John Reed and Louise Bryant circa 1915.

Wild Irish Women:
Louise Mohan Bryant

It took a movie, 1981’s Reds, to both lift Louise Bryant from obscurity and reduce her to the sniveling acolyte of American communist John Reed, Annie Hall in a babushka. Wrong. For all her (many) faults, Louise Bryant was always her own woman – a fearless journalist, activist, suffragette, and talented writer. She was also reckless, with a compulsive need to court danger, and a study in...

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Window on the Past:
A Savior of History

John Gilmary Shea preserved much of the existing knowledge of the beginnings of American Catholicism. ℘℘℘ Considering the Irish-American influence on U.S. Catholicism, it makes sense that someone of Irish descent – John Gilmary Shea – undertook to preserve much of the existing knowledge of the beginnings of American Catholicism. A prolific writer and dogged rescuer of rare manuscripts,...

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Photograph of Dr. James Barry in approximately the late 1840s.

Wild Irish Women: Dr. James Barry

The famous British Army surgeon was actually an Irish woman. ℘℘℘ Dr. James Barry was born in County Cork as Margaret Anne Bulkley, the daughter of Jeremiah and Mary-Ann (neé Barry). Accounts vary on the year of her birth but whether it was 1789 or 1795, women were denied a formal education. Her father was a feckless grocer who lost his business, landed in debtors’ prison and last seen on...

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The death of a Sister of Charity on the battlefield.

The Irish Nightingale
of the Civil War

“The Irish-American Florence Nightingale” of the Civil War – Sister Mary Anthony. ℘℘℘ The name of this Civil War medical pioneer has unjustly slipped between history’s proverbial cracks.  Still, her legacy flourishes:  “Her innovative triage techniques remain standard practices in every theater of war where American troops fight.” Those words come from a 2003 Pentagon...

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A bronze sculpture commemorating the Flight of the Earls in Rathmullan, County Donegal. It was from here that Rory O'Donnell (known as Red Hugh), the Earl of Tyrconnell (with his brother Cathbharr), and Hugh O'Neill, the Earl of Tyrone (with his son Hugh, the baron of Dungannon), and some 90 of their followers set sail for mainland Europe on September 4, 1607.

Retracing the Footsteps
of the Last Gaelic King
of Ireland in Rome

Why it’s time to reclaim the last days and figureheads of the old Gaelic world. ℘℘℘ Stories matter, so here’s a good one. Four hundred and ten years ago this November the last two living Gaelic lords of Ulster arrived in Rome, uncertain of their welcome and feeling physically spent. They were Rory O’Donnell former King of Tír Conaill, now the Earl of Tyrconnell, (with his brother...

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