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A visit to Philadelphia with Stephen and Dan.

Dan and I were over with our friends at QVC television and decided to take some time out and this is what we got up to! Fighting jet lag, we did not want to give into the fatigue and so after a hearty breakfast of pancakes and coffee we head into the city. It is a sunny day although a little cool so early in the morning.

Philadelphia is a fantastic city and is the largest city in the state of Pennsylvania. It is also one of the largest cities in the United States in fact it was the capital of the United States from 1790 to 1800.

We could not be here and miss visiting the “Rocky” statue, I don’t know when I last saw Dan look so excited and he must have had me take 50 photos of him with Rocky! At Dan’s insistence I also posed beside the boxing legend as I doubt, he would have spoken to me the whole way home had I not!

There is a very large Irish community in Philadelphia mainly due to the mass immigration that took place during the famine times in Ireland. We visited the Irish memorial which depicts the cruel starvation that claimed over one million Irish lives between 1845 to 1850. The harrowing journey to America and the indomitable spirit of those who arrived safely and resolved to face the challenges of life in a new world. Although it saddens me greatly to think of the total heartbreak of leaving home under such horrendous circumstances, I am so very proud of my fellow Irish men and women who despite it all went on to make a new life and thrive in the USA and indeed around the world.

What I enjoyed most was learning about Commodore John Barry who is one of Ireland’s most famous naval commanders. Just outside Independence Hall you can see a very impressive statue of the man himself.

Barry was born in Tacumshane, in the southeast of Co. Wexford in 1745. His uncle was captain of a fishing boat, and it was through his uncle that he grew to love the sea.

When he was only sixteen, Barry emigrated to America. He made his home in Philadelphia, which was a very important sea trading center. During his lifetime, he had lots of great successes. He was the first to conquer a British war ship out on the high seas. He also wrote a very important Signal Book that helped ships communicate with each other at sea.

Barry was a highly respected commander during the American Revolution, when he was captain of a ship called Alliance. It was this ship and its crew that won the last sea battle of the American Revolution off the coast of Cape Canaveral in 1783.

Eventually, when the U.S. Navy was established, he was promoted to senior captain of the war ship United States. In 1797, he was given Commission Number 1 by President George Washington. From then on, his title was ‘Commodore’ and is now known as known as ‘The Father of the American Navy’.

What a story from a young boy from Wexford, he began his life at sea as a cabin boy, and eventually became the commander of the entire United States Navy!

Finally, we visit the Liberty Bell. Tradition tells of a chime that changed the world on July 8, 1776, with the Liberty Bell ringing out from the tower of Independence Hall summoning the citizens of Philadelphia to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon.

We really enjoyed the stroll around this fantastic city and would highly recommend a visit if you find yourself out this way.

Until next time, have a lovely weekend,


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