Museum’s St. Patrick’s Day program focuses on Irish immigrants

SOUTHPORT, N.C. — When this month’s 3rd Tuesday program hosted by the N.C. Maritime Museum at Southport fell on March 17, organizers say it made it easy for them to pick the topic.

“There’s no better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than talking about the Irish,” Katy Menne, the museum’s education curator, said.

Paul Townend, associate vice chancellor and dean of Undergraduate Studies at UNCW, will present “Alcohol and the Irish” at 7 p.m. on March 17. Townend’s program examines Irish immigrants in North Carolina and their connection to alcohol from pre-emigration to the present. The presentation is part of the museum’s 3rd Tuesday series, which is held at the Southport Community Center, 223 East Bay St.

“Typically when 3rd Tuesday falls on St. Patrick’s Day, we don’t do a program since it’s the same date Old Yacht Basin opens for the season,” Menne said.

But with that opening scheduled for March 7 this year, Menne said they moved forward with plans for a program. They first considered focusing on rum-running, but discussions evolved into taking a look at the Irish and their immigration to the region. So they invited Townend, who researches and writes about modern Britain and Ireland with a particular focus on the 19th century and the history of alcohol and temperance.

“He’s not been here in the last two years at least,” Menne said. “So we’re looking forward to bringing him back.

3rd Tuesday programs

Townend’s presentation is free, as are all 3rd Tuesday lectures. However, the museum will accept donations via Sammi the Shark. Patrons can drop donations inside the inflatable shark, and the museum will earmark all donations for a specific purpose. The museum will dedicate funds collected at Townend’s program toward building updates to include maintenance, storage, shelving and installation of a recently donated door for the education classroom.

Seating for Townend’s presentation is limited, so registration is required. The program is geared for ages 16 and older. Contact the museum at 910-477-5151 for more information or to register.

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