People of Irish descent make up the largest ethnic community in Massachusetts, and any discussion about American history, immigration, the 18th century, or historical landmarks wouldn’t be complete without the Irish Heritage Trail—a set of 20 sites downtown and in Back Bay, as well as 50 others in the surrounding cities and neighborhoods and throughout Massachusetts.
The best place to begin is just east of Rose Kennedy Greenway at the Rose Kennedy Garden, after which you can visit the statues of Kevin White and James Michael Curley (four-time mayor known as the Purple Shamrock). Boston City Hall is just down the street, and from there you can head down to the Famine Memorial, which pays tribute to the 100,000 refugees that fled starvation in the 1840s.
The Protestant-only Granary Burying Grounds, established back in 1660, holds two signers of the Declaration of Independence (John Hancock and Robert Treat Paine) as well as a victim of the famous Boston Massacre of 1770.
Farther along, you can admire the Massachusetts State House, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument of 1876, the Boston Massacre Monument, and statues of other important figures like Colonel Thomas Cass, David I. Walsh, and Maurice Tobin. Lastly, don’t forget to stop at the oldest public library in the country, the Boston Public Library (and the legendary Fenway Park, while you’re there!).
The three miles of central landmarks can be self-toured easily, and the Boston Irish Tourism Association (BITA) has helpful information and a map at the Irish Heritage Trail of Boston site.