Hard to let this day go by without a mention. Another motivation, not that I needed one, was an article in today’s New York Times, by Peter Behrens, author and resident of Maine: It’s About Immigrants, not Irishness.
It is about Irishness, but in America and Canada and Australia, it’s also very much about immigration. And that’s the point Behrens is making. The Irish National Famine Memorial (above) by John Behan, a moving sculpture of the infamous “coffin ships,” immortalizes the experience of many immigrants during the Great Hunger – the “potato famine” of the mid 19th century.
This was when my great-grandfather came to America, a sixteen year old laborer at the tail end of the calamity. It’s remarkable that he got here at all. Continue reading