Your Go To Guide for all things local!

Category: St. Patrick’s Day

Get Out of the House! 6 Fun Things For March

Myles Standish State Forest

In these days before spring really arrives, it’s so easy to stay on the couch and binge-watch TV episodes. We’re trying to resist that temptation (although This Is Us is very good.) Here we give you 6 fun reasons to get out of the house.

Photo courtesy of Buzzards Bay Coalition

Photo courtesy of Buzzards Bay Coalition

1. Get Fit, and Smart (at the same time)

The Buzzards Bay Coalition and the Wareham Land Trust have partnered to bring us fresh air and history with Wednesday Walkabouts: Historical Tour Series. Take a stroll through four conservation properties and learn about their previous lives as cranberry bogs, iron works and mills. Thanks to Southcoast Health,  these events are free. But you should register online. See how to do that here.

 

 

Photo courtesy Ray Drueke

2. Jazzin’ Around

We know we’ve mentioned the South Coast Jazz Orchestra before. More than once. That’s because they’re that good. Get out and listen to this tremendous group of musicians on either March 13 or March 27 (or both!), hosted by the incomparable Gilda. You will be blown away by their talent. You will also need reservations because the place fills up. Gilda’s Stone Rooster, 27 Marion Road, Wareham, 508-748-9700.

 

Photo courtesy of East Wind Lobster & Grille

Photo courtesy of East Wind Lobster & Grille

3. Turn Up the Gas

Jean Lanahan, owner of the East Wind Lobster & Grille, gives us hands-on cooking lessons. On March 8, she offers Fish 101. She’ll teach you Pan Seared Scallops, Rolled Flounder, Poached Salmon and Fried Calamari & Banana Pepper. On March 15, she invites you to play with quahogs. You’ll work with ‘hogs, ‘necks, and cherrystones  to create Stuffed Quahogs, Quahog Stew, and Littlenecks with pasta. Then on March 22, she’ll be teaching easy pasta dishes and wine pairings. Just $30 per class, participants will learn how to cook, eat dinner together and take home the leftovers. You can’t beat that.

You must reserve your space in advance — check out East Wind’s Facebook page here for more info. March 8, 15 or 22 from 6:30 to 8:30. 2 Main Street, Buzzards Bay, 508-759-1857.

Fremantle prisoner Michael Harrington4. Irish Adventures

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, go check out the current exhibit at the New Bedford Whaling Museum: Famine, Friends & Fenians. It’s a fascinating tale of New Bedford/Irish history just waiting for a Hollywood screenwriter to create a swashbuckling movie. We wrote about the Fenians last year on our blog so if you want to get up to speed before going to the exhibit, check that out here. New Bedford Whaling Museum, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, whalingmuseum.org

Photo courtesy of Ella's Woodburning Oven Restaurant

Photo courtesy of Ella’s Woodburning Oven Restaurant

5. Farm-to-Table Party

The spring equinox is March 20. Two days later, Ella’s Woodburning Oven Restaurant celebrates with a farm-to-table dinner, featuring meat from Weatherlow Farms and greens from Eva’s Garden (see more about Eva here). Chef Marc Swierkowski of Ella’s teams up with Chef Ed Rosazck from Mattapoisett’s How on Earth to create a delicious celebration of our local bounty. Bog Iron Brewery of Norton rounds out the dinner with local craft beer pairings for the dinner. Contact Ella’s Woodburning Stove Restaurant for more information at 508.759.3600 or [email protected]

 

 

 

6. Page to Stage

Page to Stage at the Z (Photo courtesy of Zeiterion Theater)

Page to Stage at the Z (Photo courtesy of Zeiterion Theater)

For a different kind of pairing, the Z is offering three stage performances with a twist this month. To deepen the theater experience, the Z will offer community book clubs to accompany each performance, delving into the themes of the books before the topics come alive on stage.

A March 1 book club will discuss  Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism by Pulitzer Prize-winner Ron Suskind, which is linked to Spencers: Theatre of Illusion performance on March 4.  Life, Animated is a twisting, 20-year journey that follows the author’s autistic son Owen, and inspired the Oscar nominated documentary of the same name.

On March 2, the book club discusses The Giver by Lois Lowry before seeing American Place Theatre’s superb adaptation the same night. A Newberry Award-winning book, The Giver has become a staple of young adult reading lists but it’s engaging for adults as well, with a story that will have you thinking about big concepts like ethics and individuality long after you put the book down,

On March 30, prior to the arrival of Argentine company Che Malambo later that night, the Z’s book club will discuss Evita: The Real Life of Eva Peron by Nicholas Fraser and Marysa Navarro.

