Print / View Finding Aid as Single Page

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives logo

Guide to the Ireland House Oral History Collection AIA.030

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2596

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Rebecca Altermatt, Rachel Searcy

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on March 31, 2022
Description is in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Updated by Megan O'Shea to incorporate material from accession number 2018.100 Updated by Lyric Evans-Hunter to reflect the digitization of electronic records  , September 2018 , March 2022

Container List


Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 4 Folder : 21 Barry, Dan

Historical/Biographical Note

Dan Barry (b. 1958) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer for The New York Times and has covered many topics, including the World Trade Center disaster and the damage to the Gulf Coast from Hurricane Katrina. He is the author of three books, including the autobiography Pull Me Up (2004).

Nov 3, 2011
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Behan, Joe

Historical/Biographical Note

Joe Behan (b. Dublin, Co. Dublin, 1961) has been Head Coach of the New York University Men's Soccer team since 1996. He brought the team their first two NCAA Division III Championship appearances and was named Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2010.

May 4, 2011
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Beirne, Hilary

Scope and Content Note

Hilary Beirne was interviewed on the 26th of October, 2009 at the Glucksman Ireland House at New York University by James Herron and Linda Dowling Almeida. The topics discussed were wide and varied, starting with his background, growing up in County Roscommon, Ireland and following through his life from college days to working in Ireland in the 1970s and '80s to immigrating to the United States in the late '80s and ending with his distinguished work with the St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Beirne discusses his early life, growing up with nine brothers and sisters in a large farmhouse that his father, a veterinary surgeon, purchased around the time Beirne was born. He talks about his experiences in National School, and the effects that the small learning community, corporal punishment, and religious doctrine had on his education. He went to secondary school, earning high enough marks to attend college and earn a degree in agricultural studies. He discusses his first few jobs in Ireland, where he worked on projects that redesigned the way Irish farms operate and store various crops.

He eventually left his job and immigrated to the U.S. to become a science teacher in the Bronx. It was at this time that he became involved in the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade, upon which a large portion of this interview is based. Beirne discusses the finances, the history, the operations and the future of the parade in great detail. He provides an excellent behind-the-scenes view of the production of one of the largest parades in the world. Beirne also discusses, in great detail, the various other Irish fraternal clubs of which he is a member.

As a teacher, Beirne discusses his instructing methods and how he engages the student. He also spends time discussing how he became a teacher and the reasons why. He also talks about what he thinks makes a good teacher, and the necessary traits to perform the job well.

He then returns to a broader discussion on why Irish-American heritage is important to this country, stating, "40 million Americans trace their heritage back to Ireland…" in order to show just how important the parade is.

Throughout the interview, Beirne takes breaks from discussing his life and the parade to talk about his family. He discusses his twin brother and the unique skills he possesses that his twin does not and vice versa. He discusses the odd relationship his siblings (2 brothers, 7 sisters) had with his parents, specifically, the love and strong bond they all had with their mother and poor relationship they had with their father. He also talks about the day he left Ireland and the effects his leaving had on his mother.

This oral history was digitally recorded on a Marantz CDR420. The interview is 2 hours and 28 minutes long, on 3 CDs. The interview took place on October 29, 2009, and the interviewers were James Herron and Linda Dowling Almedia.

Related Archival Materials

Interview with Tommy Smyth. Ireland House Oral History Collection, Archives of Irish America, New York University. Interview with Treasa Goodwin Smyth. Ireland House Oral History Collection, Archives of Irish America, New York University.

Other Finding Aids Note

This interview has been logged at ten-minute intervals, and the Word file is available upon request at

Historical/Biographical Note

Hilary Beirne (b. Boyle, Co. Roscommon, 1961) is a science teacher who emigrated to New York in 1988. He is a longtime member of the New York St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee and the nephew of the late Frank Beirne.

