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Milford’s nod to Ireland, a look at Irish monuments

The Irish Round Tower, St. Mary’s Cemetery, Cedar St., Milford. Source: Milford Historical Commission

In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, the patron saint of Ireland, the Milford Historical Commission highlights two of the town’s most prominent Irish monuments. 


The Irish Round Tower in St. Mary’s Cemetery

Fr. Patrick Cuddihy, a Franciscan Priest from Tipperary, was sent here to be Pastor of St. Mary’s Parish in 1857, where he remained until his death in 1898. He missed his homeland, so he decided to build an Irish Round Tower over here, circa 1895. The

Milford granite tower stands 75 feet high and 16 feet wide. It is the only one in America.

Tessie M. Drown wrote a poem that has these sentences: “And he loved Milford also:but memories were so dear, he wished a bit of Ireland could be planted over here.” “In St. Mary’s cemetery it shall silent vigil keep, as it stands for generations watching over them that sleep.”

Irish Memorial to The Great Hunger

The Friends of Old St. Mary’s Cemetery erected the “An Gorta Mor” monument, which is Gaelic for “The Great Hunger” to honor the original Irish settlers who are buried here. The stone is Celtic Green Granite from Barre, Vermont. Local artist, Mary Ohannesian, drew the images that are etched in the polished stone. The story of the “coffin ships” is on the back of the monument.

On Memorial Day, May 30, 2011, Mass was celebrated at the Irish Round Tower by Fr. Daniel Mulcahy, Jr, followed by a procession to bless the new monument. Barbara Minnehan, Lyn Lovell, Paul Curran and State Sen. Richard Moore, spoke on the history of Irish immigrants arriving in America and the struggles endured as a result of the potato famine of 1845-49 in Ireland. 

Many of the tombstones located here mark the graves of Irish-born soldiers who joined the Union Regiments in the Civil War. 

This monument is located in the Old Cemetery on Hamilton Street, which is a one-way street, but it is an easy walk from St. Mary’s Cemetery on Cedar Street.

Submitted by Anne Lamontagne with the Milford Historical Commission