The American Irish Historical Society

The American Irish Historical Society The American Irish Historical Society records, celebrates, promotes and reflects the values of Irish culture that contribute to the growth of our nation.
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Founded in 1897, the AIHS is an international center of scholarship, education and cultural enrichment dedicated to promoting the significant, on-going contributions to the United States of America made by Irish immigrants and their descendants. The Society maintains an extensive collection of Irish and American Irish books, newspapers, archives and memorabilia in its landmark headquarters on Fifth Avenue's Museum Mile. Its highly acclaimed literary journal, "The Recorder", chronicles the surging creativity of Irish writers on both sides of the Atlantic. The center sponsors public programs to explore current issues and celebrates the renaissance in Irish culture from its weekly lectures, visual art exhibits and concerts.

Operating as usual

The Wheel of Fortuna seems to have turned rather decisively since Derek Mahon published this early version of a section ...
04/17/2020

The Wheel of Fortuna seems to have turned rather decisively since Derek Mahon published this early version of a section of “The Yellow Book” in the Fall 1996 issue of The Recorder. Sending kind wishes to all who are isolated today. #poetry #poemoftheday #poemsdaily #irishpoetry #derekmahon #austinclarke #hasartlikelifeitssourceinagony @ The American Irish Historical Society

“Star Turn” by Charles Wright is today’s poem, first published in the Fall 1996 issue of The Recorder. #poetry #poemofth...
04/17/2020

“Star Turn” by Charles Wright is today’s poem, first published in the Fall 1996 issue of The Recorder. #poetry #poemoftheday #poemsdaily #charleswright

Today Alexander Theroux reminds us that “The Dreadful Reality of Being Oneself Eventually Becomes A Comfort.” His poem w...
04/15/2020

Today Alexander Theroux reminds us that “The Dreadful Reality of Being Oneself Eventually Becomes A Comfort.” His poem was published in the Fall 2000 issue of The Recorder. #poetry #poemoftheday #poemsdaily #alexandertheroux

Today we have “Patience” by Sara Berkeley, originally published in the Fall 1994 issue of The Recorder. #poetry #poemoft...
04/14/2020

Today we have “Patience” by Sara Berkeley, originally published in the Fall 1994 issue of The Recorder. #poetry #poemoftheday #poemsdaily #irishpoetry #saraberkeley

Please consider donating to the American Irish Historical Society. Any and all donations are much appreciated. We hope e...
04/14/2020
IRISH CULTURE TOUCHES EVERYONE

Please consider donating to the American Irish Historical Society. Any and all donations are much appreciated. We hope everyone is staying healthy and safe.

You Irish? Wish you were? The AIHS celebrates and preserves the American Irish experience. The crisis is hurting. Help us help Irish Culture

Today is the 81st anniversary of the birth of the poet Seamus Heaney, who was born on April 13, 1939. His translation of...
04/14/2020

Today is the 81st anniversary of the birth of the poet Seamus Heaney, who was born on April 13, 1939. His translation of “Lament for Timoleague” from the Irish of Seán Ó Coileáin (1754-1817) appeared in the Summer 1994 issue of The Recorder, “A Tribute to Benedict Kiely.” #poetry #poemoftheday #poemsdaily #irishpoetry #seamusheaney #seanocoileain #timoleague #benedictkiely @ The American Irish Historical Society

For Easter Sunday, instead of a poem we are sharing a message from the poet Seamus Heaney, for many years an Advisory Ed...
04/12/2020

For Easter Sunday, instead of a poem we are sharing a message from the poet Seamus Heaney, for many years an Advisory Editor of and a regular contributor to The Recorder. It is inscribed in my copy of “Laments” by the great Polish Renaissance poet Jan Kochanowski, translated by Heaney with Stanislaw Baranczak. Wishing all a joyous and blessed Easter and many happy returns. #poetry #poemoftheday #poemsdaily #inscription #seamusheaney #jankochanowski #stanisławbarańczak #laments #nolamenting

During the Easter Vigil we share Jean Kane’s “You Gave Up the Ghost,” first published in the Fall 2001 issue of The Reco...
04/12/2020

During the Easter Vigil we share Jean Kane’s “You Gave Up the Ghost,” first published in the Fall 2001 issue of The Recorder. #poetry #poemoftheday #poemsdaily #irishpoetry @ The American Irish Historical Society