Oct 29, 2009
Box: Electronic records E-records : TW_AIA_30_ER_25 Beirne, Thomas

Beirne, Thomas: 2014-

Biographical Note

Thomas Beirne was born in 1968 in New York, New York. He graduated from Manhattan College with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering in 1990. In 2014, he was the district president of the New York chapter of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians and worked in construction management.

Scope and Contents

This interview was conducted by Danielle Zach on September 9, 2014 at New York University's Glucksman Ireland House in New York, New York. This interview covers Thomas Beirne's early life in the Woodlawn neighborhood of the Bronx, New York and in Yonkers, New York. He recounts his memories of his father's involvement in political activism for Irish Americans and the Ancient Order of the Hibernians. Describing his position in 2014 as the district president of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians, he details his involvement with the St. Patrick's Day Parade planning committee.

Box: 1 Folder : 3-4 Benson, Sean

Biographical Note

Sean Benson (b. 1960), was one of the organizers of the Irish Immigration Reform Movement. He is the former Executive Director of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center and remains a member of its board.

Nov 29, 2005
Box: Electronic records E-records : TW_AIA_30_ER_59 Blancato, Robert

Blancato, Robert: 2015-

Biographical Note

Robert Blancato was born in the Bronxville neighborhood of the Bronx, New York in 1951. He graduated in 1970 from Iona Preparatory High School in New Rochelle, New York and attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Scope and Contents

This interview was conducted by Danielle Zach on August 3, 2015 in Washington, D.C. The interview covers Robert Blancato's early life and career working for Congressman Mario Biaggi. He describes his internship with Congressman Biaggi in 1972 and how it resulted in a job as a congressional aide after graduating from college. He recounts his involvement with the founding of the Ad Hoc Congressional Committee for Irish Affairs in 1977. He describes the goal of the committee to understand the conflict in Northern Ireland and make a peace forum where all parties involved in the conflict could be represented. Blancato recalls his trip to Ireland in 1978 where he personally negotiated with Gerry Adams to create a peace forum. He describes how his interactions with the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Irish Northern Aide helped him build the Congressional Committee for Irish Affairs.

Box: 1 Folder : 5 Boucher, Jack

Biographical Note

Jack Boucher (b. New York, New York, 1938), a union bartender and Vietnam veteran, is the son of immigrants from County Leitrim, and County Sligo, Ireland. Raised in New York's Washington Heights, he was a member of the youth gang the Jesters.

Scope and Content Note

This oral history was digitally recorded on a Marantz PCM660. The interview took place on January 23, 2009, and the interviewer was Myriam Nyhan.

Jan 23, 2009
Box: Electronic records E-records : TW_AIA_30_ER_90 Bowden, Noreen

Bowden, Noreen: 2016-

Biographical Note

Noreen Bowden was born in 1969 in Suffern, New York.  She received her bachelor's degree from Notre Dame University in Notre Dame, Indiana and her master's degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge.

Scope and Contents

This interview was conducted by Íde B. O'Carroll at New York University's Elmer Holmes Bobst Library in New York, New York on April 28, 2016.  The interview covers Noreen Bowden's family and her working life. Bowden discusses her family, their immigration and work experiences, and the death of her mother in 1986.  She discusses her involvement with the Irish Immigration Reform Movement and the Irish Immigration Center in Boston in the 1990s. She discusses her work for multiple online Irish news sources, including, the Irish Emigrant>'s online newspaper, and her own website,, which covers issues relating to Irish identity and the Irish diaspora.

Box: 1 Folder : 6 Bowles, Dympna Farrell

Historical/Biographical Note

Dymphna Farrell Bowles (b. Ennistown, Co. Meath, Ireland, 1922) a long-time resident of New Rochelle, New York, moved to Belfast in 1942. She married there in 1947 and later emigrated to the United States with five young children. Her sixth child was born in New York.

Apr 19, 2011
Box: Electronic records E-records : TW_AIA_30_ER_11 Boyer, Sandy

Boyer, Sandy: 2014-

Biographical Note

Sandy Boyer was born in 1943 in New York, New York and was raised in Croton-on-Hudson, New York.  He was a political activist and journalist. He died in 2016.

