From the Great Blasket to America: The Last Memoir by an Islander
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Mike Carney was born on The Great Blasket Island off the southwest of Ireland in 1920. Raised under challenging circumstances in that unique, isolated Irish-speaking community, Mike left in 1937 to seek a better future in Dublin and eventually in America. Ten years later, the death on the island of his younger brother set off a chain of events that led to its evacuation. Mike eventually settled in Springfield, Massachusetts, with other former islanders. While taking advantage of opportunities offered by his adopted country, he never lost his love for the nation of his birth. This is the story of his life and his efforts to promote Irish culture in America, to preserve the memory of The Great Blasket, to respect roots left behind, and to set down roots in a new land.
naturally, Kruger himself was always there telling stories. There was a man named Tomás ‘Boiler’ Ó Luíng from Dunquin. Kruger met Boiler’s wife one day and she told him that he was having problems with his bowels. Kruger got a five-gallon bucket of salt water and a bicycle pump. He went to Boiler’s house and pumped all that stuff right into him. Boiler didn’t stop going for a week! A couple of days later, Kruger asked Boiler’s wife how the poor man was doing. His wife said he was as clean as a
place where they really didn’t know anybody other than their friends and relations. So they wound up living in only a couple of places. Some islanders went to England, Canada, and Australia too. After the war, those countries needed young men to replace those that didn’t come back. They were short of labour. They were looking for immigrants, and the young islanders were looking for opportunities. The result was that the population on the island steadily diminished over the years. And the people
my mother was buried. I stood on the island and looked across the Sound at the church in Dunquin. It was a beautiful clear and calm summer day. I could see the bright reflection of the sun on the handles on her casket, the poor woman. I cried and cried. Cáit went to the funeral as the oldest of the children. She cried her heart out. When my father came back home from the funeral, he was heartbroken. His eyes were all red from crying. But he never said too much about it; he always kept it to
a reporter for The Irish Echo, an Irish-American newspaper. I told them about Ginger and they printed the story about ‘the Gaelic-speaking dog’ in Springfield, Massachusetts. The new John Boyle O’Reilly Club on Progress Avenue in Springfield opened in March 1972. The John Boyle O’Reilly Club Together with my Gaelic football buddies, I applied for membership in Springfield’s John Boyle O’Reilly Club in 1960. The club was founded in 1880 and was named after the Irish patriot and writer who
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