The St. John Fisher College Irish Studies Program presented its 6th Annual Irish Studies Conference on April 6-7, 2017. It included a keynote talk by University of Toronto historian Dr. David Wilson, four presentations about how the Irish were involved in the American Civil War, and re-dedication of a memorial to Col. Patrick O'Rorke, an Irish immigrant who died a hero at Gettysburg

O'Rorke Memorial Rededicated

Don Bain and Anne Kelly unveil the O'Rorke bust at its rededication.

The conference closed with rededication of a memorial to Col. Patrick O'Rorke, an Irish immigrant who moved to Rochester, became a Union Army officer and died leading his men at Gettysburg. For more images of the ceremony, click the arrows in the slideshow below

The O'Rorke Memorial in St. John Fisher College's Lavery Library

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Joe Callan reads the inscription on a plaque describing O'Rorke and his heroism

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Key members of the O'Rorke Memorial Society Chris Shalvoy, Gayle Shalvoy, Tom O'Connell, Brian O'Connor, Don Bain, and Barry Culhane.

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The O'Rorke Memorial in St. John Fisher College's Lavery Library

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Conference presentations

Thursday, April 6
Keynote Address: David Wilson, Celtic Studies Program, University of Toronto
"Liberating Ireland by Invading Canada:  The Fenian Invasion of Canada, 1866”


Friday April 7
Presentations were made on the following topics related to Irish involvement in the American Civil War:

  • James Doherty, Military Historian from Waterford, Ireland: “The Irish Who Fought in the American Civil War” (videotaped earlier in Waterford. Link link to video is below  right.)

  • Tim Madigan, Director of Irish Studies, St. John Fisher College: “Thomas Francis Meagher and the Irish Brigade”

  • Michael McCarthy, President of the Rochester Branch of the Irish American Cultural Association: "The Irish Who Fought in the Confederate Army"

  • Judge Richard Dollinger, Colonel Patrick O’Rorke Memorial Society: “Patrick O’Rorke and the Battle of Gettysburg”

Other activities. Click arrows to scroll through slides

St. John Fisher Irish Studies Program Director Tim Madigan introduces keynote speaker David Wilson of the University of Toronto

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David Wilson presents his keynote talk on the 1866 Fenian invasion of Canada.

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Memorabilia included these cartridge belts and a book about O'Rorke

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St. John Fisher Irish Studies Program Director Tim Madigan introduces keynote speaker David Wilson of the University of Toronto

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Doherty-Madigan video interview