Seamus Condon with the handwritten and handillustrated memoirs of his grandfather, Andrew J. Byrne, 65th New York Infantry

The Distant Past? Ireland’s American Civil War Grandchildren

I have had the good fortune to deliver dozens of lectures around Ireland discussing local connections to the American Civil War. Wherever I am, I always highlight two factors; the ...

An African-American soldier photographed with his wife and daughters (Library of Congress)

North Carolina Slave, Union Widow, Liberian Emigrant: The Journey of Nancy Askie

My interest in the remarkable information contained within the widows and dependent pension files extends well beyond just those claims associated with Irish-Americans. The files are of major importance for ...

Irish Púca (Celtic Mythpod)

Fairies, Púca & New Year’s Eve: An 1860s Irish Folktale for Irish-Americans

Tales of mythological creatures like fairies and púca remained popular in Ireland well into the 20th century. Many 19th century Irish emigrants carried a strong tradition of these stories with them to ...

Spotlight

henry_livermore_abbott_in_uniform

Communicating Death & Creating Memory on Fredericksburg’s Streets

I have recently had a conference paper accepted on the topic of letters communicating ...
The Rawding Family homestead in Nebraska, 1886 (Library of Congress)

Hard Graft & Grasshoppers: Irish Homesteaders in 1870s Nebraska

The middle of the 19th century saw substantial numbers of Irish emigrants ...
9th Massachusetts Gettysburg Combined

Manipulating Memory: The Story of the 9th Massachusetts Monument at Gettysburg

Gettysburg’s Big Round Top is home to one of the lesser known ...

Latest News

The Forgotten Irish: Early Reviews

The Forgotten Irish will be officially launched in Dublin in January 2017, with the book becoming available in the United States later in the year. I would like to thank everyone for the initial feedback it has received. Claire Santry of the excellent Irish Genealogy News has written an extremely kind review of the book […]

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Excelsior Brigade Memorial, Gettysburg (Damian Shiels)

Time to Move Beyond the Irish Brigade? The Problems with Studying Ethnic Irish Units– A Case Study of the New York Irish at Gettysburg

When we think and examine the Irish of the American Civil War, we often consider first and foremost ethnic units; formations such as the Irish Brigade, Corcoran’s Legion or regimental level contingents such as the 9th Massachusetts and 69th Pennsylvania. Such units have undeniably been the focus of attention for both scholars and enthusiasts (this […]

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The monument to the 65th New York at Culp's Hill, Gettysburg, which I took the opportunity to visit on my recent trip. Both John Clark and John O'Brien died as a result of artillery bombardment not far from this spot (Damian Shiels)

“Mother many a good man wint acrost the river but never come back, it was murder”: An Irishman at Fredericksburg & Gettysburg

I am currently working through the New York unit casualties at Gettysburg to draw together all those of Irish-birth or Irish ethnicity who lost their lives as a result of that engagement. Four men of the 65th New York Infantry (1st United States Chausseurs) died as a result of the fighting that July– almost certainly […]

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Second Wisconsin Infantry Memorial in the Herbst Woods, Gettysburg (Damian Shiels)

Emigrant Irish Badgers: With the Second Wisconsin in Herbst’s Woods

A focus of my recent trip to the Gettysburg battlefield was to look at some of the stories of Irishmen who were among that majority who undertook their war service in non-ethnic Irish units. A number of them were to be found in the 2nd Wisconsin Infantry– part of the famed Iron Brigade– who on […]

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The 94th New York Infantry Memorial, Oak Ridge, Gettysburg (Damian Shiels)

‘Pro Patria Mori’: The 94th New York Memorial & the Irish of Oak Ridge, Gettysburg

I have just returned from a visit to the Gettysburg battlefield, a journey that will be the subject of a number of posts over the coming weeks and months. While there I had the opportunity to stay in the wonderful Doubleday Inn, which is located on Oak Ridge, part of the first day’s battlefield. The […]

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RTE Radio 1

The Forgotten Irish Brought to Life on RTE Radio 1

The first publicity for my new book The Forgotten Irish came recently on the RTE Radio 1’s The History Show. The programme featured extracts from four of the stories, with actors reading from a number of the letters. It is always great to hear these letters brought to life in this way– particularly as one gets a […]

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A depiction of Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. Charly Gallagher was one of the men who repulsed it (Library of Congress)

In the Ghostly Footsteps of the Gettysburg Irish

My posts have been less frequent than normal of late due to a range of book and conference commitments, so apologies to readers for the longer than normal gap! I will shortly be heading to the United States for the first time in a couple of years, taking in some locations relating to the Irish experience in […]

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National Library of Ireland (Photo:YvonneM)

Podcast: The Forgotten Irish– Revealing the Personal Stories of 19th Century Emigrants

On 18th August last I was privileged to return to the National Library of Ireland in Dublin to deliver one of the Summer lunchtime talks at the institution, which are organised by Eneclann and the Ancestor Network. The title of the talk was The Forgotten Irish: Revealing the Personal Stories of 19th Century Emigrants through American […]

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Intelligence Map

The Other Bermuda Triangle: Invasion attempts in Ireland, America, and Bermuda

There is some superb research being undertaken into elements of the Irish diaspora at present, both at home and abroad. The site has been fortunate to feature a number of guest posts in the past highlighting some of this scholarly research. I am delighted to be able to share a fascinating post prepared for the site […]

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Turf being taken home in Kerry at the turn of the 20th century. A scene that would have been familiar to Charles (Library of Congress)

‘All Abouth Home’: An Illiterate Emigrant’s Letters from America to Kerry in the 1850s

As I often reiterate, the greatest value of the widows’ and dependents’ Civil War Pension Files lies not in what they contain about the American Civil War, but in what they tell us about 19th century Irish emigrants and emigration. There are few finer examples of this than the file associated with Charles Greaney. The […]

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