For Good Friday we have “Pale Rider” by the late Brigit Pegeen Kelly, first published in the Fall 2001 issue of The Reco...
04/10/2020

For Good Friday we have “Pale Rider” by the late Brigit Pegeen Kelly, first published in the Fall 2001 issue of The Recorder. #poetry #poemoftheday #poemsdaily #irishpoetry #brigitpegeenkelly #goodfriday @ The American Irish Historical Society

Today’s poem from The Recorder is “Sea Glass” by Catherine Kasper, first published in the Fall 2004 issue. #poetry #poem...
04/07/2020

Today’s poem from The Recorder is “Sea Glass” by Catherine Kasper, first published in the Fall 2004 issue. #poetry #poemoftheday #poemsdaily #irishpoetry

From the Spring 2000 issue of The Recorder we bring you “Problems in Drawing a Pint of Guinness” by Billy Collins. #poet...
04/05/2020

From the Spring 2000 issue of The Recorder we bring you “Problems in Drawing a Pint of Guinness” by Billy Collins. #poetry #poemoftheday #poemsdaily #irishpoetry #billycollins

The extraordinary writer, mapmaker, ecologist, and artist Tim Robinson, who died today from Covid-19 at 85 years of age,...
04/03/2020

The extraordinary writer, mapmaker, ecologist, and artist Tim Robinson, who died today from Covid-19 at 85 years of age,was one of the most frequent and illustrious contributors to The Recorder over many decades. His “Orion the Hunter,” first published in our 1997 Centenary Issue, was selected for the volume “Best American Essays 1998” and was later collected in his “Tales & Imaginings.” Tim’s beloved wife and partner Mairéad died from Covid-19 complications sixteen days ago. In death they were not divided. Ní bheidh a leithéid arís ann. @ The American Irish Historical Society

Today’s poem from The Recorder is “History” by Christopher Cahill, first published in the Fall 1998 issue. #poetry #poem...
04/03/2020

Today’s poem from The Recorder is “History” by Christopher Cahill, first published in the Fall 1998 issue. #poetry #poemoftheday #poemsdaily #irishpoetry #history

If you need a change of scenery take a virtual tour of the AIHS. Though the building is currently closed, our public spa...
04/02/2020
Explore 991 Fifth Avenue in 3D

If you need a change of scenery take a virtual tour of the AIHS. Though the building is currently closed, our public spaces and galleries are open virtually. Visit the link in our bio to take a virtual tour today.

Matterport 3D Showcase

We return to isolation 11th Century-style today with Seamus Heaney’s translation “Colmcille the Scribe” originally publi...
04/01/2020

We return to isolation 11th Century-style today with Seamus Heaney’s translation “Colmcille the Scribe” originally published in the Spring & Fall 1997 Centenary Issue of The Recorder. #poetry #poemoftheday #poemsdaily #irishpoetry #seamusheaney #colmcille #monastery #monasterylife #medievalireland #poetryintranslation

From the 1980 edition of The Recorder we bring you today “Bíonn” by Rísteard Ó hÉalaidhe. #poetry #poemoftheday #poemsda...
04/01/2020

From the 1980 edition of The Recorder we bring you today “Bíonn” by Rísteard Ó hÉalaidhe. #poetry #poemoftheday #poemsdaily #irishpoetry #gaelige @ The American Irish Historical Society

Today from The Recorder we have “Injury Time” by Eoghan Naughton, first published in the Summer 2007 issue. Stay safe an...
03/29/2020

Today from The Recorder we have “Injury Time” by Eoghan Naughton, first published in the Summer 2007 issue. Stay safe and well everyone. #poetry #poemoftheday #poemsdaily #irishpoetry #eoghannaughton

Today’s poem from The Recorder is Derek Mahon’s version of a part of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s “Gramsci’s Ashes.” Published ...
03/24/2020

Today’s poem from The Recorder is Derek Mahon’s version of a part of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s “Gramsci’s Ashes.” Published in the Centennial Edition of the journal (Spring & Fall 1997), this version was substantially altered by the author for its publication in “Roman Script” (1999). #poetry #poemoftheday #poemsdaily #irishpoetry #derekmahon #pasolini @ The American Irish Historical Society

03/17/2020
2020 St Patrick's Day Message from President Michael D. Higgins

https://youtu.be/d772d3xbAUE

The American Irish Historical Society has been lucky to be a part of New York City's St. Patrick's Day festivities for over 120 years and we are honored to be celebrating the spirit of the holiday with everyone today. As President Higgins said, "wherever you may be, and in whatever circumstances, as part of Ireland's global family you will be joining with us as we celebrate the feast day of our patron saint, and the culture ancient and contemporary, the heritage and history that connect us... St. Patrick's Day has become a profound expression of a common history that extends far beyond Irish shores, and of the strong bonds we share with our wider global family despite the miles, borders and oceans that may separate us."

