New Hollins Market Mural Honors the Neighborhood’s Irish History

| June 30, 2017 | 0 Comments

A new mural commissioned by the Irish Railroad Workers Museum has been added to the 900 block of Lemmon St. in Hollins Market. The mural, which faces a playground and is on the same block as the museum, was completed by neighborhood artist Patrick Harnett, a native of Limerick, Ireland, who moved to Baltimore seven years ago.

The Irish Railroad Workers Museum, which recognizes the Irish immigrants who came to Southwest Baltimore in the 1840s and 1850s to work for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, recently had its 20th anniversary, as well as its 15th anniversary of being open on Lemmon St. The team wanted a new mural to celebrate these milestones.

The mural was unveiled on June 17th with current and former politicians Governor Martin O’Malley, Delegate Brian McHale, Delegate Patrick Young, and Councilman John Bullock in attendance. Patrick Harnett’s mother Bridget Harnett, who made the trip from Ireland, and members of the museum were also present. About 100 people total attended the anniversary celebration and music was provided by Irish-born musician Aine’ O’ Doherty.

The mural shows Irish Immigrants James and Sarah Feeley. Their former home, pictured in the mural, is now the museum. They escaped the Irish Famine and James Feeley worked for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. James Feeley worked his way from a laborer to a boilermaker, and two of the Feeley’s sons also ended up working for the railroad. The Feeleys eventually moved to a large home in Hollins Market, and rented their home to other railroad workers.

“It’s a tale of a very successful great hunger immigration story,” said Irish Railroad Workers Museum President Michael Mellet. “It was a tough time in Irish history, but the museum and the Feeley’s story reflects laborers coming here and moving their way up.”

The mural also shows a Famine Ship arriving from Ireland; a train; Arrabers, which date back to the 19th century; former Councilman Tom Ward, who was instrumental in starting the museum; and a diverse group of kids, which represents the past and present of the neighborhood, according to Mellett.

Patrick Harnett has been involved with the Irish Railroad Workers Museum for six years and used to live right next door. He moved to the United States because the images he sold of Irish heritage were always getting mailed to America. “I’m pretty amazed at the depth of love for the Irish culture in the United States,” Harnett told SouthBMore.com.

The mural was Patrick Harnett’s first, but he does a lot of commissioned artwork. A piece he is especially proud of is a painting he presented to former U.S. Senator George Mitchell who was instrumental in bringing peace to Northern Ireland, serving as the United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland under President Clinton. “He’s a huge historical figure in Northern Ireland,” said Harnett.

Harnett told SouthBMore.com that his mother was very impressed and pleased with the mural. Bridget Harnett was also excited to meet Governor O’Malley, who they said is well known in Ireland where he goes to play music.

Patrick Harnett is excited to have his mural for the public to see and told SouthBMore.com that he has been offered several other mural projects.

“It was an honor to work with the Irish Railroad Workers Museum. I never knew I would have a piece of my art immortalized on a wall,” said Patrick Harnett.

Bridget and Patrick Harnett 

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Creator of SouthBmore.com and resident of SoBo. Graduate of Towson University and owner of Incept Multimedia, a full service video production company. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover and "bar food" foodie. Email me at Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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