Coming to America: The Irish Experience

It’s no blarney that the Irish are born storytellers. From Edwin O’Connor The Last Hurrah to Frank McCourt Angela’s Ashes, Irish authors can make you laugh out loud one page and have you tear-up on the next. Following in their footsteps, Mary Pat Kelly walks the walk and talks the talk. Listen, you can almost hear the brogue in her new novel, Galway Bay. While backpacking her way through Europe thirty years ago, Mary Pat uncovered the story of her forebears and makes it her mission to describe the Irish experience and its huge impact on the population of the United States. She is an award winning documentary maker and a former nun. Her characters will grab you by the heartstrings with their grit, determination, humor, and resilience. Steeped in myth, history, drama, romance, and legend, Kelly weaves a family saga through six generations. As her yarn unravels, we empathize and can hardly wait to for the next chapter. Written as historical fiction, Kelly bases her yarn loosely on her great-great-grandmother, Honora Kelly. If you have ever wondered what it would have been like to live through a famine, it’s all here in heart-wrenching detail. Pour a cup of tea and curl up with this glorious panoramic novel that will sweep from Galway Bay clear across to Chicago. And by the way, you don’t have to be Irish to fall for this tale.

"Galway Bay"

by Mary Pat Kelly

Coming to America: The Irish Experience

It’s no blarney that the Irish are born storytellers. From Edwin O’Connor The Last Hurrah to Frank McCourt Angela’s Ashes, Irish authors can make you laugh out loud one page and have you tear-up on the next. Following in their footsteps, Mary Pat Kelly walks the walk and talks the talk. Listen, you can almost hear the brogue in her new novel, Galway Bay. While backpacking her way through Europe thirty years ago, Mary Pat uncovered the story of her forebears and makes it her mission to describe the Irish experience and its huge impact on the population of the United States. She is an award winning documentary maker and a former nun. Her characters will grab you by the heartstrings with their grit, determination, humor, and resilience. Steeped in myth, history, drama, romance, and legend, Kelly weaves a family saga through six generations. As her yarn unravels, we empathize and can hardly wait to for the next chapter. Written as historical fiction, Kelly bases her yarn loosely on her great-great-grandmother, Honora Kelly. If you have ever wondered what it would have been like to live through a famine, it’s all here in heart-wrenching detail. Pour a cup of tea and curl up with this glorious panoramic novel that will sweep from Galway Bay clear across to Chicago. And by the way, you don’t have to be Irish to fall for this tale.

Grommet Launch Conversation

Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Mary Pat
    Mary Pat

    I am so happy to be celebrating with you at Daily Grommet. I’ll be dropping in a couple of times this afternoon to read your comments and answer your questions.

    What a joy to share Galway Bay with you. Though fiction, the story’s based on my own great-great-grandmother Honora Kelly. I’m awed at the strength and resilience of our ancestors. Please share your family story with me. If your roots are in Ireland I might be able to help you get more information. I’ve done a lot of research!

  • Dottie Johnson
    Dottie Johnson
    3/17/2009 12:09 PM

    Both my husband and I are Irish. I am an avid reader and would love to read your book whether I win a copy or not . I wish you a very happy St Patrick's Day.

  • Kim Jones
    Kim Jones
    3/17/2009 12:19 PM

    I would love to read the book - it sounds like it will be an awesome tale. I do genealogy but haven't been fortunate enough to find an Irish ancestor yet - how awesome that you have been able to trace your Irish roots and are offering to help others find theirs. Happy St. Patricks day and may you have great success with your book!

  • Marisa
    Marisa
    3/17/2009 12:24 PM

    Sounds like the perfect read for St Pat's day. Being Irish, I am always on the search for historical fiction about Ireland. Good find Grommet!

  • Katherine
    Katherine
    3/17/2009 12:30 PM

    My hair is red, but not a drop of Irish in me! (Is that possible, should I be asking more questions!?) Today is a day we are all Irish though! Sounds like a great page turner.

  • Angela
    Angela
    3/17/2009 12:36 PM

    This would be nice to have for my children who have a paternal great grandparent who was born in Ireland.

  • Sara
    Sara – Grommet Team
    3/17/2009 12:39 PM

    I am also of Irish descent and we visited Ireland last year. It was so beautiful, every bit as gorgeous as you hear. I learned the real meaning of the "Irish wake". It was the last get together the family had before one of the children left to immigrate to America..most likely the last time they would see their family and their gorgeous homeland. You're right, Mary Pat, the Irish are of sturdy stock.... I think its their great sense of humor and their gift of blarney. Will definitely get your book. Thank you!