We look forward to when we can get together to raise a toast in celebration but for today we are proud to be united with those who are Irish by birth, descent, association and friendship as we celebrate our patron saint and our Irishness.

We wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and safe St. Patrick's Day celebration.

May I, on this St. Patrick’s Day 2020, send my warmest greetings as Uachtarán na hÉireann, President of Ireland, to all our extended family across the world ...

Merry Christmas!
12/25/2019

Merry Christmas!

The American Irish Historical Society awarded its highest honor to Leo P. (Sullivan) Denault, Chairman and CEO of @Enter...
11/26/2019

The American Irish Historical Society awarded its highest honor to Leo P. (Sullivan) Denault, Chairman and CEO of @Entergy Corporation with its 122nd Gold Medal. Each year at its Annual Dinner, the AIHS presents its Gold Medal to a chosen individual of Irish descent. The medalist is chosen for their exemplary life and accomplishments, which highlight the continuing mission and purpose of the Society.

Mr. Denault used his mother’s maiden name, Sullivan, for the evening to honor her, his Irish heritage, and the story of the Irish in New York City, New Orleans, and beyond. Mr. Denault calls New Orleans home and sees the enduring landmarks of the early 19th century Irish experience and contributions to his city on a daily basis. These remind him of his story and the story of countless others whose families came in search of the American dream. Read more about Mr. Denault and his achievements here: http://aihs.org/annual-dinner/

A Message from our friends at Irish Business Organization of New York to help the incredible Sean McNeil, any donations ...
07/24/2019
Click here to support Sean McNeill Fund organized by Maralyn Dolan

A Message from our friends at Irish Business Organization of New York to help the incredible Sean McNeil, any donations truly appreciated, we wish Sean a full recovery:

Our friend Sean McNeill has always been someone who gives back to the community.

Now it’s time for the community to give back to Sean.

Sean is suffering from an aggressive and debilitating form of gall bladder cancer and faces an uncertain prognosis.

Compounding his medical challenges are the financial ones.

An entrepreneur, Sean ran his own real estate business and two online shopping start-ups, but now that he is incapacitated, his income has dried up as his bills are piling up--from his monthly rent to the staggering medical fees not covered by health insurance.

A native of County Roscommon, Sean is well-known in New York’s Irish community. A longtime member of the Irish Business Organization of New York, Sean served on the IBO board, was a three-year IBO president and is a member of the IBO advisory board.

He’s taken part in Concern fundraising runs, Solace House Sunrise Walks, the Irish “Meitheal” to aid in the recovery of the post-Hurricane Sandy Rockaways, Irish County Association events, and other many fundraising events in the community.

While we can’t provide the medical know-how to help Sean’s cause, we can provide a key part of the financial support he needs to pay for his costly treatments and to give Sean some peace of mind in the face of such financial stress.

Sean had been reluctant to be a burden on anyone, but now, faced with so many challenges, he welcomes our help.

We’ve established a challenging goal of $50,000, a sum which will have a real impact on meeting his mounting needs.

Please join us in supporting a man who provided so much support for others through his dedication to the community.

Please give generously to this Sean McNeill Fund.

And thank you from all his many friends…and from Sean himself.

https://www.gofundme.com/822kuu-sean

Our friend Sean McNeill has always been someone who gives back to the community.Now it’s time for the community to give back to Sean.Sean is suffering from an aggressive and debilitating form of gall bladder cancer and faces an uncertain prognosis. Compounding his medical challenges are the...

The American Irish Historical Society's cover photo
07/10/2019

The American Irish Historical Society's cover photo

Last February Finn Dwyer spoke at the American Irish Historical Society as part of our Success In The City Series. In a ...
05/21/2019
Live at the American Irish Historical Society | Fin Dwyer on Patreon

Last February Finn Dwyer spoke at the American Irish Historical Society as part of our Success In The City Series. In a questions and answers format Finn and Martin Nutty talked through several aspects of Irish History. They discussed whether the Famine can be considered a genocide, what motivated medieval witchcraft trials and much more.

