Mike Carney, the oldest living native Blasket Islander, was born on The Great Blasket Island off the southwest of Ireland in 1920. Raised under challenging circumstances in that unique, isolated Irish-speaking community, Mike left in 1937 to seek a better future in Dublin and eventually in America. The death on the island of his younger brother without a priest or doctor in 1947 set off a chain of events that led to its evacuation. Mike played a pivotal role in the evacuation, personally lobbying Éamon de Valera to relocate the remaining Islanders living in increasingly desperate conditions. Joining the millions who emigrated from Ireland to the United States, Mike settled in Springfield, Massachusetts, with other former islanders.
While taking advantage of opportunities offered by his adopted country, he never lost his love for the nation of his birth, saying 'it's like loving both parents'. This is the story of his life and his efforts to promote Irish culture in America, to preserve the memory of The Great Blasket, to respect roots left behind and to set down roots in a new land. Written as Mike approached the age of ninety-two, this memoir is probably the last of a long line of books written by Blasket Islanders, including Tomás O'Crohan, Micheál O'Sulleabháin and Peig Sayers.
A first-person saga, recounting one man's life but relating the experience of many, it chronicles a lifetime devoted to family, community and legacy. All the while, he seems haunted by the immortal words of O'Crohan: 'The likes of us will not be again.'
|Author||Michael J. Carney with Gerald Hayes|
|Publication date||8 Sep 2013|