    Erin Go Bragh!

  • janeh
    janeh
    3/17/2009 12:52 PM

    I haven't a drop of Irish blood in my veins......but I always wanted some......I remember thinking as a little kid that my parents' Irish friends had so much more fun than did our reserved scandinavian family......

  • Katie
    Katie
    3/17/2009 12:56 PM

    My husband and I went to Ireland for our honeymoon, and Galway was our first stop and favorite city. I loved Ireland and can't wait to go back some day. I think the people of Ireland are the most wonderful attribute of the country. We met some of the most kind and welcoming people during our travels throughout the country. My family comes from Ireland, but I am not sure which county. My maiden name is Galvin-any ideas?

    Happy St. Patrick's day! Slainte!

  • Judy
    Judy
    3/17/2009 1:04 PM

    It's my dream to visit Ireland one day! Edward Rutherford's historical novels (The Princes and The Rebels of Ireland) started me on the desire, and I bet Ms. Kelly's book would be a great addition to my ultimate goal. I'm a librarian in a small rural town in WY, but genealogy is a HUGE interest for our patrons. They love getting the flavor of a historical time from novels like this.

    Plus--my husband's birthday is TODAY. So, there are 3 reasons!

  • Thomas Farragher
    Thomas Farragher
    3/17/2009 1:04 PM

    To have viewed Galway Bay on a recent tour was a dream come true for this Irishman. A sight to behold.

  • Betty Curran
    Betty Curran
    3/17/2009 1:07 PM

    My husband ancestry is Irish and we have always wanted to visit Ireland. I love reading about the country, it sounds so beautiful.

  • Tracey
    Tracey
    3/17/2009 1:28 PM

    My grandfather's family has been traced back to 2 brothers that imigrated to the US from Ireland in the 1700s. I would be interested in Galway Bay for the setting . But I love historical novels because they let me learn what a past era was like while giving me a good story too.

  • Ann
    Ann
    3/17/2009 1:38 PM

    I have spent a few years tracing my ancestry in Ireland and am going this summer. I can't wait.

  • Quinn
    Quinn
    3/17/2009 1:43 PM

    Your book sounds just lovely and I am anxious to read it and to read it with my family. Our family roots are connected back to Ireland and it is a true desire for us to go and spend time there. We lived in Europe for a few years and had plans to go to Ireland last spring but then we had to return to our 'homeland' back here in the US. Our trip was just put on hold and I am sure reading a book like yours would spark our interest to return sooner. I am facinated as to how you just asked questions to learn what it really was like. And the research you took to learn about your family and the strings that connect you to your past and to the country. I am quite excited to read your book.

  • Hannah
    Hannah
    3/17/2009 1:48 PM

    My maternal grandparents were from Ireland but they both passed on long ago and I wish I knew more about my ancestors. I only know that my grandmother was from Fermanagh, where the Belleek pottery is made, and I have a few pieces of hers to remember her by. I would love to read this book because they were a typical large Irish family with 11 children and little money and I'd like to gain a better appreciation of what they must have gone through to survive.

  • Chrysa
    Chrysa
    3/17/2009 1:58 PM

    I love novels set in Ireland and hope to visit someday. The countryside looks beautiful and I have heard the people are wonderful!

  • Marcia
    Marcia
    3/17/2009 2:14 PM

    A great offering for St. Patrick's Day!

  • Mary Pat
    Mary Pat – Special Guest
    3/17/2009 2:16 PM

    It is such fun to be in contact with all of you and read your comments. I love the Daily Grommet and I am so happy you are interested in my book.

    I see there is a Mary Kelly among us today...no surprise since so many Americans have connections to Ireland. And today, everybody is Irish!

    I am in New York, where I bought a green bagel this morning and saw that shamrocks decorate my neighborhood Mexican restaurant. The sun is shining on the parade, the bagpipes are playing--a celebration of our ancestors who turned tragedy into triumph.

    I see many of you are historical fiction fans, I have learned so much history through novels and hope Galway Bay will do the same for you. Some of you mentioned going to Ireland to trace your roots--on my website www.marypatkelly.com -- the family history centers in the various counties of Ireland are listed under "Research."