To hear the live recording - turned podcast, you can do so on Finn's Patreon Page:

https://www.patreon.com/posts/26926131

Official Post from Fin Dwyer: Last February I was delighted to speak at the American Irish Historical Society (AIHS) in New York. In a questions and answers format myself and Martin Nutty of the AIHS talked through several aspects of Irish History. We discussed whether the Famine can be considered a...

Success In The City with Doireann Garrihy!Photos by Anna O'Carroll
04/15/2019

Success In The City with Doireann Garrihy!
Photos by Anna O'Carroll

Success In The City with Doireann Garrihy!
Photos by Anna O'Carroll

Outrage Marketing
04/15/2019

Outrage Marketing

Outrage Marketing

Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts
03/23/2019

Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts

Great crowd for our talk tonight with John Loughery, Pulitzer-prize nominated author of “Dagger John: Archbishop John Hughes and the Making of Irish America” to shed light on the lives of Irish Americans on the UES and other parts of Manhattan in the 19th century #nychistory #ues #uppereastside @ The American Irish Historical Society

BOOK TALK & RECEPTION NYC WEDNESDAY MARCH 27th📗🍷 #1 International BestsellerAnxiety transforms from a crutch into an all...
03/19/2019

BOOK TALK & RECEPTION NYC WEDNESDAY MARCH 27th📗🍷 #1 International Bestseller

Anxiety transforms from a crutch into an ally with this empowering self-help guide to mastering fear

Caroline Foran is not here to “cure” your anxiety. When crippling panic attacks upended her job, her health, and her life, she tried everything—from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to acupuncture, and yoga to medication. She found that there’s no such thing as a stress-free life . . . but, armed with the right tool kit, she could live with anxiety, and not spend her days running away from it.

In Own It., Caroline shares her hard-earned knowledge and kick-*ss strategies, including:
A panic attack rescue guide
The Assess & Address technique (how to get to the root of the problem)
The brain chemistry behind anxiety (and how to outsmart it)
How to break down the negativity bias.
Drawing on her lived experience, plus insights from mental-health professionals, Caroline will help you ditch your fear and anxiety—and own it!

Join us as we chat about all the ways to manage Anxiety - and bring your friends!
Link for tickets in bio!
#BookLaunch #Anxiety #OwnIt #Confidence ##panickattack #neeyorkcity #centralpark #event #literature #women #femaleempowerment #Fifthavenue #BookTalk #Bookclub #NYC #bookstagram #bookclubs #nycbookclub #bookclubnyc #IrishAuthor #irishwomen #irishinnyc @ The American Irish Historical Society

BOOK TALK & RECEPTION NYC WEDNESDAY MARCH 27th📗🍷#1 International BestsellerAnxiety transforms from a crutch into an ally...
03/19/2019

BOOK TALK & RECEPTION NYC WEDNESDAY MARCH 27th📗🍷

#1 International Bestseller

Anxiety transforms from a crutch into an ally with this empowering self-help guide to mastering fear

Caroline Foran is not here to “cure” your anxiety. When crippling panic attacks upended her job, her health, and her life, she tried everything—from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to acupuncture, and yoga to medication. She found that there’s no such thing as a stress-free life . . . but, armed with the right tool kit, she could live with anxiety, and not spend her days running away from it.

In Own It., Caroline shares her hard-earned knowledge and kick-*ss strategies, including:
A panic attack rescue guide
The Assess & Address technique (how to get to the root of the problem)
The brain chemistry behind anxiety (and how to outsmart it)
How to break down the negativity bias.
Drawing on her lived experience, plus insights from mental-health professionals, Caroline will help you ditch your fear and anxiety—and own it!

Join us as we chat about all the ways to manage Anxiety - and bring your friends!
Link for tickets in bio!

