Forgetting Ireland

By: Bridget Connelly

Price: $22.95

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Forgetting Ireland is both a history and mystery, a story of western Ireland's Connemara coast and of Graceville, a small town in western Minnesota. In 1880, at the height of Ireland's second famine, a ship of paupers was sent from Galway to take up land granted them by a Catholic bishop in Minnesota. There they encountered the worst winter in the state's history and nearly froze to death in shanties on the prairie. National and international newspapers featured their plight as the welfare scandal of the year, and priests and politicians traded accusations as to who was responsible. The immigrants were at last removed from the colony; their name became the town's shorthand for lying, drunken failures. By chance more than a century later, Bridget Connelly, who gew up in Graceville, discovers her Connemara past. As Connelly uncovers the deliberately suppressed history of her family's emigration, she exposes an old scandal that surrounded the settling of the land around Graceville, one that pitted Masons, Protestants, Germans, and Yankees against Irish Catholics--and one that set lace-curtain Irish against the Connemara paupers. She also learns of an archbishop who was, according to farmer lore, "worse than Jesse James." In this compelling combination of history and memoir, Connelly tells stories of an epochal blizzard, a famous Irish bard, an infamous Irish woman pirate, feuding frontier communities, and an archbishop's questionable legacy. She also learns why her family tried so hard to froget Ireland.

Title: Forgetting Ireland

Author: Bridget Connelly

Illustrator: Reg. Price: $22.95

Categories: Ireland,

Publisher: Borealis Books: 2003

ISBN Number: 0873514491

ISBN Number 13: 9780873514491

Binding: hardback

Book Details: 271 pages, hardback, Borealis Books

Seller ID: 514491

Description: Following mysterious clues to her family's suppressed past, Connelly uncovers a town's forgotten history and an epic tale of Irish immigrants on the American frontier.
Forgetting Ireland is both a history and mystery, a story of western Ireland's Connemara coast and of Graceville, a small town in western Minnesota.
In 1880, at the height of Ireland's second famine, a ship of paupers was sent from Galway to take up land granted them by a Catholic bishop in Minnesota. There they encountered the worst winter in the state's history and nearly froze to death in shanties on the prairie. National and international newspapers featured their plight as the welfare scandal of the year, and priests and politicians traded accusations as to who was responsible. The immigrants were at last removed from the colony; their name became the town's shorthand for lying, drunken failures.
By chance more than a century later, Bridget Connelly, who grew up in Graceville, discovers her Connemara past. As Connelly uncovers the deliberately suppressed history of her family's emigration, she exposes an old scandal that surrounded the settling of the land around Graceville, one that pitted Masons, Protestants, Germans, and Yankees against Irish Catholics--and one that set lace-curtain Irish against the Connemara paupers. She also learns of an archbishop who was, according to farmer lore, "worse than Jesse James."
In this compelling combination of history and memoir, Connelly tells stories of an epochal blizzard, a famous Irish bard, an infamous Irish woman pirate, feuding frontier communities, and an archbishop's questionable legacy. She also learns why her family tried so hard to forget Ireland.

About Author
BRIDGET CONNELLY is a scholar of folklore and comparative literature and Emeritus Professor of Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. Her previous book, Arab Folk Epic and Identity, was awarded the Chicago Folklore Prize and the Arberry Prize in Arabic Literature. She has received numerous awards for her work, including two Fulbright Fellowships and a Mellon grant. She lives in Berkeley and Guerneville, California.

Reviews
"Bridget Connelly has a folklorist's ear for language, and she brings her characters to life as effectively as any novelist. But there is a page-turning suspense as well in the plot of this history. And there is, finally, confession and redemption--the admission and then the embrace of a denied past. Bridget Connelly is a born writer, and this is the book she was born to write." -- Jack Miles, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of God: A Biography

"What a dazzling accomplishment: meticulous scholarly research that elucidates a family mystery so compelling that I kept reading into the small hours to reach the last page. Forgetting Ireland is the kind of book that startles with its depth, its insight, its sheer compassion, all told in a down-to-earth voice that makes me feel that I've joined Bridget Connelly and her relations for a long and satisfying visit." -- Mary Clearman Blew, author of All but the Waltz