    Many names are connected with particular counties. To Katie who inquired about the name Galvin, I can say that it is a Kerry name, in fact a star of the Kerry Gaelic football team is called Paul Galvin. So you might start there. It is important to get as much family information as possible before you go...US death certificates sometimes lists the maiden name of the mother which can help a lot. That is how I found my great-great grandmother Honora's maiden name.

    And Katie, I can't think of a more beautiful place than Galway Bay to honeymoon.

  • Barbara
    Barbara – Grommet Team
    3/17/2009 2:34 PM

    Mary Pat, I know I have ancestors from England and Scotland. I wonder if my family also traces back to Ireland. Where would you recommend I start?

  • Mary Pat
    Mary Pat – Special Guest
    3/17/2009 2:57 PM

    Hi Hannah, I know Belleek well. Joe at the Shell gas station is a wonderful local historian who would be happy to help you if you ever go there. Fermanagh is beautiful, the lake is amazing.

    To Barbara, many Irish went to England and Scotland. The last names would give a clue. Ancestory.com has the English and Scottish records online. Good luck, let me know how you do.

    I am on my way to a reception hosted by the Council General of Ireland -- sure to be a happy place. I'll check back in with Daily Grommet later.

  • Carolsue
    Carolsue
    3/17/2009 3:30 PM

    My maternal grandparents are Irish (Allebaugh), so there's always been a love of things Irish with me! My husband was lucky enough to travel on business to Ireland a few years ago--I would have so loved to go. He actually hates to travel, but he said that Ireland was the only place overseas he has visited that he actually liked. He said it was beautiful. Not only was he lucky enough to visit Ireland, but he was able to visit the area of Galway Bay. It was not a long visit, but it made a lasting impression on him. Maybe someday we can go back together. I look forward to readng your book!

  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    3/17/2009 3:36 PM

    Galway Bay sounds like a great book, I love historical fiction! I am Irish through my paternal grandma and I was the only one out of all her children and grandchildren to end up with her red hair and an interest in Ireland and all things Irish! I really hope someday to visit Ireland, I have a binder full of maps and information on places I want to see when I finally get there. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

  • Christine Jacobs
    Christine Jacobs
    3/17/2009 3:41 PM

    Mary Pat, This sounds like a terrific book. I'm an avid reader but haven't had as much time to seek out great books, now that I'm a mom with a full-time job. This one will be on my list!

    I have really enjoyed Maeve Binchy books. Would you say that your style is similar to hers, or different?

    Happy St Pat's Day,

    Christine

  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    3/17/2009 3:46 PM

    Sounds like a wonderful book. It would be great inspiration to my husband who has traced a lot of his english ancestory, but hasn't had as much luck with his Irish side. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

  • Sydney Mathis
    Sydney Mathis
    3/17/2009 3:53 PM

    This sounds like a lovely read. Ireland has always pulled me and historic fiction is one of my favorite genres. I look forward to reading your book!!

  • andrea
    andrea
    3/17/2009 4:02 PM

    sounds like a great book! Thanks!

  • Christine
    Christine
    3/17/2009 4:11 PM

    Mary Pat - this sounds like a powerful book and I look forward to reading it, whether I win a copy or not. I have lots of Irish history in my family - my mother's grandparents on both sides were Sullivans and my mother-in-law was also a Sullivan!! Thanks for focusing on the Irish this St. Patty's Day, Grommet!

  • ELSIE
    ELSIE
    3/17/2009 4:11 PM

    I would love to win this book. I enjoy reading historical fiction the most. Thanks for this chance!

  • Connie McGrath
    Connie McGrath
    3/17/2009 4:22 PM

    Very anxious to read your book! I was in Ireland 2 years ago and absolutely loved Galway Bay! It was beautiful but then all of Ireland is!!!

    Good luck with your book!

  • Jules
    Jules – Grommet Team
    3/17/2009 4:50 PM

    My family lived in Ireland from 2001 to 2005. We literally just picked up and moved, with no safety net, no jobs, friends, or family. Boy did we get lucky by picking Ireland. If anyone has any questions about moving there or being an American expat in Dublin, today, I can answer them. And.....the offer Mary Pat is making to help with Irish geneology research is like pure gold. It's not an easy thing to do, and expert guidance is so valuable. I never even looked into that stuff when I lived in Ireland....I needed Mary Pat to help me! Galway Bay would have probably been just the kick in the pants I needed to really do it, too.

