleaned and dressed. Final photos, drawings and measurements we made. Plastic lined the pits to preserve them for next year's dig (we hope (and pray)).
The sound of shovels began and everyone took turns filling in the holes. It was reminiscent of a funeral. We were all saying our farewells. Why are we doing all this? I guess each of us has his/her own agenda. I know I have mine. I want to, no, I need to have folks remember what happened here. The folks whose lives we were uncovering were not much different from our own. They had kids. They went to work each day. Children were born, and others passed. I looked up at the tower and wondered what stories someone who sat up there could tell. The earliest shanties and the pioneer Irish. The development of the Acre with tenements. The arrival of newer groups. What would they say about what is going on today? I think we all want to be remembered. Doing what we're doing here is honoring the lives of those who came before us.
I would be remiss if I didn't stop and again say thanks to the team. I am terrible at good byes. Saying good bye means there is an end. Stuart, Dermot, Sarah, Eunice, and Dimitrios are unique individuals who I am sure are bound to do amazing work in their lives. Without the vision and commitment of Frank and Victoria, none of this would happen. As a matter of fact I ask those of you who have followed this blog and believe in its goal to send a note to Dr Frank Talty to let him know this is something you feel has worth. (email@example.com) And Colm and Ronan, Go raibh maith agaibh. I have no other words.
Don't forget, the week after next, the team will begin digging at Cummiskey's homestead in Tyrone. They will be emailing entries to us from the site. Be sure to check back. I think this final picture says it all.