Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Spirit of Ireland, Annie Moore, and the "Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears"

While visiting Myrtle Beach my Aunt Florence treated us to the show "The Spirit of Ireland" at the Palace Theater:

It was a great show and I enjoyed it a lot but I was afraid that Jayden wouldn't enjoy the show much at all. When we were traveling back to New York I asked him what his favorite part of the trip was and of course he said, "The Knights show" (we had taken him to see Medieval Times). And when I asked him what his second favorite thing was, I thought he'd say either playing at the beach, or maybe the alligators he saw, or golfing with Ray, but to my surprise he said, "The Irish show"!
And just this week I was listening to the song "Isle of Hope" and he said to me, "Oh this song was in the Irish show that Aunt Florence took us too. It's really nice, right?"

The Celtic dancers and singers were wonderful. And, of course I got tears in my eyes when I heard "O Danny Boy" and "Isle of Hope" sung.

The Celtic singers from the show:

I always feel so emotional whenever I think of Ellis Island, and I think of all the immigrants that left their homes to come to our shores, and to make new homes and new lives here in a new land. And I feel so grateful that Ray and I both had a few brave relatives who decided to come to America!

I imagine that so many of them were happy and hopeful with dreams of starting new lives here.

And I imagine that many more of them were sad to leave their lives, and their homelands, and much of their family and many friends behind.

I wonder how many of them were wistful and longing for the home of their birth?

When I hear the song "Isle of Hope" I think not only of Annie Moore, and not only of the Irish immigrants, but about all immigrants who braved leaving the country of their birth, and who braved leaving their old lives behind to come to America.

Annie's story is just one of many immigrant stories.
From 1820 to 1920 more than four million people from Ireland came to America, and one of those Irish immigrants was Annie Moore. When Ellis Island officially opened on January 1, 1892, the first person registered was Annie.
She traveled from County Cork with her two younger brothers aboard the SS Nevada as a steerage class passenger. They spent over a week at sea including Christmas Day. They arrived in New York on December 31, and they were processed through Ellis Island the following morning, New Year's Day. Annie was presented with a $10 coin.

Annie and her brothers at Ellis Island:

The children were then reunited with their parents who had left Ireland to prepare their new life in America. Annie lived with her family at 32 Monroe Street in Manhattan for a few years before marrying Joseph Augustus Schayer in 1895.
The couple had eleven children, only five survived to adulthood. Annie went on to spend the rest of her days as one of the poor Irish immigrants on the lower East Side until she died in 1924 at the age of forty-seven.

Her body was in an unmarked grave in Queens Calvary Cemetery until donations were made in 2006 to purchase a tombstone for her:

There are two statues in honor of Annie, one in Ireland at her port of departure, and one at Ellis Island.

~ Isle of Hope ~

God Bless our immigrant ancestors and God Bless this wonderful melting pot we are privileged to call "Home"!


  1. Such a wonderful post! Happy St. Patrick's Day to you!! Cathy

  2. Oh Eileen...Thank you for this Post. Funny I had never heard of the "Isle of Hope" before, nor of Annie Moore. I am certainly going to find more information.

  3. Erin go braugh, Eileen, and a Happy St. Patrick's Day to you! :-)

    Enjoyed seeing this SO much. I had never heard that song before, but it is very moving. And of course, "Danny Boy" always touches my heart.

    It's funny, but the first time I set foot in Scotland, I felt as if I had gone home. There's no other way to describe it, but I adored it there. I know I'd feel the same way about Ireland. I have always wanted to go.

    It is amazing what so many of our ancestors endured crossing the Atlantic and even once they arrived. The early settlers in Jamestown went through such a severe famine and draught that they were forced to boil their shoes and even their Bibles for the salt in the leather. They discovered tree rings that told the story of the draught, too, and it went on for several years. I often think of all of those who have gone on ahead of us, paving the way so that we might have a better life. It's awe-inspiring.

    I would have loved to see the river dancers. I have seen them on TV, but I bet they are wonderful in person.

    Sending you warm hugs and hoping that all is well with you. I hope to be back to regular blogging in the not too distant future. I miss you! I have got major server issues in St. A where I am right now. The painters ran me out of our house, so I came here to hide. LOL!


    Sheila :-)

  4. oh my goodness what a beautiful story! My parents, three older brother and me (I was 6 months old) boarded a ship from the Netherlands in 1952. My dad left a wonderful job with KLM airlines knowing if he took his little family to America he could provide a better life for them. I can't even imagine my mother on this ship, leaving her parents and brothers and everything she knew to go to this land with her husband and children. Not knowing what she would have. They left everything they owned behind, except the clothes on her back and a few precious items. They were on the ship for 9 days, and were also went through Ellis Island. My father was required to have $100 cash on him and also have a sponsor here and a job waiting for him and a place to live. He took his little family to a place called Idaho. My mother learned English from my 5 year old brother when he went to kindergarten. My father was a brickie or hod carrier. My mom and dad didn't return for 8 years back to Holland then only a few times after to visit. It was just to expensive. They sacrificed a lot, and here I am today! I have quite the legacy! But not many pictures of their venture! What a wonderful tribute....I loved your post!

  5. Eileen, I just want you to know it feels so good to be able to visit you today and read this post. So many things I have read here, I read every line with interest. Because I am not an American, I have never heard of Annie Moore, but I was kind of misty eyed to see the picture of her statue.

    Did I tell you I visited Ellis Island when I went to New York in 2003. I think the Statue of Liberty was one of the most striking things I saw during my visit to your beautiful country.

    Happy St. Patricks, dear friend.


  6. Such an interesting post Eileen. Perfect for St. Patrick's Day even though I am late! I even had my corned beef yesterday! It's been so crazy here!
    I'm glad Jayden enjoyed the show but it doesn't surprise me too much. He seems at an age where everything is so new to him, I imagine he really liked it! And I loved your hair. It's sort of how I'm trying to grow mine out. I just don't know if I can hold out much longer!
    Love Di ♥

  7. I have so many different emotions after reading this and listening to that VERY beautiful song. Annie Moore lived an incredible life, as short as it was. First of all, I can't imagine leaving her homeland, but also I can't imagine giving birth to 11 CHILDREN....and then having only 5 reach adulthood. I have such a reverence for those who have gone on before us. I am also so thankful for my relatives who migrated from France.

    That song is so powerful. I just love it.

  8. I can't get that song off my mind so I just did some looking in Itunes and I found it! I bought it and I'm loading it on my IPOD. It is the prettiest song I've heard in a long time.