  • Sue Farrell
    Sue Farrell
    3/17/2009 4:59 PM

    I enjoy multi-generational family sagas--so I would love to win this one.

  • Margaret
    Margaret
    3/17/2009 5:04 PM

    What a great way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day!!! Being of Irish heritage (my great grandparents are from County Waterford) I would love to read Mary Pat's Galway Bay and learn more about my heritage.

  • anita mc mahon de rose
    anita mc mahon de rose
    3/17/2009 5:15 PM

    I just discovered your book today and I am thrilled . My mom is Rosemarie Kelly McMahon,her father, Evan Ignatius Kelly,youngest brother of Mayor Edward Kelly. I can't wait to read your work,my brothers and I don't know our extended ancestry on the Kelly side because my grandparents divorced when my mom was young. I grew up on the south side of Chicago and now live on the north shore. My Aunt Pat Kelly Reagan said she met you a couple weeks ago and my brothers and I were so disappointed we missed the event. Thank you for all your hard work.

  • marilyn
    marilyn
    3/17/2009 5:48 PM

    I would love to read this book. My paternal grandfather came over from Ireland (surname Gaffney). I never knew what part of Ireland or anything about him. There is such a yearning in me to know specifically what area of Ireland my family hails from. I know he ended up sailing into Boston and was turned away there. He eventually settled in Elizabeth NJ. I wonder if you know anything about the Gaffney heritage? His name was Francis Aloysius Gaffney.

  • Linda
    Linda
    3/17/2009 5:57 PM

    Your book sounds very interesting. I am part Irish myself.

  • Mary Pat
    Mary Pat – Special Guest
    3/17/2009 6:03 PM

    Hi -- I'm back, thanks for all the encouraging words about Galway Bay.

    Christine, I have always admired Maeve's way with a story. Story is at the heart of Galway Bay too.

    Jenn, maybe your husband will be encouraged now that so many of the Irish records can be found online. You can check my website www.MaryPatKelly.com under "Research" for some links.

    Jules, I have read your posts on your time in Ireland and have enjoyed them. If Galway Bay does inspire you to research your roots, let me know, I'll try and steer you in the right direction.

    Anita, so glad we connected. The event in Chicago was wonderful, now we can all stay in touch. Enjoy Galway Bay!

    I am off to the "Kelly Gang" dinner, held each year to raise money for a worthy Irish cause. Great way to finish up St. Patrick's Day.

    All the best, Mary Pat

  • Mary Pat
    Mary Pat – Special Guest
    3/17/2009 6:07 PM

    Hi--just saw Marilyn's post--the Boston Irish newspapers might be a good resource. They started publishing very early. I found an obit in an early Chicago newspaper which really helped me. Also, check the links on my site under research for more online references. Good luck.

  • Jeanne
    Jeanne – Grommet Team
    3/17/2009 7:35 PM

    My Nana's family actually came over from Galway Bay, so this novel had even more meaning for me.

    I've loved reading everyone's comments and think that it's so true what you said earlier, Mary Pat - we're all Irish today!

    I started looking into our family's history a few years back and hit a wall when I found that records from the year that my great grandparents had come to America had been destroyed. Hearing your story has definitely motivated me to dig deeper! Enjoy your Kelly dinner, Mary Pat, and thanks for joining us today!

  • Jules
    Jules – Grommet Team
    3/17/2009 7:44 PM

    @Jeanne (and all) Virtually all Dublin centered geneology records were destroyed during the War of Independence 1919-21. So when my husband was documenting his application for Irish citizenship he had to talk to the parish priest in the little village where his grandmother was born. The priest read the entries on the hand-written birth registry over the phone, to my husband, to find a "Kathleen McGuinness" that matched the birth date we knew. Turned out Grandma "Dessy" must have lied about her age, so the priest found the best proxy and backed up the citizenship application. Kathleen's daughter (my mother-in-law) still believes what her mother told about her age, so she thinks our Irish citizenship (we all have an Irish passport now) will someday be revoked when someone busts on the priest for "corroberating." :)

  • Johannah B
    Johannah B
    3/17/2009 8:41 PM

    I couldn't get away from being Irish ~ the darn ways are embedded in my DNA!!

  • marie
    marie
    3/17/2009 10:41 PM

    I so enjoyed meeting you and attending your lecture in Boston, Mary Pat; and I can't wait to read the book!

