38R Merrimac Street, Newburyport, MA  01950  |  978.462.6680  |

  • Boardwalk-Logo2016
  • BartletMall-Logo2016
  • BartletMall_fall-Logo2016
  • Harbor-Logo2016
  • InnStreet-Logo2016
  • MarketSquare-Logo2016
  • MarketSquare2-Logo2016
  • PlumIslandBeach-Logo2016
  • RoofTops-Logo2016
  • WelcomeSign-Logo2016

Museum of Old Newbury & Newburyport's Irish Community

  • Share:
March 03, 2017
Museum of Old Newbury Sponsors Program about Newburyport’s Irish Community
Newburyport, MA – March 1, 2017: The Museum of Old Newbury is sponsoring the premiere screening of local author and historian Jean Doyle’s new documentary about Newburyport’s Irish community.  The March 8 event offers some historical context just in time for the beloved Irish-American holiday, St. Patrick's Day.  The film was produced by Port Media and will be shown at Newburyport’s Senior Community Center at 331 High Street.  The screening will begin at 7:00pm, followed by a comments and questions session with Doyle, and a reception.  The program is free and open to the public and is funded, in part, by the Institution for Savings.

The film is split into three sections, telling the story of Irish families in Newburyport from the mid-1800s through Bossy Gillis's six terms as mayor from the 1920s through the '40s.
The first section focuses on Newburyport's early Irish immigrants, whose arrival coincided with a decline in shipbuilding and a rise in the textile industry.  Doyle's film explores how these families were received by the town, and how they bolstered their sense of community by building churches and schools.

The film's second and third sections focus on notable Irish families, namely the Gillises and the Cashmans.  Feuding between the two families exemplifies a divide between those known then as "shanty Irish" and "lace curtain Irish."  Andrew "Bossy" Gillis's controversial terms as mayor brought both intrigue and excitement to the city.  While Gillis's gruff manner and penchant for sensationalism amused some, these characteristics horrified others.  Nonetheless, Gillis left an indelible mark on the community. 

Jean Doyle is a lifelong Newburyport resident and respected local historian.  After raising seven children, she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history, and taught at Newburyport High School for nearly thirty years.  In 2007 and 2010, she authored a two-volume 20th century history of Newburyport.  Doyle remains involved in the local history community, and her film about Newburyport’s Irish community follows her highly successful documentary, “The Girls of Joppa,” produced in 2016.

To make a reservation for the March 8 program or for more information, contact the Museum of Old Newbury at 978-462-2681 or email

Emily Shafer, Office Manager, (978) 462-2681