Dan Breen was an integral and powerful man in Ireland’s long fight for independence. He was a husband and father, a gangster, a politician, a speakeasy operator, and an author, but first and foremost he was a self-described soldier who was dedicated to freedom.
San Francisco’s Bay Area has large Irish and Irish-American contingents and the city has always been seriously connected to Ireland. However, as the Bay Area prices continue to soar and it becomes the most expensive city to live in worldwide, these Irish communities have been pushed out like everyone else. A prime example of that migration came yesterday with the announcement that the bar and restaurant at the city’s United Irish Cultural Center would close in just three weeks.
“Everything speaks in its own way” – James Joyce
You know, there have been a thousand posts in my brain for the last week or two. There have been arguments in my head about how to write sensitively and objectively about things that are too close to my heart and in many cases, multiple things have been thrown at various screens. There are so many political nightmares both here in the US and in the North of Ireland that as soon as I start on one, it becomes obsolete and the next gets worse and worse…. so I surrender. It is my birthday weekend and instead of banging on the keyboard for another minute, I am heading into the sunshine with a well-worn copy of Ulysses, having a pint or two at my favorite local, and celebrating Bloomsday. I’m making silly Joyce-themed memes out of my photos and stepping away from the upcoming quagmires of doom. It’s time to clear my head for a minute and drop into frivolity for just one second…before parade season really starts and we see just how screwed everyone on both sides of the puddle is this summer.
So happy birthday to me and happy Bloomsday to you. Remember, “Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love, but always meeting ourselves.”
It’s been a busy few weeks for Irish Americans here in California’s Bay area. There have been shows, commemorations, memorial masses, and more – and another event is coming up this Saturday. This weekend Oakland celebrates the grand opening of its new Irish pub, Sláinte.
When Máirín Cregan was born on this day in 1891, her mother made a very important decision. She insisted that her daughter would grow up learning history and the Irish language. As a young adult, this eventually led Máirín right into the Gaelic League where she developed a sort of nationalist fervor. She was also quite a talented vocalist so she ended up moving to Dublin to study at the Leinster School of Music. When she arrived in the city in 1914, she socialized with the Ryan family, a strong Nationalist clan. Máirín was quickly rubbing shoulders with some of the most prominent Nationalists in Dublin including Min Ryan and her fiance, Seán Mac Diarmada, who was one of the future leaders of the Easter Rising.
On this day in 1958, Ireland lost a powerful (albeit slanted) voice. Dorothy Macardle was best known for her book “The Irish Republic” which was commissioned by her idol and friend Eamon De Valera. Her blind faith in his political party and leadership is apparent throughout her history book but so are the echoes of a rebel suffragist and her whispers of dissatisfaction when it came to women’s rights. Dorothy Macardle may have been a vocal member of Dev’s faithful flock, but that’s not to say she was entirely happy with all of his policies.
Boy that last post is super cranky. Most of the time I like to keep a somewhat even keel about my opinions. Obviously, they are there and are easily found in the subject matter of what and who I write about but they’re not usually so cranky and bold. Sorry about that – it seems that my frustration about the US election and all the other bad decisions in the world spilled into my writing for a bit.
There’s a lot to learn with this whole writing and publishing a book thing. One thing to learn is that if you set a book up to be sold through Ingram, it disappears until Ingram gets around to distributing it. For me, that meant the paperback edition of my book was out of commission, which is a surprising and disappointing discovery.
However, I found a work around, so it is back. (Whew) If you’d like your own you can now find it here. The other links that have been posted before, and those in the Celtic Thoughts interview yesterday will only get you to the hardback edition, which is nice but more expensive.
In a few weeks, you’ll be able to order the paperback from any bookstore, anywhere – which is super neat. In the meantime though, the place to get it is the link above.
It won’t make it by Christmas anymore, but it would be a great book to start 2016 with.
This book writing business is a lot (a lot a lot a lot) of work and there is a ton to learn and think about when you’re doing it yourself. Luckily I have a lot of really great people out there who are a great source of encouragement and inspiration – otherwise I think I’d be quite insane by now.
So I probably just did the scariest thing I have ever done ever. I published a book. One that people can buy, and that has my name on it. It’s terrifying and wonderful and I kind of feel like an impostor.