In this my latest blog on the history of Irish America, I go back again to the 19th century and to the life of the Irish-born editor and political commentator, Edwin Lawrence Godkin. Now a forgotten figure, in his heyday between the 1860s and 1890s he was influential and well-connected, numbering the writer Henry James among his many prominent American friends and associates.
14 February 2018
For Irish public figures in the latter part of the 19th century and the opening decades of the 20th, a tour of America was a well-trodden path. They crossed the Atlantic because they knew that the Irish in America represented a rich vein of moral and financial support for Irish nationalist movements.
This is my second blog on aspects of Irish-American history and it may be considered an unusual one, in that its subject is neither Irish nor American. It focuses on the French aristocrat, Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859), who is renowned as the author of Democracy in America, his reflections on America gleaned during the nine months he spent there in 1831/32 in the company of his traveling companion, Gustave de Beaumont
22 December 2017
Since my arrival in Washington in August of this year, I have been on a voyage of discovery and have sought to immerse myself in the Ireland-US relationship in all of its many dimensions.
13 December 2017
This is the first in what I intend will be a series of blogs on aspects of Irish-American history.
I recently paid a visit to the site some 25 miles from Washington of the Battle of Bull Run/Manassas, the first major military engagement of the American Civil War where, on the 21st of July 1861, between them the Union and Confederate forces sustained some 5,000 casualties. On the way to the battlefield, I dipped into the diaries of a renowned Irish war correspondent who reported on that fateful battle.
28 November 2017
On Saturday, 4th of November on the occasion of the annual gathering of the American Conference for Irish Studies (mid-Atlantic Region), I was asked to respond to Professor Michael Valdez Moses’ paper entitled ‘Where the Bodies are Buried: Seamus Heaney’s Political Geography’, which prompted me to reflect on the sense of place and historical space in Irish poetry.
31 October 2017
In July, I travelled to my native city of Waterford for a conference to mark the 80th anniversary of Ireland's Constitution, Bunreacht na hÉireann, and the life of its chief draftsman, Waterford-born John Hearne. A bust of Hearne was unveiled by the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, in Waterford's newly-named Constitution Square.