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Irish Ambassador to the USA Daniel Mulhall visits site of new Irish Immigrant Memorial
Ireland's Ambassador to the United States recently visited American towns and cities that have played an integral part in Ireland's history. The Ambassador, who is based in Washington, headed around the country to visit historic sites in Missouri, Colorado and Utah.
The Transcontinental Railroad
Mr. Mulhall was present for the 150th anniversary of the 'Golden Spike', the moment when the Transcontinental Railroad was completed. The railway was completed on the 10th May 1869 and was the first connection between the east and west coasts of America. Mr Mulhall addressed those at the commemoration event last month. It is estimated that 10,000 Irish immigrants helped to construct the railroad. At the time, the Union Pacific railway company was largely made up of Irish veterans of the U.S Civil War.
U.S President Donald Trump also paid tribute to the influence of immigrants in helping to construct the railway, stating "We honour the undaunted efforts of the people who made this innovation possible, including workers of Irish and Chinese descent, as well as freed slaves, Native Americans, Civil War veterans, and Latter-day Saints."
To download the Eternally Irish Remembrance Handbook click here
Memorial for the Leadville Irish
Ambassador Mulhall continued his visit of the western States by heading deep in to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. He visited the site of a new memorial in Leadville, Colorado. The Irish Government-funded memorial has been commissioned to commemorate the thousands of Irish immigrants who died in Leadville's silver mines in the late 19th Century. Thousands of Irish headed to Leadville during the silver rush in 1880s and 1890s. At the time it was the second biggest city in Colorado and approximately 7% of the population were born in Ireland.
Famous Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde visited Leadville in 1882 and in his book Impressions of America, he wrote “from Salt Lake City one travels over the Great Plains in Colorado and up the Rocky Mountains on the top of which is Leadville, the richest city in the world".
Speaking ahead of his visit to the memorial, Mr, Mulhall stated "The Leadville Irish were among the earliest Irish in Colorado and the western US. Through hard work in extreme working and weather conditions, many prospered, but so many also died in a remote location, far from family and loved ones, and lay forgotten until recently. I am delighted that the new memorial will name and remember those Irish who lie in Leadville and give them the dignity they deserve, and highlight to future generations the history of Irish in Colorado and the western US."
Kansas City Irish links
Mr. Mulhall's most recent stop was a visit to Kansas City to explore their deep Irish roots. He met with Governor Laura Kelly, who has strong Irish roots herself, at Kansas State Capitol. He also addressed the Kansas City Economic Development Corporation to discuss potential links with Ireland. Mr. Mulhall also visited Kansas University and Rockhurst University. KU has a vast collection of Irish documents on show in their libraries including an original copy of the Irish Declaration of Independence. The Ambassador also paid a visit to Rockhurst University. He spent a summer studying here on a J1 Visa from Ireland in 1974.
You can read more about Ambassador Mulhall's time in America in his blog here.