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Saint Albans & the Fenian Raids: A History
August 24, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pmFree
Join the Saint Albans Museum and the Fenian Historical Society on Thursday, August 24 from 6-9pm as we explore local history with an international impact. Discover the story of the Fenian Raids and the critical role of northwestern Vermont on the legacy of Irish nationalism in America.
The Fenian Historical Society and the Saint Albans Museum are co-hosting a program on Thursday, August 24, detailing the history of the attacks on Canada by militant Irish nationalists in 1866 and 1870, known as the “Fenian Raids.” A unique collection of Fenian materials will be on display beginning at 6 pm in the Bliss Room of the Museum, followed by a lecture from Liam McKone, President of the FHS, at 7pm which outlines these local historical events in an international context. A community conversation and Q&A session will follow the talk. The program is free and open to the public. Please note, some content may not be suitable for young people.
Plans in 1860 for an armed uprising in Ireland supported from the United States were interrupted by the American Civil War, when thousands of Irishmen fought and died on each side of the conflict. Afterward, revolutionary actions took place both in the homeland and across the border with attacks on Canada. St. Albans served as a rendezvous point both in 1866 and 1870 when hundreds of armed Irish veterans from around the United States assembled by train to march on the British Empire. Fervent republican Irishmen—and women in the Sisterhood—struggled to restore Ireland’s independence from British rule and to create a government without a monarch. The image of “The Harp without the Crown” was one of the symbols used to inform a largely illiterate people who had been denied education and their cultural heritage.
Patrick McHugh, from Maryland, will display his extensive holdings of Fenian artifacts A well-known collector and enthusiast of Irish history, McHugh has gathered a remarkable range of historical objects from the nationalist movements going as far back as the 18th century. His collection, in addition to many items related to the Ancient Order of Hibernians, focuses mainly on the Fenian Brotherhood that flourished in the mid-19th century. It includes original Fenian bonds issued to raise funds, songbooks, newspaper articles, and weapons, plus reproductions of Fenian Brotherhood membership medallions. There will also be artifacts on display from Ross Jones of the Quebec Anglophile Heritage Network, relevant to the defense of the Eastern Townships of Quebec, as well as a book sale by Tony O’Connor of Vermont Civil War Enterprises.
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