Essays and Such

Irish Cultural Society

of San Antonio Texas


Promoting Awareness of Irish Culture

Avoca Texas
by Dick McCracken Oct - 00
Early Irish-Texans


Shortly after the fall of the Alamo a group of Irish settlers
in San Antonio, led by a Mr. William E. Howth, established 
and platted a new city called Avoca two-and-one-half miles 
north of downtown San Antonio at the headwaters of the San 
Antonio River. Until 1842 lots were sold, streets named, and 
some homes partially o completely built. When the city 
leaders realized that whoever owned the land at the head of 
the river virtually controlled the river, a Spanish land 
grant was used as the basis of San Antonio's expansion of 
its outer limits to include Avoca. This effectively put a 
end to Mr. Howth's dream city of Avoca which probably would 
have been to the Irish what New Braunfels is to the German 
community. Avoca is listed in the Texas Almanac as one of 
forty famous Texas ghost towns, although not as "lost" as 
the almanac might think. The word "Avoca" comes from a place 
in County Wicklow, Ireland (near Dublin), where two rivers 
meet and called the vale of Avoca. The latter was made 
famous in a poem and song by Thomas Moore, "The Meeting of 
the Waters."
It is likely that the meeting place of the Olmos Creek and 
the San Antonio River headwaters on campus might originally 
have reminded these Irish settlers of that lovely place in 
the Wicklow mountains. Today, our dry spells tend to make the 
'meeting of the waters' at the headwaters of the San Antonio 
River much more cyclical, but Avoca at the university of the 
Incarnate Word (UIW) remains.
On October 5, 2000 Avoca at the UIW was blessed and the 
building named for the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate 
Word.  Four of the sisters present for the occasion came to 
the United States from Ireland.  (ccvi Newsletter, Dick 
McCracken  Oct - 00)