Scope and Contents

This interview was conducted by Danielle Zach at New York University's Glucksman Ireland House on June 30 and July 7, 2014.  The interview covers Sandy Boyer's childhood and his political activity as an adult. Boyer discusses his childhood and his parents, including their backgrounds, careers, and their membership in the Communist Party of the United States of America.  He discusses his involvement in Irish republican causes from the 1970s to the 1990s, particularly Irish Northern Aid Committee (NORAID), the popularity of fundraising through pub socials, and the role of Irish music in politics. He discusses the relationship between Irish and Irish American political organizations including NORAID, National H-Block / Armagh Committee, the Irish Republican Socialist Party, People's Democracy, and Sinn Fein.  He discusses multiple Irish political prisoners to whom he lent his support including Marian Price, Martin Corey, Gerry Conlon, and Gerry McGeough.

Box: 1 Folder : 7 Boylan, Jim

Scope and Content Note

In the interview, Boylan focuses on growing up in 1940s/50s Harlem; the racial dynamics of Harlem and the Irish living in that setting; the impact of Puerto Ricans in his neighbourhood; how Irishness is passed on to next generation; 1950s migrants coming to stay with them; and his parents first trip back to Ireland.

This oral history was digitally recorded on a Marantz PMD660. The interview is approximately 160 minutes long, on 2 CDs. The interview took place on February 26, 2009, and the interviewer was Myriam Nyhan.

Biographical Note

Jim Boylan (b. New York, New York, 1941), is the son of 1920s immigrants from County Monaghan,Ireland. He grew up in Harlem, New York, and spent his career working in telecommunications.

Feb 26, 2009
Box: Electronic records E-records : TW_AIA_30_ER_18 Brady, Elizabeth

Brady, Elizabeth: 2014-

Biographical Note

Elizabeth Brady was born in 1930 in Ballyshannon, County Donegal, Ireland.  She immigrated to the United States in 1956, settling in Chicago, Illinois.  She met her husband, Joseph Brady, in 1958 and was married in 1960. They returned to Ireland in 1967 and settled on a farm in Tullaghan in County Leitrim.  They had two children.

Scope and Contents

This interview was conducted by Íde B. O'Carroll in Mullingar, County Westmeath, Ireland on July 28, 2014.  The interview covers Elizabeth Brady's early life in Ireland, her working life in Ireland and the United States (US), and her family.  Brady describes her parents, her father's experiences working in the US and Ireland, and their extended families. She discusses her education, her working life, and describes the different jobs she held in Ireland and the US.  She describes her preparations for immigrating to the US, her voyage via ship in 1956, and her impressions of New York, New York and Chicago, Illinois. She describes her husband, their married life together, and their decision to move from Chicago to a farm in County Leitrim, Ireland.  She recounts her family's life on their farm and their social lives.

Box: 4 Folder : 22 Branley, Mary

Historical/Biographical Note

Mary Branley (b. Sligo Town, Co. Sligo, Ireland, 1962) studied Multicultural Education in Boston, taught in an inner city school, then returned to Ireland where she is a teacher and poet.

Aug 1, 2013
Box: Electronic records E-records : TW_AIA_30_ER_60 Brazil, Áine

Brazil, Aine: 2016-

Biographical Note

Áine Brazil was born in 1956 in Galway, County Galway, Ireland.  She received her bachelor's degree from University College Galway in 1977 and her master's degree from Imperial College in London, England in 1980.  She established the Máire Brazil Prize at National University of Ireland Galway to provide a four-year scholarship for women pursuing engineering degrees.  She married in 1982. At the time of the 2016 interview, Brazil was working as a structural engineer at Thornton Tomasetti in New York, New York.