    I am 100 % Irish and called my 95 yr.-old father to wish him, as I wish you, a Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

  • Mary Pat
    Mary Pat – Special Guest
    3/17/2009 10:52 PM

    Well, I just left a clatter of Kellys at the Kelly Gang Annual Dinner at Michael's Restaurant in midtown Manhattan. We raised a good amount of money for the Doe Fund which helps find jobs for the homeless. Kind words were said about Galway Bay and I thought the experience of the Great Starvation, even if only half-remembered, might be part of the reason the Irish do give generously to charity.

    Thanks for a fun day with the DailyGrommet community and the blessings of St. Patrick on one and all.

  • Mary Pat
    Mary Pat – Special Guest
    3/17/2009 10:56 PM

    Marie,

    Thanks. I really enjoyed Boston and hope to be back there soon.

  • Jeff
    Jeff
    3/20/2009 5:12 PM

    I'm catching up on this week's grommets after being away from email for 4 days (it was blissful!) and I really like being able to 'meet' an author quickly in this format. Thanks for shining a nice spotlight on this book; it will go onto my reading list.

    :)

    Erin Go Bragh!

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    2/15/2010 12:21 PM

    We received a message from Mary Pat that I'm posting here:

    Happy Spring! In Ireland snowdrops and primroses are blooming and the Celtic calender says Imbolc - Spring - begins on February 1st, St. Brigid's Feast. Both blacksmiths and poets claim the great Irishwoman as their patron which seems appropriate to me as I work on the sequel to Galway Bay. Sometimes as I write I do feel as if I'm hammering away. But then I think of you. Readers! You're my reward! Because of you Galway Bay is in its fourth printing. THANKS.

    Could I ask a favor? St. Patrick's Day turns booksellers' attention towards things Irish. Would you please encourage a book store near you to add copies of Galway Bay to their St. Patrick's Day displays? I've found that individual managers do respond when asked to stock the book.

The launch day conversation has ended. Please direct further questions about this Grommet to our Community Experience Team.

 

"Galway Bay"

by Mary Pat Kelly

Coming to America: The Irish Experience

It’s no blarney that the Irish are born storytellers. From Edwin O’Connor The Last Hurrah to Frank McCourt Angela’s Ashes, Irish authors can make you laugh out loud one page and have you tear-up on the next. Following in their footsteps, Mary Pat Kelly walks the walk and talks the talk. Listen, you can almost hear the brogue in her new novel, Galway Bay.

While backpacking her way through Europe thirty years ago, Mary Pat uncovered the story of her forebears and makes it her mission to describe the Irish experience
and its huge impact on the population of the United States. She is an award winning documentary maker and a former nun. Her characters will grab you by the heartstrings with their grit, determination, humor, and resilience.

Steeped in myth, history, drama, romance, and legend, Kelly weaves a family saga through six generations. As her yarn unravels, we empathize and can hardly wait to for the next chapter. Written as historical fiction, Kelly bases her yarn loosely on her great-great-grandmother, Honora Kelly. If you have ever wondered what it would have been like to live through a famine, it’s all here in heart-wrenching detail.

Pour a cup of tea and curl up with this glorious panoramic novel that will sweep from Galway Bay clear across to Chicago. And by the way, you don’t have to be Irish to fall for this tale.
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Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Mary Pat
    Mary Pat

    I am so happy to be celebrating with you at Daily Grommet. I’ll be dropping in a couple of times this afternoon to read your comments and answer your questions.

    What a joy to share Galway Bay with you. Though fiction, the story’s based on my own great-great-grandmother Honora Kelly. I’m awed at the strength and resilience of our ancestors. Please share your family story with me. If your roots are in Ireland I might be able to help you get more information. I’ve done a lot of research!

  • Dottie Johnson
    Dottie Johnson
    3/17/2009 12:09 PM

    Both my husband and I are Irish. I am an avid reader and would love to read your book whether I win a copy or not . I wish you a very happy St Patrick's Day.

  • Kim Jones
    Kim Jones
    3/17/2009 12:19 PM

    I would love to read the book - it sounds like it will be an awesome tale. I do genealogy but haven't been fortunate enough to find an Irish ancestor yet - how awesome that you have been able to trace your Irish roots and are offering to help others find theirs. Happy St. Patricks day and may you have great success with your book!

  • Marisa
    Marisa
    3/17/2009 12:24 PM

    Sounds like the perfect read for St Pat's day. Being Irish, I am always on the search for historical fiction about Ireland. Good find Grommet!

