William Kennedy on his unsung origins. ℘℘℘ My grandfathers, George Kennedy and Peter McDonald, died before I was born. I came to know something of them through talks with my parents and other relatives, a few artifacts, death certificates and obituaries, and two photographs that defined them for me forever. Both photos are working-class portraits.Read more..
Posts Tagged ‘Irish America 15th anniversary issue’
The English Catholic martyr, St. Edmund Campion, lived in Dublin for a while in 1569 and here is what he wrote about the Irish: “The people are thus inclined: religious, franke, amorous, irefull, sufferable of paines infinite, very glorious, many sorcerers, excellent horsemen, delighted with warres, great almes-givers, passing in hospitalitie: the lewder sort bothRead more..
When I was 13 years old, my mother took my siblings and me to Rockaway Beach in New York City for the day. After we romped in the ocean and were sufficiently sunburned, we ended up at a rather run-down Irish tavern that was hosting a singing contest. Since I can carry a tune, myRead more..
Being Irish? Is being a clannish islander with all the good and all the bad that comes of that. Is being pagan and spiritual at the same time, in the same bone marrow, with all the good and all the bad that comes of that. Is not knowing how different you are until you meetRead more..
My south London schoolmates and I struggled with our Irishness during the 1970s. Nearly all of us had Irish parents who had settled in England in the 1940s and 1950s, but we had been born and raised in London. Did that make us English or Irish? Most of us made regular summer trips to Ireland,Read more..
Gregory Peck, the Hollywood legend, will long be remembered for his Oscar-winning performance as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird and his roles in such classics as The Yearling, Gentleman’s Agreement and Roman Holiday. Here he recalls a visit to his relatives in County Kerry. ℘℘℘ I love Wicklow, but I suppose if weRead more..
Some thoughts on being Irish-American. ℘℘℘ As a proud Irish-American, I begin with a simple assumption: there is no way to precisely define that elusive, complex human category called the Irish-American. The tools of sociology are as inadequate to the task as the forms of the Census Bureau, and the jeweler’s art of the lexicographerRead more..
Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1953 to 1987. His 10-year tenure as Speaker of the House was the longest consecutive run in U.S. history. Here he recalls growing up in Boston with his widower father. ℘℘℘ Growing up as a youngster, you were instilled with three things. TheRead more..
During his 34 years with the Supreme Court, Justice William Brennan, Jr. (1906 – 1998) was widely recognized as one of the primary architects of public policy in the country. ℘℘℘ On his childhood in Newark, N.J.: I had every kind of job in the world. Across the street from us was a dairy farm,Read more..
Even now, here 30 years since, when I turn to the southwest in Ennis from Shannon, and head out on the peninsula that ends at Loop Head, and somewhere on that road get my first wind of turfsmoke, I remember the first time and the sense that I had then of coming home. “The name’sRead more..