Scope and Contents

This interview was conducted by Íde B. O'Carroll at Áine Brazil's office at Thornton Tomasetti in New York, New York on April 28, 2016.  The interview covers Brazil's family, education, and working life in the United States. Brazil discusses her parents, including their families, education, and careers.  She discusses her education, citing her teachers and the availability of honors math at her school as critical to her professional path. She recounts her experiences at University College Galway as one of three women in a class of 63 and discusses her decision to major in structural engineering.  She discusses working London, England; entering a master's program in Imperial College in London; and her experiences as an Irish person in England in the 1980s. She describes her job responsibilities and her work on the Hudson Yards project in Manhattan in detail.

Box: Electronic records E-records : TW_AIA_30_ER_77 Brennan, Gerry

Brennan, Gerry: 2016-

Biographical Note

Gerry Brennan was born in 1952 in Dublin, Ireland and was raised in Naas, County Kildare.  In 1973, he graduated from the Dublin Institute of Technology and immigrated to the United States (US).  He has owned a number of properties in the US and Ireland, including many popular Irish bars in Boston, Massachusetts.  He married and has three sons.

Scope and Contents

This interview was conducted by Íde B. O'Carroll at Gerry Brennan's home in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts on August 16, 2016.  The interview covers Brennan's early life in Ireland and his working life in the United States (US). Brennan discusses his family, including the education and working life of his parents.  He recounts immigrating to the US in 1973, settling in Boston, and establishing a painting and renovation business with his brother. He explains that they were able to establish this business despite not having visas or Green Cards and discusses their expansion of their business in the 1980s.  He explains the way in which he gained a Green Card and the expansion of his real estate investments after this change in his resident status. He describes the bars he owned in Boston, including the Brendan Behan Pub in Jamaica Plain and the Thirsty Scholar in Cambridge, and discusses the role of these bars in the Irish and Irish American culture in the Boston area.  Brennan also discusses his real estate investments in County Kildare, Ireland and the work ethic his parents instilled in him and his siblings.

Box: 4 Folder : 23 Brennan, John

Historical/Biographical Note

John Brennan (b. Co. Kerry, Ireland, 1972) worked in Henry Ford & Son Ltd in Cork from 1948-1953 when he immigrated to NY , served in the US Army, and received his BA in Economics from Fordham University. He spent most of his life working in insurance.

Oct 19, 2012
Box: Electronic records E-records : TW_AIA_30_ER_64 Brosnan, Maureen

Brosnan, Maureen: 2014-

Biographical Note

Maureen Brosnan was born in 1929 in the Bronx, New York. She received her bachelor's degree from Fordham University in the Bronx in 1949.

Scope and Contents

This interview was conducted by Miriam Nyhan at Maureen Brosnan's home in the Bronx, New York on September 25, 2014. The interview covers Brosnan's life in the Bronx. Brosnan describes her parents, their early lives in Ireland, and stories of their immigration to the United States (US). She recounts her father's experience in the Irish Republican Brotherhood in Ireland and his activities with other Irish republican organizations in the US in the early to mid 20th century. She discusses working in advertising agencies in New York City while attending Fordham University in the Bronx in the late 1940s. She recounts her experiences visiting Ireland throughout her life and her participation in Irish American organizations in New York City throughout her life.

Box: Electronic records E-records : TW_AIA_30_ER_17 Browne, Anna

Browne, Anna: 2014-

Biographical Note

Anna Browne was born in 1962 in Chicago, Illinois.  Her parents immigrated to the United States (US), settling in Chicago, in the 1950s.  The family returned to Ireland in 1967, settling on a farm in Mullingar, County Westmeath.  Browne received her bachelor's degree in computer science from University College Dublin in the 1980s.  She worked as a computer programmer in the US and Ireland between 1984 and 2009. At the time of the 2014 interview, she was working as a developer of job training material in Ireland.  She is married and has two children.