The book groups are free and open to the public but please RSVP here. To purchase tickets to the shows, go here. The Zeiterion Theater,  684 Purchase Street, New Bedford.

 

If you have any other suggestions to tear us away from Hulu and Netflix, leave them in the comment section. And if you want to stay in the know about cool and eclectic South Coast events, sign up for our free emails right here.

 

Continue Reading

A South Coast Tale for St. Patrick’s Day

The New Bedford Whaling Ship Catalpa

What does a prison break, Queen Victoria, and Australia have to do with St. Patrick’s Day in New Bedford?

The answer lies in a thrilling 1876 escape from a remote Australian prison involving six Irish Nationalists, a secret agent, a rowboat and a fearless sea captain.

Sarah Rose, Curator of Education at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, shared the story with me. Rose recently went to Ireland to set up an exchange between the Museum and Irish high school students.

Here’s the story.

In the late 1860s, the British Empire convicted a number of British soldiers to death for treason for having joined the Irish National Brotherhood (they were referred to as Fenians). Queen Victoria commuted their death sentence to a life of hard labor in a remote Western Australian prison.  Fremantle Prison was a place as infamous as Alcatraz, impossible to escape, with desert to the east, shark infested waters to the west, and long days of back-breaking labor.

The Fremantle prisoners reached out for help to John Devoy, a fellow Fenian who had been exiled to the United States. Devoy raised funds, bought a whaling ship named the Catalpa, and persuaded an American captain, George Anthony, to attempt to rescue them by sea.

It was a crazy idea. One which depended on over a year of planning and plenty of luck. Captain Anthony embarked on the Catalpa under the guise of a whaling expedition.

Meanwhile, James Breslin, an Irish nationalist posing as an American millionaire, was able to gain entry into the prison by feigning interest in cheap labor and investment opportunities in Fremantle. Breslin got word to the inmates that they must ALL be outside on Easter Monday 1876 if they were to be rescued. There would not be any second chances for anyone left behind.

At the appointed time, all six men were outside. Breslin arrived and spirited them away by horses twelve miles down the coast where a rowboat and Captain Anthony waited for them. They rowed with all their might for the whaling ship which waited a few miles out — just beyond the point where international waters began.

But their escape was discovered and the alarms sounded just as they were beginning to row. For two days, the men rowed heroically. They survived an intense gale which broke the boat’s mast and a police cutter bearing down on them. Meanwhile, back at the Catalpa, the first mate was being harassed by an imposing British steamer, the SS Georgette, which had been commandeered by the Australian governor to thwart the escape plan. The Georgette’s captain demanded to board the Catalpa. The Catalpa’s first mate refused entry. The stalemate ended when the British steamer was forced to turn back for more fuel.

The Georgette returned the next day, refueled and heavily armed for combat, after the prisoners had finally reached the boat following a last minute chase by the police cutter. The Georgette came menacingly close to the whale ship and threatened to fire upon the Catalpa. Captain Anthony raised the American flag and dared the British ship to fire, declaring that an attack on the Catalpa in international waters would be considered an act of war against the United States.

But with no available wind, the Catalpa was unable to sail away and the Georgette attempted to maneuver the Catalpa into Australian waters so that it could fire upon the American ship with impunity. Fortuitously, the wind picked up and the Catalpa sailed away.

When the ship entered New York harbor five months later, hundreds of thousands of people greeted the Fremantle Six. Their daring prison rescue was an international story and the Irish fight for independence was reinvigorated.

It’s a story definitely worthy of a swashbuckling Hollywood movie. For more background, check out Smithsonian Magazine or a PBS episode about the event, Irish Escape.

Even better, go to the New Bedford Whaling Museum next fall to check out “Friends, Famine and Fenians” in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. Word is that the original flag from the Catalpa may be there.

And to bring it all around to our original question: what does all this have to do with St. Patrick’s Day in New Bedford?

  • The brave whaling captain who led the expedition and boldly dared the British Navy to fire upon his ship was — you guessed it — a New Bedford guy sailing a New Bedford ship out of New Bedford Harbor. Unfortunately, Captain Anthony’s career as a whaling captain was cut short as a result of the incident because the British Navy threatened to arrest him if they found him in international waters again.
  • It’s St. Patrick’s Day.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from South Coast Almanac!

The Fremantle Six (photos: Wikipedia)
Fremantle prisoner Martin HoganFremantle prisoner Thomas DarraghFremantle prisoner James WilsonFremantle prisoner Robett CranstonFremantle Prisoner Thomas Hassett Fremantle prisoner Michael Harrington

Continue Reading