McGinley… O’Hare… Finlay… Conley… Tierney… A list of Rose Hill’s buildings could be mistaken for a phonebook from Dublin.
The buildings are not the only bit of Ireland here at Fordham. Fordham’s founder, Archbishop John Hughes — the famous Dagger John — was born in Ireland.
The College’s first president, Archbishop John McCloskey, had Irish blood — a trait shared by Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of the University. Fordham’s Irish-ness isn’t just a relic of the past.
The first bar many of us ever went to, The Jolly Tinker, is an Irish bar owned by an Irishman.
“Fordham is definitely encouraging of the Irish culture… because at one point, the Bronx was a very Irish area,” Megan Scully, FCRH ’15, said. As co-host of Ceol nan Gael, WFUV’s weekly Irish radio program, she’s among the best ambassadors of Irish culture at Fordham.
Scully says the Bronx maintains some heavily Irish neighborhoods, especially Woodlawn in the North Bronx. Yonkers, immediately north of the Bronx, also has an extremely strong Irish presence, especially along McLean Avenue.
Historically, the Irish had a greater presence in the borough, even some in Fordham’s front yard.
“Fordham Road used to be a very Irish area,” Scully said. When her grandparents emigrated from Ireland in the late 1950s, they settled in the area of Fordham Road west of the University.
Scully says there is even a famous song by the Irish band The Wolfe Tones called “Streets of New York” where it’s mentioned: “’Go ahead with the plans / And not to forget be a proud Irish man’/ So I went to Nellies beside Fordham Road and I started to learn about lifting the load.”
Scully carries on her family’s Irish-Bronxite tradition every Sunday by co-hosting Ceol nan Gael with Tara Cuzzi, FCRH ’14, but their show is only one of numerous Irish shows on Fordham’s radio station. “Míle Fáilte” and “A Thousand Welcomes” are broadcast live from campus on Saturday mornings. WFUV also plays “The Thistle & Shamrock,” a nationally syndicated show from NPR.
Fordham shows its Irish side in other ways as well. The University hosts an Institute of Irish Studies, an interdisciplinary program that aims to educate students about Ireland and offers a minor in Irish Studies to undergrads.
Rose Hill also hosts the student-run Gaelic Society that “aims to promote an awareness, understanding, and appreciation of Irish culture.” The society has sponsored movie nights, lectures and Irish dance performances, among other events.
They will host the popular band, Celtic Cross, on campus sometime in April, according to Scully. Most visibly, the Gaelic Society organizes the Fordham group’s march in the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Exemplifying the Irish spirit Fordham brought a strong delegation this year despite snow falling along the route.
“The Irish will always be a part of New York City,” Scully said. “I’m not sure where or what the population will be like but they’ll always be there.”