Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has paid tribute to the Irish emigrants who left Ireland to make a new life in America.

The mayor is on a ten-day Irish trip which takes in several days in his parent’s Connemara home area.

“When we touched down in Shannon,” the mayor told Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen, “I was thinking about my parents. They were just kids when they left here.

"It’s the immigrant story, really. Leaving your country with nothing, looking for work. Coming back here made me think of that, the courage you need to leave everything you know and start in a different place, a different culture.”

Mary Walsh Marty’s mother told Cullen she remembered the day well. 

“I was 17,” Mary Walsh said. “My cousin, Margaret Beatty, came over on the plane with me. It was TWA. It was a 15-hour flight.”

“We didn’t have phones,” Mary (O’Malley) Walsh said. “We didn’t have cars.”

Marty Walsh was diagnosed with cancer as a boy in Boston and his mother prayed to Mary of Knock Shrine, it was to Mary that Mary Walsh prayed. 

“Holy Mary, mother of God,” she prayed, “if you heal my son, I will bring him to Knock.”

This week mother and son will go to the County Mayo center of pilgrimage.

“There have already been a lot of emotional moments for me,” Mary Walsh said“But I think Knock will be something else.”

“I was worried about him,” Mary Walsh said, in those heady days after her son was elected mayor. “I was worried about his privacy. But I’m fine with it now. I understand.”

Walsh is considered one of the family in Connemara.

A local coffee shop will host them for breakfast tomorrow.

“They’re coming for breakfast in the morning,” owner Cait Flaherty told Kevin Cullen. 

“The mayor is bringing his mum and his uncle Peter for breakfast. They’ll be most welcome. Because they’re home.”