Scope and Contents

This interview was conducted by Íde B. O'Carroll at Anna Browne's home in Mullingar, County Westmeath, Ireland on July 28, 2014.  The interview covers Browne's early childhood in the United States (US) and Ireland, her education in Ireland, and her working life in the US and Ireland.  Browne discusses her family's decision to return to Ireland in 1967 and recounts the differences in life between Chicago and County Kildare where the family settled.  She discusses her education in Ireland, her interest in general science, her decision to choose computer science as her area of educational focus, and her interest in computer programming.  She recounts her time at University College Dublin in the 1980s and her decision to return to the US after her graduation in 1984. She discusses her experiences working for different technology companies in the US and Ireland and the relationship amongst Irish and Irish Americans in the technology field.  Browne describes issues she and her husband faced being working parents, and their decision for her husband to leave work and stay home with their children. She discusses her children's education in Ireland in the early 2000s. She describes her job at the time of the interview as a developer of job training material for businesses and describes the theory behind her work.

Box: 1 Folder : 8 Burns, Edward Sr.

Scope and Content Note

In this interview, Sgt. Burns discusses a range of topics, from his family's history in New York City to his own role in the New York community. Sgt Burns spends most of the interview discussing his heritage and his family history, which is an interest of his. He describes his attempts to trace his ancestry to Ireland through his paternal family, the Burns, which leads him to County Cork. His maternal family, the Fitzgeralds, led him to County Galway. Then he describes his family's place in New York, where they lived and worked.

Burns remembers his mother, Josephine Marie Fitzgerald, born to Eddie Fitzgerald and Anna Erika Octavia Johanson. The Fitzgeralds he has traced back to County Galway, Ireland, but his grandmother, whom the family called Grandma Svenska, was from Sweden. Burns also discusses the Burns side of the family. His great-grandfather was the first to emigrate from Ireland and he believes the family is from Cork. Neither of Sgt. Burns' grandmothers were Irish. His paternal grandmother was Mary Gale, a an immigrant, believed to be French German. Burns discusses speculation and 'Burns legend' about her emigration but he admits that very little is actually known about it. The speculation is that she was at some point in her youth orphaned and migrated to Pittsburgh. What is definite, Burns discovered, is that Mary Gale and Andrew Burns were living in the same Hell's Kitchen (a famously Irish area on Manhattan's West Side) boarding house, according to the 1900 census.

Burns discusses his paternal grandfather, Andrew Burns, at length. He recalls Pop Burns, as he called him, fondly, often calling him quite a character. He tells stories about Pop Burns' business, hauling vinegar for Fleischmann's in New York. He talks about their summers in Rockaway Beach and stories about his Pop's swimming prowess. Burns discusses Pop growing up in Hell's Kitchen and their style of dress. He also talks about Pop Burns and his friends raising pit bulls on the roof tops and his grandfather's choice to not drink, referring to him as a teetotaler.

Burns also fondly discusses his mother, Josephine Marie Fitzgerald, who grew up in the Yorkville section of Manhattan's Upper East Side. As a young woman she worked as a secretary at Bonwit Teller, an upscale New York City department store, now closed. Burns remarks about his mother's exceptionally small feet, that were the same size as all the sample shoes delivered to the department store. One of the perks of her job was taking home the sample pairs she liked. He observed that his mother always had the most stylish footwear in the neighborhood. Burns also discusses a story, that he could never verify, that his mother played the piano at Carnegie Hall for a school performance while attending Dominican Academy on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

Burns speaks about his different career choices, including six years in the Army Reserves. Then he discusses his tenure with the New York Police Department (NYPD). He recalls his entry into the police academy on 20 June 1966 and being out on the street to keep the peace during riots in Harlem two weeks later on 4 July 1966. Burns spent 27 years working for the NYPD in various aspects. He remained at the 25th precinct in Harlem until 1970. Burns then became a plain clothes officer working for public morals, a division of the NYPD that deals with liquor, gambling, and prostitution violations. Burns was transferred to Glendale, Queens, for two years which he describes as the most boring part of his police career. While Burns was investigating recruits the NYPD came out with their Law Enforcement Assistance Program. Burns took advantage of the program and completed a degree in Criminal Justice at Saint John's University, resuming a college career that he quit to join the Army Reserves. During this time Burns was also studying to be a sergeant and working full time. As a sergeant with the NYPD he began working at the Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Public Information (DCPI) where Burns was the voice of the NYPD. Burns discusses how this change in his police career impacted hi life after the NYPD. Burns released official NYPD statements to the press. It was here that he became interested in the public relations business. He decided to go back to school and received his masters degree with honors from New York University in Media Ecology in 1979 or 1980. Five years later Sgt. Burns became an adjunct professor at NYU in the same program, while still working with the DCPI. Following his police career Sgt. Burns successfully opened two public relations firms. Burns also took an active role in helping his children with their careers.

