Forgetting Ireland

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Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2003 - 263 pages
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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 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.

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User Review  - mldavis2 - LibraryThing

This book is an excellent example of genealogical research. The author, of Irish descent, searches records and interviews in both Ireland and Minnesota to uncover fact from fiction regarding a small ... Read full review

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User Review  - GardenGoblin - LibraryThing

Well researched and fascinating Read full review


Bridget Was Her Name
On the Trail of the Thousand Dollar Bride
Rumblings from a Glacial Moraine
Irelands Indemnity Lands
Grief at Graceville
Those Goddamn NoGood Conamaras
Return to Connemara
Nora Poor Nora Whatever
The Northwestern Blizzard
Moonshine and the Bishop
A Banshee a Blacksmith and a Movie
The Other Side
The Genealogy of a Family

From the Ferocious OFlaherties

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