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Newburyport's Irish Community

  • Newburyport Senior Community Center 331 High Street Newburyport, MA 01950 (map)

Join us for the premiere screening of local historian Jean Doyle's documentary about Newburyport's Irish community.  The March 8 events offers some historical context just in time for the beloved Irish-American holiday, St. Patrick's Day.

The film is split into three sections, telling the story of Irish families in Newburyport from the mid-1800s through Bossy Gillis's six terms as mayor from the 1920s through '40s. 

The first section focuses on Newburyport's early Irish immigrants, whose arrival coincided with a decline in shipbuilding and a rise in the textile industry.  Doyle's film explores how these families were received by the town, and how they bolstered their sense of community by building churches and schools.

The film's second and third sections focus on notable Irish families, namely the Gillises and the Cashmans.  Feuding between the two families exemplifies a divide between those known then as "shanty Irish" and "lace curtain Irish."  Andrew "Bossy" Gillis's controversial terms as mayor brought both intrigue and excitement to the city.  While Gillis's gruff manner and penchant for sensationalism amused some, these characteristics horrified others.  Nonetheless, Gillis left an indelible mark on the community.  

Wednesday, March 8
7:00 pm, reception folowing
Newburyport Senior Community Center, 331 High Street
Space is limited; please contact or 978-462-2681 to reserve your seat.
This program is sponsored in part by the Institution for Savings and is offered to the community free of charge.

1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students at Newburyport's predominantly Irish Immaculate Conception School in 1924.