Sgt. Burn's children are a main focus of the interview. He initially lived in Astoria, Queens, with his wife and young family but moved to Valley Stream, Long Island, where he raised his family. Burns eldest child, Mary, attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and lives on Long Island. His two sons Edward and Brian, whom he calls Irish twins because they were born so close to one another in the tradition of many Catholic Irish families, are both involved in the film and television industry. Edward is a writer/director/actor for various films, including the movie that began his career, The Brothers McMullen, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 1995. Burns talks with pride about his son's accomplishments. Brian is also a writer/producer for various programs including the hit HBO television show,  Entourage. Sgt. Burns discussed at length his views on parenting and education.

Sgt Burns also discusses his involvement in a group called the First Friday Club - the name alludes to a Catholic practice of attending mass for the first Friday of nine consecutive months to receive a special blessing. This group drew New York Irish American writers, politicians and intellectuals and would meet for lunch at Eamonn Doran's. Sgt. Burns describes the lunch as a meeting of friends that sometimes lasted from noon to six or seven at night. Writers like Frank and Malachy McCourt, William Kennedy, and Terry Moran were in regular attendance. Sgt. Burns describes this group as a small gathering of 10 to 12 that grew into a much larger gathering of thirty or more with the rising celebrity of members like Frank McCourt and his son Edward.

Sergeant Edward Burns was interviewed on 14 November 2008 at the Glucksman Ireland House at New York University by Emily Mahoney and Professor Linda Dowling Almeida. Sgt. Burns' oral history interview was digitally recorded on a Marantz CD420. The interview is one hour, 57 minutes and 54 seconds long, recorded on two CDs, and has been logged in ten minute intervals.

Other Finding Aids Note

This interview has been logged at ten-minute intervals, and the Word file is available upon request at

Historical/Biographical Note

Sergeant Edward Burns (b. New York, New York, 1937) Sgt. Burns is a former New York City police officer with strong New York City roots and Irish ancestry. He is the father of Ed Burns, Jr., director of The Brothers McMullen.

Nov 14, 2008
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Burns, Edward Jr.

Scope and Content Note

Burns was born in Woodside, Queens, but grew up in Valley Stream, Long Island, which he affectionately calls "the burbs," referring to the area as a suburb of New York City. He discusses his experience as a young Irish Catholic and his impressions and memories of a suburban childhood. Particularly interesting are his childhood revelations of being Irish.

Burns describes the family history, as he knows it, of his mother and father. He details his mother's childhood, as the daughter of Irish immigrants, growing up without a mother and a father who worked as a sandhog and who was often absent. He believes that his father's family emigrated from Ireland during the potato famine. Burns traces the professions of his various paternal relatives, including a great-grandfather who owned a horse and carriage trucking company on the west side of Manhattan.

Burns explains the process of making The Brothers McMullen and the various challenges that he faced in shooting the film on a low budget. He tells a few stories of the more unique things he had to do to get "the shot", including sneaking into a graveyard.

Burns took The Brothers McMullen to the Sundance Film Festival in 1995. Burns' retelling of his acceptance to Sundance is particularly interesting and at the end of his story, Burns notes "Print the legend."  The Brothers McMullen won the Grand Jury Prize, which is the equivalent of the Oscar for Best Picture. Burns relates his memories of winning the actual award and all the strangeness that he felt in the moments after the announcement, including a possible embrace with "Sam Jackson", the actor Samuel L. Jackson to the rest of us.

