III. Celtic Place Names in Houston and Harris County

(streets, roads, parks, and buildings)

There is not room to list all the streets, roads, parks and buildings in Texas with an Irish or Celtic connection. Instead only Houston, the state's largest city, which itself is named after an Irishman, is given. Houston being a port city and that elements of the Irish settlements of East Texas and the Irish colonies of South Texas drifted into it, makes it probably a bit more Irish than those cities and towns in the Texas hinterland, but as you can see from the number of counties, cities and towns with Texas names, the odds of there not being a street, road, building, park, creek, or some place name with an Irish or Celtic connection in most every Texas town is pretty low. Houston was chosen because it is the State's biggest city, the fourth largest city in the United States, and the name most people outside of Texas come up with when asked to name a city in Texas.

Houston, as was covered in the text, was named for Sam Houston whose father was born in Ireland. It was built by the Allen brothers who were Irish. Its first Mayor, Francis Moore, Jr. was an Irishman as were many, many others. `Houston' was the first word spoken from the moon's surface when Neal Armstrong called his homebase to tell them "the Eagle had landed." The Irish and other Celts have left their mark on Houston in the names of its streets, schools, buildings and parks.

The highways, byways, streets and alleys of Houston honor Celts with their names. Various intersections and exits off Houston's main thoroughfares remind us almost daily of people so honored. Some of these include: Sam Houston Parkway, McCarty Drive, Lyons Avenue, Murphy Road, Roark Road, Hogan's Alley, Riley, McKinnon, Ross Sterling, Madden, O'Brien, Patterson, Murphy, McCable, Tuam, Cullen, Kelley, Collingsworth, Kirby, and Burke streets. There is Kennedy Boulevard going into Intercontinental airport; Downtown there are Calhoun, Fannin, Bagby, McKinney, and Rusk streets all reflecting a Celtic tie to Houston's past.

Out in the subdivisions of Houston and Harris County are found still more place names distinctively Celtic: Connaught Way, Mayo Street, Keegan's Wood, Erin Glen, Cochran's Crossing, Keegan's Glen, Meath Circle, Donegal Way, Carlow Street, Catlett Street, Belfast Street, Antrim Street, Limerick Street, Donegal Street, Killarney Lane, Shannon Street, East and West Clare Streets, Kilkenny Lane, Cavan Street, Galway Lane, Connemeara Street, Tipperary Street, Tyrone Street, and Limerick Lane. A Additionally there is Tara Trail, Colleen Street, Irish Hills Lane, and Ireland Street. Irish family names are well represented in the Houston area. In fact the names Daugherty, Dunn, Keene, Kelly, Logan, Brian, Bryan, Buchanan, and Casey all are used in more than three forms (street, circle, lane). Still other street names named after Celtic people are: Bailey, Carey, Collingsworth, Doyle,Colin, Keith, O'Hara, Blalock, Cafferey, Hurley, O'Donnel, O'Meara, O'Neal, Colley, Scanlon, O'Brien, Malone, Gallagher, O'Neil, Flynn, Fitzgerald, Grogan's Mill Road, O'Reilly, O'Malley, Connally, Dagan, Cavanaugh, Keegan, Quinn, Higgins, Conlon, Carr, Cassidy, Deveraux, Madden, Mooney, and MacNaughton.

There are more than 100 `Mc's from McAdden to McWilliams. There is a Blarney Drive, a Leprecaun Lane, and even a Hamm and Cabbage Drive and Street respectively!

Buildings are usually named for someone who owns or owned them, or for someone important to the business first housed there, or in the community generally. There are many buildings in Houston with such Gaelic names as: Allen (several) including the Allen Center, Cameron Iron, Cullen (several) including the Cullen Auditorium, Dunlavy, John S. Dunn, Fannin (3), Foley's, Ford, Ford Aero Space, Gordon Jewelry, Grogans Green, Hogg, Houston (several), Jones Hall, Kelly, Kirby, Leahy Archives, McClelland Center, McDonnell-Douglas, McFadden, Montgomery County Bank, Moore Paper, Robert J. Neal, Scanlan, Shamrock Professional, Stewart & Stevenson, Stewart Title, Travis (several). In addition there are the Corrigan Jewelry stores and the Sweeny Jewelry stores as well as the many Foley's Department Stores.

There is also the Sam Houston Coliseum, the Casey Federal Building, and the Esperson buildings (see the text for an explanation of the latter).

The oldest standing building in Houston, as late as 2001, was John Kennedy's Trading Center, now a night spot, and let us not forget the Shamrock Hotel.

As one would expect the schools of Houston are named for people important to the community either through the schools or more broadly in history. Here, too, we find several Irish and Celtic names: Bowie, Burnet, Campbell, Casey, Cooley, Crockett, Cullen, Douglass, Dowling, Gordon, Gregg, Kennedy, Hogan, Harris, Grady, Hamilton, Henderson, Jackson, Jones, Kelso, Kennedy, Killough, Key, Kilpatrick, Lee, Looscan, Lynchburg, MacArthur, MacGregor, McAuliff, McCoullough, McDade, McMasters, McMullin, McNamara, McReynolds, McWhirter-Webster, Milam, Monohan, Montgomery, Owens, Parker, Patterson, Pugh, Reagan, Reynolds, Ross, Rusk, Ryan, Sam Houston, Scott, Sterling Ross, Stuart, and Travis.

Libraries, too, are named in the same manner in the Houston area there are the following: Carnagie, Jones, Looscan, Montgomery, and Moody.

The parks of the city also reflect a Celtic touch including: Adair, Bowie, Brown, Cameron Recreation Facility, Corrigan, Cullen Barker, Cullen, Cullinan, Davis, Burnet, Dunlavy, Finnigan, Hennessey, Grogan's Mill Village, Grogans, Hennessey, Houston Aboretum, Houston Gardens, Houston, McGee, Moody, Roy Campbell Burough, Roy Campbell, and Sam Houston Park.

Obviously then, there were people of the Gaelic persuasion, Texans, who were important enough in the minds of other Texans, to be honored by the greatest tribute man can give another man's life, by naming a part of their community for him or her. This then is the real proof of the Celtic connection to Texas history!

 

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