#BookLaunch #Anxiety #OwnIt #Confidence ##panickattack #neeyorkcity #centralpark #event #literature #women #femaleempowerment #Fifthavenue #BookTalk #Bookclub #NYC #bookstagram #bookclubs #nycbookclub #bookclubnyc #IrishAuthor #irishwomen #irishinnyc @ The American Irish Historical Society

An interesting event happening at Anthology Film Archives on March 31st:Swift Hibernian Lounge presents a special 25th A...
03/06/2019
Swift presents: In the Name of the Father 25th Anniversary Screening

An interesting event happening at Anthology Film Archives on March 31st:

Swift Hibernian Lounge presents a special 25th Anniversary screening of "In the Name of the Father"

followed by an audience Q&A with Academy Award winning writer/director Terry George
Hosted by Daniel James McCabe

Nominated for 7 Oscars, In the Name of the Father tells the true story of a Belfast man wrongly convicted of a deadly act of sectarian terrorism in 1974 England. Starring Oscar winners Daniel Day-Lewis and Emma Thompson.

In the Name of the Father
25th Anniversary Screening

6:30 PM

Sunday March 31, 2019

Anthology Film Archives
32 Second Avenue (at 2nd St.)
New York, NY 10003

Refreshments and further discussion after the show at Swift Hibernian Lounge, 34 East 4th St.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/swift-presents-in-the-name-of-the-father-25th-anniversary-screening-tickets-56816953036?fbclid=IwAR2a6Gb4xBTQ5sE-BaUiRrla40ylhxCyQvBOcHM1Fh9z6yq4QLmy9xKF5os

Swift Hibernian Lounge presents a special 25th Anniversary screening of In the Name of the Father followed by an audience Q&A with Academy Award winning writer/director Terry George Hosted by Daniel James McCabe Nominated for 7 Oscars, In the Name of the Father tells the true story of a Belfast man....

“Start spreading the News...”🎭🚖🗽 We will be joined by The 'Untouchable' Paul Stenson from The White Moose Café here on F...
03/06/2019

“Start spreading the News...”🎭🚖🗽 We will be joined by The 'Untouchable' Paul Stenson from The White Moose Café here on Fifth Avenue on Wednesday, April 3rd for:
"Outrage Marketing - How to achieve worldwide publicity by using the outrage of the public and without spending a cent. " Tickets linked in bio! 🤗

The White Moose Cafe exploded into the public eye in only a matter of months last year, and thanks to this, business is booming for the Cafe and Hotel Charleville Lodge Dublin in Dublin owned by Paul Stenson.
By posting 'outrageous' content to their social media accounts (that made many people laugh, while simultaneously making many people angry), their toungue in cheek content and fearless approach to challenging the status quo has resulted in almost 300,000 followers on facebook and instagram and generated a huge increase in footfall & profit for the Cafe and Hotel.
From banning vegans, to demanding that anyone claiming to be "gluten free" bring a Doctors note, as well as refusing to let bloggers stay in the hotel for free, The White Moose Cafe went viral. Paul Stenson's response to a blogger that emailed him to get a free stay in the Hotel in exchange for free publicity by posting to her followers was viewed in 33 countries. The scandal known as 'Bloggergate' resulted in 'free publicity' for the Cafe & Hotel, that ended up being completely self generated.

We are so excited to welcome Paul Stenson and Jason Kidd to the American Irish Historical Society on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019! @ The American Irish Historical Society

Address

991 5th Ave
New York, NY
10028

General information

For tours of our historic Beaux-Arts townhouse, visitors may call (212) 288-2263 or email [email protected] to schedule an appointment. Scholars and researchers must also schedule appointments with our librarian, Georgette Keane, to view our collection.The Society's hours of operation are 9-5pm Monday through Friday. Visit the Events tab for current and upcoming AIHS events!

Opening Hours

Monday 10:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 10:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday 10:00 - 17:00
Friday 10:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(212) 288-2263

