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Loss of Queen Elizabeth felt among Syracuse's Irish community

Four statue figures stand on a podium at the Tipperary Hill Memorial Park honoring the"brave sons of Ireland."
Matt Hassan
The Tipperary Hill Memorial Park statue in Syracuse features four figures honoring "the brave sons of Ireland," Sept. 16, 2022.

As the historic funeral of the British monarch Queen Elizabeth II captivated the world on Monday, Syracuse’s large Irish community gave the event its attention.

Ireland has a complicated history with the United Kingdom. Past violent disputes between the two powers helped feed the diaspora that initially brought Irish immigrants to our region.

But Shelly Mahoney, the owner of the Irish antique shop Cashel House, said the loss of the queen is felt among Syracuse residents with Irish roots.

“I was very sad to hear the news," Mahoney said. "I think we honor her over here, nearly as much as they do over there."

Syracuse University professor and British historian Alan Allport said some Irish-Americans resent the crown because of its turbulent history with Ireland. But he said their anger is not personal to the queen.

"I think it’s been more about what the monarchy and the crown has represented," Allport said. "It clearly represents the British authority and the British state. For lots of Irish people, of course, there are some tragic memories of that, going back to, perhaps, the time of their great-grandparents.”

Allport said Queen Elizabeth helped heal some British-Irish relations. She was the first British monarch to visit the Republic of Ireland.

Census datashows Syracuse’s Irish community is at least 20,000 strong.

Matt Hassan is a senior broadcast and digital journalism student at Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications. He is minoring in History and sport management. Matt grew up in Port Washington, New York on Long Island. He creates print, radio, and television stories almost daily on a wide range of topics, including hard news, profiles, and sports. Matt hopes to pursue a career as either a reporter or producer of news.
Karl Winter is a graduate student studying broadcast and digital journalism at Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications, expected to graduate in May 2023. As a multimedia reporter, Karl helps produce audio and digital content for WAER. Karl moved to Syracuse from Stockton, California, and attended undergraduate college at Pepperdine University in Malibu.