No, I did not arrive in America through Ellis Island. If I did, this blog might be called Irish American Great-Great Grandma.
As I pondered a good starting point, for my rambling journey from Ireland through America, my visit to Ellis Island many years ago, came to mind. And so let us begin, where so many Irish, English, Italian, German, and Eastern European immigrants commenced their American journey.
I visited Ellis Island when I lived in Hoboken, New Jersey. Memories of my trip remain with me to this day. The museum and grounds are so beautifully restored, my mind was overwhelmed with heart-wrenching emotions.
Between 1892 and 1954, immigrants arrived in droves to Ellis Island after long, miserable, boat rides across the stormy Atlantic ocean.
Their steerage berths were usually down in the bottom of the ship, in uncomfortable, crowded conditions. Few escaped the ocean’s wrath, spending a good deal of the two-week journey, cold, wet and shivering.
By the time immigrant ships sailed past the Statue of Liberty, their eager passengers were exhausted, and longing to set foot on dry land. Dressed in their Sunday best, they cheered and shouted at the amazing sight of the statue, against the impressive backdrop of New York City, their longed for new home.
Many Irish immigrants had never before seen a big city, not to mention a metropolis the size of New York at the turn of the 20th century.
This is a typical scene of home many left behind.
The port of Cobh, Co, Cork, where many embarked on their journey, was a far cry from the towering buildings of New York.
And this is the view of New York which greeted them from their ship. Imagine their excitement, fear, terror, and sheer awe, as they beheld the wonders that awaited them.
Annie Moore, a young, Irish immigrant from County Cork, was the first to pass through Ellis Island, and be granted admission to New York and the United States of America. She was presented with an American $10 gold piece to commemorate her historical entry.
A statue of young Annie Moore stands proudly in the Ellis Island museum.
Across the ocean in Cobh, Co. Cork, another statue was erected, of Annie and her two brothers and traveling companions, Phillip and Anthony. Annie takes a last look towards home, as her brother points across the waves towards America.
Many came from Ireland to America, before Annie and her brothers ever set foot in this great land. Many more, including this proud Irish American Mom, have followed in their footsteps.
We have found ……
- a young, evolving nation
- in a great, ancient land,
- full of good, hard-working people,
- who seize every opportunity to succeed.
May God Bless America!
Slan agus beannacht leat!
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom
P.S. If you enjoyed reading about Ellis Island, a follow-up post is available on The Great Hall & Baggage Room