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Promoting Irish Culture and History from Little Rock, Arkansas, USA


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Death of William James MacNeven, Physician & Writer

william-james-macneven-1William James MacNeven, Irish American physician and writer, dies in New York City on July 12, 1841.

MacNeven is born on March 21, 1763 at Ballinahown, Aughrim, County Galway. The eldest of four sons, at the age of 12 MacNeven is sent by his uncle Baron MacNeven to receive his education abroad as the Penal Laws render education impossible for Catholics in Ireland. He makes his collegiate studies in Prague. His medical studies are made in Vienna where he is a pupil of Pestel and takes his degree in 1784. He returns to Dublin in the same year to practise.

MacNeven becomes involved in the Society of United Irishmen with such men as Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Thomas Addis Emmet, and his brother Robert Emmet. He is arrested in March 1798 and confined in Kilmainham Gaol, and afterwards in Fort George, Scotland, until 1802, when he is liberated and exiled. In 1803, he is in Paris seeking an interview with Napoleon Bonaparte in order to obtain French troops for Ireland. Disappointed in his mission, MacNeven comes to the United States, landing at New York City on July 4, 1805.

In 1807, he delivers a course of lectures on clinical medicine in the recently established College of Physicians and Surgeons. Here in 1808, he receives the appointment of professor of midwifery. In 1810, at the reorganization of the school, he becomes the professor of chemistry, and in 1816 is appointed to the chair of materia medica. In 1826 with six of his colleagues, he resigns his professorship because of a misunderstanding with the New York Board of Regents, and accepts the chair of materia medica at Rutgers Medical College, a branch of the New Jersey institution of that name, established in New York as a rival to the College of Physicians and Surgeons. The school at once becomes popular because of its faculty, but after four years is closed by legislative enactment on account of interstate difficulties. The attempt to create a school independent of the regents results in a reorganization of the University of the State of New York.

MacNeven, affectionately known as “The Father of American Chemistry,” dies in New York City on July 12, 1841. He is buried on the Riker Farm in the Astoria section of Queens, New York.

One of the oldest obelisks in New York City is dedicated to him in the Trinity Church, located between Wall Street and Broadway, New York. The obelisk is opposite to another commemorated for his friend Thomas Emmet. MacNeven’s monument features a lengthy inscription in Irish, one of the oldest existent dedications of this kind in the Americas.

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Martin O’Malley Announces Run for U.S. President

martin-omalleyMartin O’Malley, Irish American whose relatives come from Galway, two-term Governor of Maryland, and two-term Mayor of Baltimore, announces his intention to run for president of the United States on May 30, 2015, on Federal Hill overlooking Baltimore.

First elected Mayor of Baltimore in 1999, O’Malley is re-elected as mayor in 2003. Considering a run for governor in 2002, O’Malley instead focuses on his mayoralty. In 2006, nearing the end of his second term as mayor, O’Malley announces his candidacy for Governor of Maryland, an office he wins by a sizeable margin. He is re-elected by a wider margin in a rematch against Bob Ehrlich in 2010. O’Malley has been seen as a potential presidential candidate since at least November 2012.

O’Malley’s announcement includes a swing at Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican candidate Jeb Bush, “Recently, the CEO of Goldman Sachs let his employees know that he’d be just fine with either Bush or Clinton. Well, I’ve got news for the bullies of Wall Street—the presidency is not a crown to be passed back and forth by you between two royal families.”

During his speech, O’Malley cast Baltimore’s recent racial unrest, including a night of riots after the funeral of Freddie Gray who died of injuries sustained in police custody, as an symptom of a larger American problem. “What took place here was not only about race…not only about policing in America. It’s about everything it is supposed to mean to be an American,” he said. “The scourge of hopelessness that happened to ignite here that evening, transcends race or geography.”

O’Malley also takes swings at Wall Street. “Tell me how it is, that you can get pulled over for a broken tail light in our country, but if you wreck the nation’s economy you are untouchable.”

Highlighting his record as Maryland’s governor, O’Malley notes that he supported a successful bid to legalize gay marriage and helped raise the minimum wage.

After making his announcement from the stage, O’Malley is played out to U2‘s Pride (In The Name of Love).

O’Malley suspends his campaign on February 1, 2016, after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses.