Recovering an Irish Voice from the American Frontier

Writer and historian Patrick J. Mahoney discusses the life of 19th century Limerick emigrant Eoin Ua Cathail, whose writings are published for the first time in a new bilingual volume, Recovering an Irish Voice from the American Frontier (UNT Press, 2021). Based on his experiences in the southwestern and upper midwestern United States, Ua Cathail harnessed the richness of the Irish language to describe a wide range of topics - from fierce clashes with Native American tribes and a chance encounter with a runaway slave to the environmental impact of the midwestern timber industry and the emergence of the Gaelic Revival. 

Patrick J. Mahoney, or Pádraig Fhia Ó Mathúna, is a Caspersen Fellow in History and Culture at Drew University and a former Fulbright Scholar at the National University of Ireland Galway. His writings have been published widely in both Irish and English. Most recently, his story ‘Cuimhní na Cille’ was awarded first prize in the Manchester Irish Language Short Story Competition (November, 2020). He is also the co-author of From a Land Beyond the Wave: Connecticut’s Irish Rebels, 1798-1916, which was awarded the Connecticut League of History Organizations’ Publication Prize in 2018.