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Bishop Thomas F. Hendricken

Thank you to Neil Hogan, editor of The Shanachie, the newsletter of the Connecticut Irish-American Historical Society, for his lovely review! Mr. Hogan is also the author of two wonderful books about the Irish – Cry of the Famishing, Ireland, Connecticut, and the Potato Famine, (1998) and ‘Strong in their Patriotic Devotion,’Connecticut’s Irish in the Civil War (2003). I highly recommend both.

Regarding my book, From the Old Sod to the Naugatuck Valley: Early Irish Catholics in New Haven County, Connecticut, he wrote: “Her…book…is filled with engaging text and pictures. The artwork ranges from portraits of priests, schoolchildren and families going back to the late 19th century to Irish castles and cathedrals and the Connecticut gravestones of many early Irish settlers.”

“Fortunately for the wider view of the region’s Irish pioneers, Maher delves into the history not only of one family but of a budding Irish community. In doing so, she provides more detail of the Irish people in the Naugatuck Valley than perhaps has ever been collected in one place before.”

“Of special value to readers with Naugatuck roots is a large section of the book with inscriptions and pictures of gravestones in St. Francis Cemetery, the oldest Catholic cemetery in the town. In its way, the section is as valuable, or even more so, in the details it reveals of Irish-American origins in various counties in Ireland, and of such small details as life expectancy in the age of large-scale Irish immigration.”

“Still another valuable, if usually overlooked, section of Maher’s book is that of the footnotes. In addition to providing references to sources, she has included in the notes valuable information on topics and people. For example, she provides a brief biography of Father Thomas Hendricken, pastor in Waterbury in the 1870s and later bishop of Providence, R.I…”

I so appreciate Mr. Hogan’s validation of my work, and likewise recommend that others interested in the Connecticut Irish join CTIAHS. This will entitle you to regular installments of interesting essays through their newsletter, and if you are within traveling distance, the possibility to attend meetings and celebrations around various topics. This issue contains information about the dedication of Hamden’s Great Hunger Museum, which was attended by Ireland’s Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams. It also includes, among other good articles, information from researcher Paul Keroack about early Connecticut marriage records that can now be found free online, and announces two important projects that the organization hopes to complete in the upcoming year. One will be a new CTIAHS website about early Irish in Connecticut places and stories. The other will be the transcription and publication of the diary of Irish domestic servant, Mary McKeon. Exciting news!

If you would like to order my book via Paypal, please go to this earlier post, which includes all the details. You can also send a check directly to me at Department of Fine Arts, Loyola University Maryland, 4501 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD, 21210. My book is also available from the Naugatuck Historical Society (Naugatuck), the Mattatuck Museum (Waterbury), Amazon.com, and Barnes & Noble online. I hope that soon it will also be available at Quinnipiac University Bookstore (Hamden). Please consider giving it as a Christmas present to family members or friends interested in Irish history and Connecticut Irish!

Wishing you all well, Janet.

Neil Hogan review of From the Old Sod to the Naugatuck Valley

©2012 Janet Maher/Sinéad Ní Mheachair

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