Wherever Green Is Worn: The Story of the Irish Diaspora

Wherever Green Is Worn: The Story of the Irish Diaspora

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by Tim Pat Coogan
     
 

In the classic song Galway Bay, Bing Crosby summed up the passionate, bittersweet and sometimes conflict-filled relationship between the Irish spread across the globe and their homeland. Today, the population of Ireland is five million, but seventy million people worldwide can call themselves Irish. Though Tim Pat Coogan never strayed far from his birthplace in County… See more details below

Overview

In the classic song Galway Bay, Bing Crosby summed up the passionate, bittersweet and sometimes conflict-filled relationship between the Irish spread across the globe and their homeland. Today, the population of Ireland is five million, but seventy million people worldwide can call themselves Irish. Though Tim Pat Coogan never strayed far from his birthplace in County Dublin, he was drawn to the outposts of Ireland that existed beyond his country's shores. "As I grew older and travelled," he wrote, "my imagination was seized by the extent of the Irish population in the world outside Ireland and the variety of conditions in which it lived." The call of millions of Irish men and women around the globe proved too strong to resist and Coogan set out to find all the places where green is proudly worn. While most people know that the United States and England were two of the prime destinations for Irish immigrants, most people will never have thought of the Irish communities in Africa, the Caribbean and the majority of European countries. From the Hotel Ibis in Amiens, France, to a pub called The Harp in Sarajevo, Coogan talked to the people who carried Ireland with them when they and their ancestors left their native homeland. Besides the historic achievements of President John F. Kennedy and the literary innovations of writers like James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, the Irish who left their homeland gave the world extraordinary gifts of enterprise, intellect, art, music, faith and sheer hard work. The spread of Irish influence continues even today through popular culture as the cast of Riverdance and the members of U2 take a new Ireland abroad to influence the next generation. Tim Pat Coogan's Wherever Green Is Worn is a rich and complex tale of Irish lives in foreign lands that sums up Ireland's past, present and future.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Coogan, biographer of Michael Collins and Eamon DeValera, again tackles a boisterous, unruly Irish subject the diaspora. Irish emigration first began, Coogan tells us, in the 12th century, when the Normans invaded Ireland. Cromwell's terrorist campaign in the 17th century drove many Irish to France and Spain, while Cromwell deported many more to the West Indies and Virginia. Emigration took a more sinister turn with the advent of the famine in the 1840s. Coogan estimates that "a million died and probably as many as two-and-a-half million people left Ireland in the decade 1845-1855." He also estimates that another five million emigrated between the end of the famine and 1961. Where did they all go? Everywhere: Europe, U.K., U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia. Coogan breaks down by chapter the geographical travels, and includes some very colorful tales. For example, Mexico still embraces the memory of the wild San Patricios (St. Patrick) Brigade soldiers who deserted the American army during the Mexican War to fight on the side of their fellow Catholics. The first Irish came to Canada looking for cod fish, but many Canadians still remember the invasion of the quixotic Fenians, whose aim was to "liberate" Canada from British rule after the American Civil War. Chile still celebrates its Liberator, one Bernardo O'Higgins, and Australia remembers its Irish Robin Hood, Ned Kelly. The U.S. chapter is filled with stories of Tammany and the Kennedys, and there is an extremely interesting section on Bill Clinton and how he brokered the Good Friday Agreement. Rich in characterization and detail not to mention the Coogan wit this is an invaluablereference volume that belongs on the bookshelf of every Celtophile. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Irish journalist Coogan, who has written several books on Irish history and culture (e.g., The Man Who Made Ireland: The Life and Death of Michael Collins), here details the story of the Irish Diaspora, or emigration, which began with the Irish Potato Famine and the subsequent emigrations of the 1840s. Coogan writes easily, giving an often fascinating survey of the many places the Irish emigrated to, not only the United States but destinations like Argentina that will be less familiar to Americans. He relates the story of Irish emigration to these places, sketches the lives of various Irish figures there, and surveys today's Irish Diaspora descendants. Other titles like Thomas Keneally's The Great Shame (LJ 8/99) cover the Irish Diaspora but to a lesser geographic extent. Coogan does tend to overromanticize, at one point profiling an Irish harpist and singer who happens also to physically striking and a brilliant Gaelic football player. More significant, though, is his failure to address the question why these far-flung emigrants cling so to their Irish Catholic heritage. Nevertheless, this broad-ranging narrative history should be a popular title in many public and academic libraries. Charlie Cowling, SUNY at Brockport Lib. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312239909
Publisher:
Palgrave Macmillan
Publication date:
09/01/1901
Edition description:
1ST PALGRA
Pages:
768
Product dimensions:
6.58(w) x 9.62(h) x 1.88(d)

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