Travels With Ian: Oh, The Place We Go!

St. Patrick’s Basilica is nestled on one of those winding streets in lower Manhattan, living in strange harmony with modern skyscrapers, three-story brick Victorian townhouses, and cast-iron buildings from the turn of the century. But back when the basilica was built in 1809 none of that was there; it was surrounded by farmland and the country houses of the rich. Later, in 1836, it was defended by Irish Catholics shooting their muskets through through special holes in the walls at the anti-Catholic Know-Nothing nativists, who believed that the priests were raping girls and burning the babies.

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