Our mission is to promote positive associations to Ireland and matters Irish in the town of Amherst, Massachusetts by hosting events that explore aspects of Ireland's diaspora, culture, language and society.
In our commitment to equality, inclusion and diversity, we welcome all members of the Amherst community to our events.
We deliberately host our events at a beautiful community venue in downtown Amherst (Unitarian Social Room), not a pub, and serve complementary tea and scones at our "Tea & Tunes" segment after each presentation.
You can learn more about the history of the AIA by following this link!
Emily Dickinson, 1830 - 1886, Amherst College Special Collections. Photo purported to have been rescued from destruction by Irish servant Margaret Maher
Dickinson Irish servant Margaret Maher, Jones Library, Amherst
Margaret Maher Award 2021
The second event of 2021 AIA fall season was held via Zoom on Sunday, October 10th at 2 p.m. The annual Margaret Maher award was presented to W. Michael Ryan and Bill O’Riordan, both well known in the Valley. For decades now, Mike and Bill have been championing the incredible and despicable story of Dominic Daley and James Halligan, two Irishmen who were executed in Northampton, MA on June 5, 1806 for the murder of local farmer Marcus Lyon, a murder they did not commit. During the session, Mike and Bill outlined the legal case made against the men at the time as well as offering a significant amount of evidence never presented at trial which demonstrates their innocence. Also discussed was the fervency of anti-Irish and anti-Catholic sentiment of the period.
The photo offered here is of Mike and Bill with their awards at the Daley and Halligan Memorial on Hospital Hill in Northampton, MA. A ceremony honoring the memory of these two maligned Irishmen is conducted every year on St. Patrick’s Day at the Memorial.
The beautiful wooden Margaret Maher Award was designed and handmade by Al Ladd, a magnificent woodcrafter and a musician of Le Chéile, which has performed regularly with the AIA following our in-person events. Al, a man of many talents, has been featured as well with other members in their own AIA events.
The awards were bestowed virtually by Consul General of Ireland in Boston Laoise Moore. The Consul General has graciously served in this capacity at previous award events. We once again thank her for her support and the continuing assistance of the Boston Consulate and the Government of Ireland Emigrant Support Programme.
And congratulations once again to W. Michael Ryan and Bill O’Riordan, recipients of the Amherst Irish Association 2021 Margaret Maher Award!
You can find out more about the story of Daley and Halligan as well as their memorial in Northampton by following these two links: https://www.encyclopedia.com/law/law-magazines/dominic-daley-and-james-halligan-trial-1806 and http://www.historic-northampton.org/daleyandhalligan/daleyandhalligan.html.
You can watch a video recording of the program on YouTube by following this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBxbQzjmaKM.. You can also find previous AIA videos posted by searching for the “Amherst Irish Association” while on the YouTube page or by following this link: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=amherst+irish+association.
You can find out more about Margaret Maher by following this link: /files/Brief_history_Margaret_Maher_2017.pdf.
We hope this message is still finding all of you well and safe. While the pandemic has been raging for over a year and a half, the AIA Directors have continued to discuss how best to deliver presentations for our community for the 2021-2022 season. Based upon the newest research and health recommendations, we felt it best to continue with a fully remote series of events for the remainder of 2021. While this is obviously not an ideal solution, it is the safest and most apropos to the current situation. It is our intention to re-visit this decision at the end of the year regarding the 2022 series of events.
To that end, we will again be conducting a real-time Zoom meeting on event days at 2 pm. Many of you are likely familiar with Zoom already, due to its pervasive use for meetings and family visits. The software is free for you, the user (the AIA has taken out a subscription so that we can host additional participants for longer meeting times than the free app allows). During the presentations, you will be able to submit online questions to a moderator who can pass them along to the speaker. All the events should last about 45 minutes and will be recorded. These digital sessions will then be posted to YouTube.com. In that way, should you be unable to be present on the day of any given event, you can still watch the presentation after the fact, although you will not be able to submit real-time questions.
So how will you be able to join a meeting?
If you are an AIA member, you will receive an e-mail which will include a link to the Zoom meeting. Simply clicking the link at 2 pm on the event day and following the prompts will bring you into the meeting.
If you are not an AIA member, YOU ARE HEARTILY WELCOME! At least two days prior to each event listed on the flyer below, please send an e-mail requesting to attend to email@example.com. You will be sent a link to the event. Simply clicking the link at 2 pm on the event day and following the prompts will bring you into the meeting.
Please do not wait until just before the event has started to try to contact us via e-mail!
For optimal interaction, it would be best to use a laptop (as it has a video camera installed on it), an iPad, or a desktop with a video camera. You can also use your android smartphone or iPhone by downloading the Zoom app, although some features may be limited.
Not familiar with Zoom? There are innumerable free videos on YouTube that will walk you through the process. Just go to YouTube.com and search for “Zoom for beginners." For example, here are 2 such videos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOJkfflN8O4. This one will show you how to use your smartphone for the Zoom mobile app.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1CwZFiAyxY. This one is a good Zoom overview.
Should you have any questions regarding Zoom or any AIA event, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. But please do not wait until just before the event has started to try to contact us via e-mail. That may not be enough time for us to properly respond.
As we mentioned, we know that a fully remote series is not ideal. But given the circumstances and their likelihood to continue for the foreseeable future, this option provides a solution that keeps us closest to our “normal” presentations.
Our event series for 2021-2022 is presented below. You can download it by following the link below the flyer. It will begin on Sunday, September 19th at 2 pm with old friends, members of Le Chéile, on “Irish Traditional Music & Me.” We are expecting a rousing good time! We hope to see you there!
Until then, best wishes and please keep safe and well! Bígí linn! Join us!
You can download the flyer by choosing this link.
You can download the flyer by choosing this link.