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Oct 11, 2022 Washington, D.C. —
The White House Historical Association released a new episode of The White House 1600 Sessions podcast today, “White House Builder James Hoban’s Irish Roots.” In the episode, Stewart McLaurin, president of the White House Historical Association and author of James Hoban: Designer and Builder of the White House, travels to Hoban’s birthplace to discover the architectural styles and designs that influenced the young Irishman before he set sail across the Atlantic Ocean.
Over 230 years ago, James Hoban left Ireland for America to pursue his dream of becoming an architect. Selected by President George Washington to design and build the President’s House, Hoban would go on to create one of the most famous and recognizable buildings in the world.
“We have much work to do in the United States and in Ireland to spread the word and educate people about the important man from County Kilkenny who came to America and spent 29 years working to build, rebuild, and then add on to the President’s House,” said McLaurin. “James Hoban spent his life's work invested in one building. Now that work is known by three words: The White House.”
McLaurin retraces the young Irishman’s journey from County Kilkenny to Dublin with the help of special guests:
- Laurie Grace, Chairman of the James Hoban Society of Ireland
- Brother Christy O’Carroll, Congregation of Christian Brothers
- Ciaran O’Connor, State Architect of Ireland
- Merlo Kelly, Senior Architect, Lotts Architecture & Urbanism and contributor to James Hoban: Designer and Builder of the White House
- Brian O’Connell, Director and Founder of O’Connell Mahon Architects and contributor to James Hoban: Designer and Builder of the White House,
Watch the full video of this podcast episode here.
Laurie Grace, Chairman of the James Hoban Society of Ireland, said perhaps one reason the historic record does not say a great deal about the architect is that James Hoban comes across as a very modest man. “He seems to have been happy to help George Washington…and I suspect he just got on with his job and he didn't really look for the plaudits. Maybe if he had, we might know more about him. I think that's the character of the man.”
To hear the full episode, visit https://www.whitehousehistory.org/the-white-house-1600-sessions.
The 1600 Sessions is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.
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The White House 1600 Sessions
White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin. McLaurin is the host of “The White House 1600 Sessions,” the Association’s official audio and video podcast devoted to exploring the history, cultural impact, untold stories, and personal accounts of America’s most iconic residence and highest office.
About the White House Historical Association
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy envisioned a restored White House that conveyed a sense of history through its decorative and fine arts. She sought to inspire Americans, especially children, to explore and engage with American history and its presidents. In 1961, the nonprofit, nonpartisan White House Historical Association was established to support her vision to preserve and share the Executive Mansion’s legacy for generations to come. Supported entirely by private resources, the Association’s mission is to assist in the preservation of the state and public rooms, fund acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and educate the public on the history of the White House. Since its founding, the Association has given more than $100 million to the White House in fulfillment of its mission.
To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit WhiteHouseHistory.org.