St. Patrick’s Day at SVM

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By Scott Atkinson

Event Details

Date(s) & Time(s)::

March 15, 2013

Location: Slate Valley Museum

Event Description

The Slate Valley Museum, in celebration of the immigrant Irish community of the Slate Valley, will be having a day of Irish inspired activities in honor of St. Patrick’s Day!
March 15, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Slate Valley’s Irish community helped spur the infant quarry industry into its most productive period. Many of the Irish immigrants to the Slate Valley were skilled quarrymen from County Tipperary, County Kilkenny and County Clare. Slate had been produced in these counties since at least the 13th century, but the slate industry remained small. Still predominantly dependent on agriculture, the blight on the potato harvest between 1845 and 1851 caused widespread famine, mass mortality and large-scale emigration to American, impacting farmers and quarrymen alike.

Many of the Irish who came to the Slate Valley were different than the typical immigrant from Ireland. Like the Welsh, they had developed valuable industrial experience and skills from working in quarries in Ireland. Several of them became owners of slate mills and quarries, particularly in the northern part of the valley around Fair Haven, Castleton and Poultney. This successful core of Irish immigrants attracted other Irish immigrants seeking opportunities through family and local connections. Although never as numerous in the quarries as the Welsh or the later Eastern European workers, the Irish formed an important ethnic community in the Slate Valley.

To celebrate this heritage and the beginning of spring, the Slate Valley Museum will have a day of Irish tea and food and a showing of “The Quiet Man”. Visitors will have the opportunity to see SVM’s award winning exhibit “The Dream and the Reality: Immigration and Assimilation in the Slate Valley of New York and Vermont 1840 – Present” which explores the immigrant experience in the Slate Valley through the themes of culture, economics, and education. Learn how these different components drove thousands of immigrants (including those from Ireland) to leave their homeland for the Slate Valley.
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