Pádraig Ó hÉigeartaigh, or Patrick F. Hagerty, was a Gaelic poet and scholar from Cleveland Street in Springfield, MA. In August 1905, he wrote a lament for his six year old son who fell into the old Lombard reservoir on his way home from school and drowned. ‘Ochón, a Dhonncha/Lament for Donncha’ is one of the most anthologised poems in the Irish language and is studied by students in Ireland in schools and universities. Despite the recognition which has been given to his poem, until recently, little was know about Hagerty’s life. This presentation will discuss how Hagerty learned to read and write Irish in the States, how he passed on the language to his children, and delivered Irish languages classes in Springfield, Chicopee Falls, Hartford and Worcester. The presentation will also shed light on the Gaelic Feis of Springfield, which ran from 1904 to the 1920s and was the first and most successful of its kind in the United States.
Síobhra Aiken, former Irish Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant at Elms College, will present her latest research on Patrick Hagerty’s life on Wednesday, June 1 at 7:00 pm in the Library Theater at Elms College. Free and open to the public.
Síobhra is also seeking support from the community for her research. If anyone has any information about the Springfield Feis or the Springfield Irish Language Society, she would love to hear from you! The Irish Language Society also published booklets and magazines in the Irish language in the 1900s. This is quite a rare occurrence in the US, but unfortunately no copies of these magazines remain. If anyone has any copies of any material like this, Síobhra would love to hear from you! You can contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org