Burns also discusses the roles of the Irish in entertainment and how they are portrayed in movies and television. Remarking about the Irish content and references in The Brothers McMullen, "none of this has been in a film, so I'm going to put all of it in" almost to the point of going overboard. He also discusses prominent Irish authors whose work he enjoys. Burns explains that he has attempted to adapt a couple of Irish-American novels into films, but to date none have worked.

Burns continues to discuss the portrayal of Irish Americans on film and television. He notes that most of the Irish-American characters on film and television tend to be police officers, fire fighters or other stereotypically Irish professions. What Burns says had not been portrayed before was an Irish-American family and their everyday existence.

Burns discusses his family's drive for the next generation to leave the New York suburbs and return to Manhattan, which Burns has done. Burns' father pushed Burns and his brother to attend college and to pursue the American dream of "doing better" than the previous generation. Burns juxtaposes this ambition with the fact that none of the parents of his friends in Valley Stream had gone to college. He draws the analogy of his own social climbing to the old saying "When your grandfather came here there were signs that said 'No Irish Need Apply' and in 1963 we put JFK in the White House."

Near the conclusion of the interview, Burns defines what his perception of Irish American is and what it means to him.

Edward Burns was interviewed on October 30, 2007 at Glucksman Ireland House at New York University by Callan Stout, Linda Dowling Almeida, and Joe Ready. This oral history was digitally recorded on a Marantz CDR420. The interview is 1 hour and 25 minutes long, recorded on two CDs and has been broken into tracks of ten-minute segments.

Other Finding Aids Note

This interview has been logged at ten-minute intervals, and the Word file is available upon request at

Historical/Biographical Note

Edward Burns, Jr. (b. Queens, New York, 1968) a writer, director, and actor who shot to fame in 1995 when his film The Brothers McMullen, about three Irish American brothers coming of age on Long Island won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. He is the son of Edward Burns, Sr.

Oct 30, 2007
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Butler, Aoife E.

Historical/Biographical Note

Aoife E. Butler (b. Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, 1975), a pharmaceuticals industry researcher, is active with the Irish Network U.S.A., an organization aimed at attracting young Irish professionals. She has also been a volunteer for children with disabilities.

Apr 9, 2011
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Butler, Jean

Historical/Biographical Note

Jean Butler (b. Mineola, New York, 1971) is a professional dancer and choreographer. She toured with the Green Fields of America, Cherish the Ladies and the Chieftains before starring in and co-choreographing the original production of Riverdance in 1994. She has a Master's degree in Contemporary Irish Dance from the University of Limerick.

Apr 21, 2011
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Byrne, Gabriel

Historical/Biographical Note

Gabriel Byrne (b. Dublin, Ireland, 1950) is an actor and producer who works in theatre and film. In 2010 he was named the Cultural Ambassador for Ireland and spearheaded "Imagine Ireland," a program that featured 400 cultural events across the United States.

Nov 17, 2010
Box: Electronic records E-records : TW_AIA_30_ER_4 Byrne, Cornelius

Byrne, Cornelius: 2014-

Biographical Note

Cornelius Byrne was born in 1946 in Manhattan, New York. He graduated from St. Joseph Preparatory High School in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn in 1964. Byrne bought his first stable in 1976 and owned and operated a stable in Manhattan in 2014.

Scope and Contents

This interview was conducted by Linda Dowling Almeida in Manhattan, New York on April 2, 2014. The interview covers Cornelius Byrne's family, their history of immigration from Ireland, and his experiences as a carriage driver and stable owner in New York City. He recounts his memories of attending Catholic schools in Brooklyn in the 1950s. He describes the state of carriage driving in Manhattan's Central Park in 2014 and compares it to his father's experiences as a carriage driver in New York City during World War II. He shares his concerns on Mayor Bill De Blasio's 2014 bid to restrict carriage horses to Central Park.


Return to Top »