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I'd like to share my published essay about Irish American gangsters in film. "Mickey Machine Gun is Back!" has been published numerous time. The first publication was in 2008 with Crime Magazine. crimemagazine.com/mickey-machine-gun-back#:~:text=Mickey%20Machine%20Gun%20is%20back%20for%20his%20last,to%20re-introduce%20the%20Jewish%20racketeer%20to%20American%20filmgoers.
Thought might enjoy, folks.
https://www.castleislandcastle.com/ 'Greetings. I pray you are all safe and well. I wish to share the vision of my voluntary castle society to all Irish history lovers out there. Stay safe' Robert
For those who can’t join us in person, join us now virtual, live, as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! https://www.facebook.com/RevivalofClassicalCulture/videos/344690723145594/
Dear Friends, Join us on Sunday, March 15, 3PM, to celebrate Ireland and St. Patrick's day, with a beautiful program of Irish songs and poems with harp! Enjoy verse, song, and harp repertoire that tells of the joys and sorrows of the Irish people, from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Songs include The Fields of Athenry, She Moved through the Fair, Danny Boy, and more. Poetry by William Yeats, Seamus Heaney, and others. Harp music by Turlough O'Carolan and as accompaniment to song. https://www.facebook.com/events/2383043578674407/
THE REAL IRISHMAN This is not the story of some ruthless American murderer who killed people for “The Mob”. It’s not the story of some heartless character in another one of Scorsese’s blood soaked movies. This is the story of a man who never took a life but instead saved 17 men from certain death. A quiet man, a man of faith, a man of courage, - The REAL Irishman. U.S. connection - https://www.amazon.com/dp/1675456801/ref=pd_rhf_pe_p_img_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=0ZV5KYYAK63VSTMHNRF9 Irish connection - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1675456801/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+time+of+the+canton&qid=1576514822&sr=8-1&fbclid=IwAR2XfjtEMWe0mvs8JN0RdIDCPDi_HMTS5_wHqsedKtbzDh42LLplWtYVz4U
Greetings from Derry.
Hi, I’m an Irish student conducting research into the experience of Irish people who have migrated abroad. If you are over 18, Irish, living abroad and have a spare 10 minutes then you are just who I’m looking for 😊 I would like to know about the psychological impact that migrating may have had on you and to understand better what factors make migration a positive or a negative experience (or a bit of both). I’ll be comparing the results of Irish people with those of Polish and Venezuelans. So, if you would like to take part please click the link below. It will only take 10 minutes and you would be helping some important research (and a student trying to get their master’s thesis done!). Thank you for your time.
If you are from the New York/Long Island area, please feel free to attend this presentation.
A STORY OF THE IRISH FAMINE A Free Read from The Killing Snows. MY SON, MY SON. They docked at Dublin. Six days of hard walking lay ahead of them. In the city, there were hundreds of ragged people walking towards the docks. One family stopped them, asking for directions and questioning them about England and the railways. Luke knew they had no prospect of work on the rails. On the west of the city, they met families making for the Workhouses - the North Dublin Union or the South Dublin Union. Luke wondered if either still had the space for them. Lucan, Leixlip and Maynooth. In the small towns, there were beggars everywhere. Every day on the roads, they met groups of silent people walking towards Dublin. Kilcock, Enfield and Kinnegad. They questioned more people. Some were young men going to spend the summer working on the English harvest, as they always did. But most told a different story, one of hunger, fever and despair. Mullingar, Edgeworthstown and Longford. More beggars, crowds of them outside the Midlands Workhouses. More ragged families trudging across the bridge on the Shannon. Termonbarry, Strokestown and Tulsk. West of the Shannon the solidly built houses of the midlands gave way to smaller thatched cottages and mud cabins. The fields were smaller and stonier. There were fewer hedges and no fences; only blackthorns and rough-built stone walls along the sides of the fields. The roads were deeply rutted after the winter. Bellanagare, Frenchpark and Ballaghaderreen. On their last night on the road they slept in a barn just outside Knockanure. They were worn out, and it was well past dawn when the farmer roused them. They went through the town and past the Workhouse. A crowd of hundreds of thin and ragged people stood in line along the outside wall. They walked on towards Carrigard. Two hours later, they arrived. He shook hands with Corrigan and McGlinn. They left him and walked on to Kilduff. He stood at the gate to observe the house. The gable that had collapsed in the 1839 storm had been rebuilt with carved lintels over the windows. The walls had been freshly whitewashed. The thatch on the roof had gone, replaced by regular rows of grey-black slate. The door was half open. Silently he stepped inside. His mother was sweeping the floor with a rush broom, her back to the door. So much had changed, but she had not. She was dressed better than he remembered though. Her long black skirt hung straight, with no rips or patches. A grey jumper clung tight into her back, the folded black triangle of her shawl hanging down over it, loosely tied around her neck. Over both hung her long hair, black as he had always remembered it. ‘God with you, Mother.’ She spun around. The broom clattered on the floor. For a few seconds, she stared at him in fright. Slowly she began to recognise his features. ‘Luke?’ she whispered. ‘Luke? Oh, my God ... LUKE.’ She ran over and hugged him, her head into his chest. She had started to cry. ‘Luke. My son, my son ...’ ‘It's fine,’ he said, not knowing what else to say. He had not expected this. He waited for her to finish, but the sobbing went on. He put his arms around her. ‘Don't be vexing yourself. You'll be fine, I tell you.’ Suddenly she pushed back from him, rubbing her eyes. She pulled his head down and kissed him on the cheek. ‘You're a right fathead, do you know that?’ ‘Oh, I know it well enough,’ Luke said. ‘You put the heart crosswise in me. All these years, and you just walk in on me like that. You could have been the death of me.’ ‘I'm sorry.’ ‘And so you should be. Why didn't you tell us you were coming today? I wasn't expecting you.’ Within minutes, he was sitting at the table, trying to answer his mother's questions through mouthfuls of buttermilk and oatmeal porridge. The table was solid smooth-planed timber, four inches thick he reckoned. The earthen floor was gone, replaced by flagstones, squared off with mortar between. They had been scrubbed and brushed clean. The stone walls were scrubbed too. A ceiling made of long wooden planks covered the entire room, with no sign of staining from smoke. At the gable end, where there had been a hole to let the smoke out, there was now a well-constructed chimney over a large, wide hearth, pots on a ledge down one side, two more hanging on small cranes over the fire, bubbling. On one side of the hearth, there was a creel of turf, a stack of logs just beside it. Against the back wall, there was a butter churn he had not seen before, a spinning wheel beside it. ‘God knows, you've become a powerful man,’ she said to him. ‘Those English fellows know how to work men, didn't I tell you so?’ ‘Oh, it wasn't the English.’ ‘It must have been tough on you all the same.’ ‘It surely was. Farrelly would never let up. He had us working day and night.’ ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘but it was best you were with Farrelly. He's a man you can trust, and we knew he would take care of you. You were only a child. Fourteen years old, and to have the whole family depending on you. It wasn't fair.’ ‘But it had to be done, Mother. Wasn't that the way of it?’ She shook her head. ‘Maybe it was, but I couldn't stop worrying. Lying awake every night I was, thinking of you over there in England. Hard work expected of you, and money expected of you every week.’ ‘But wasn't it hard for ye here too?’ She flinched, as if the question had not been expected. ‘Yes, it was hard. That first year you left was desperate. God, we were hungry. Never enough to eat and the rent to pay. There were times I cursed Michael in my heart for the promises he made. The rent, the back rent and interest too. No one else around was able to do that, and they weren't evicted. But it was his pride, his cursed pride, that made him do it. It was fine for him, wasn't it? But it was you that had to do the paying, taking a man's work on a boy's shoulders. Oh God, how I've missed you.’ She reached across the table, putting her hand on his arm. ‘You're not to go away again.’ He gulped down his porridge. ‘No, Mother,’ he said. ‘But tell me about the farm. How is it going?’ ‘It's safe now you're home. Now you're the one that will be the farmer.’ ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘and nearly wasn't, from what I hear. Two years without the lease. You'd think he would have told me before.’ ‘I don't know about that. Maybe he didn't want worrying you.’ Or maybe he was too damned proud, he was thinking. Too proud to admit he was getting old, and they wouldn't give him the lease. To hell with that. There were other matters to think about. What future had Mayo if the potato had failed again? But everything here seemed so normal; far, far better than when he had left. Yes, his mother was a few years older than she had been in 1840, but even that was difficult to detect. She most certainly was not hungry. It made no sense. ‘What about the hunger?’ he asked. She looked up, startled. ‘Who told you about that?’ ‘No one. Couldn't I see it with my own eyes, and I crossing the country?’ ‘Yes ... I expect you could. Well, we're doing well enough.’ ‘No hunger?’ ‘No hunger.’ ‘And Murty?’ ‘Murty and Aileen too. And why wouldn’t they? Don’t they get the money from Danny?’ ‘And everyone else?’ She looked away, avoiding his glance. ‘Oh, I don't know. Sure we'll talk about it all some other time.’ Did you enjoy this extract? Buy at - The Killing Snows, use http://getbook.at/TheKS - The Exile Breed, use http://getbook.at/TheExileB - Cold is the Dawn, use http://getbook.at/coldisthed And don’t forget to Share with your Friends.