  • Katherine
    Katherine
    3/17/2009 12:30 PM

    My hair is red, but not a drop of Irish in me! (Is that possible, should I be asking more questions!?) Today is a day we are all Irish though! Sounds like a great page turner.

  • Angela
    Angela
    3/17/2009 12:36 PM

    This would be nice to have for my children who have a paternal great grandparent who was born in Ireland.

  • Sara
    Sara – Grommet Team
    3/17/2009 12:39 PM

    I am also of Irish descent and we visited Ireland last year. It was so beautiful, every bit as gorgeous as you hear. I learned the real meaning of the "Irish wake". It was the last get together the family had before one of the children left to immigrate to America..most likely the last time they would see their family and their gorgeous homeland. You're right, Mary Pat, the Irish are of sturdy stock.... I think its their great sense of humor and their gift of blarney. Will definitely get your book. Thank you!

    Erin Go Bragh!

  • janeh
    janeh
    3/17/2009 12:52 PM

    I haven't a drop of Irish blood in my veins......but I always wanted some......I remember thinking as a little kid that my parents' Irish friends had so much more fun than did our reserved scandinavian family......

  • Katie
    Katie
    3/17/2009 12:56 PM

    My husband and I went to Ireland for our honeymoon, and Galway was our first stop and favorite city. I loved Ireland and can't wait to go back some day. I think the people of Ireland are the most wonderful attribute of the country. We met some of the most kind and welcoming people during our travels throughout the country. My family comes from Ireland, but I am not sure which county. My maiden name is Galvin-any ideas?

    Happy St. Patrick's day! Slainte!

  • Judy
    Judy
    3/17/2009 1:04 PM

    It's my dream to visit Ireland one day! Edward Rutherford's historical novels (The Princes and The Rebels of Ireland) started me on the desire, and I bet Ms. Kelly's book would be a great addition to my ultimate goal. I'm a librarian in a small rural town in WY, but genealogy is a HUGE interest for our patrons. They love getting the flavor of a historical time from novels like this.

    Plus--my husband's birthday is TODAY. So, there are 3 reasons!

  • Thomas Farragher
    Thomas Farragher
    3/17/2009 1:04 PM

    To have viewed Galway Bay on a recent tour was a dream come true for this Irishman. A sight to behold.

  • Betty Curran
    Betty Curran
    3/17/2009 1:07 PM

    My husband ancestry is Irish and we have always wanted to visit Ireland. I love reading about the country, it sounds so beautiful.

  • Tracey
    Tracey
    3/17/2009 1:28 PM

    My grandfather's family has been traced back to 2 brothers that imigrated to the US from Ireland in the 1700s. I would be interested in Galway Bay for the setting . But I love historical novels because they let me learn what a past era was like while giving me a good story too.

  • Ann
    Ann
    3/17/2009 1:38 PM

    I have spent a few years tracing my ancestry in Ireland and am going this summer. I can't wait.

  • Quinn
    Quinn
    3/17/2009 1:43 PM

    Your book sounds just lovely and I am anxious to read it and to read it with my family. Our family roots are connected back to Ireland and it is a true desire for us to go and spend time there. We lived in Europe for a few years and had plans to go to Ireland last spring but then we had to return to our 'homeland' back here in the US. Our trip was just put on hold and I am sure reading a book like yours would spark our interest to return sooner. I am facinated as to how you just asked questions to learn what it really was like. And the research you took to learn about your family and the strings that connect you to your past and to the country. I am quite excited to read your book.

  • Hannah
    Hannah
    3/17/2009 1:48 PM

    My maternal grandparents were from Ireland but they both passed on long ago and I wish I knew more about my ancestors. I only know that my grandmother was from Fermanagh, where the Belleek pottery is made, and I have a few pieces of hers to remember her by. I would love to read this book because they were a typical large Irish family with 11 children and little money and I'd like to gain a better appreciation of what they must have gone through to survive.

  • Chrysa
    Chrysa
    3/17/2009 1:58 PM

    I love novels set in Ireland and hope to visit someday. The countryside looks beautiful and I have heard the people are wonderful!

  • Marcia
    Marcia
    3/17/2009 2:14 PM

    A great offering for St. Patrick's Day!

  • Mary Pat
    Mary Pat – Special Guest
    3/17/2009 2:16 PM

    It is such fun to be in contact with all of you and read your comments. I love the Daily Grommet and I am so happy you are interested in my book.

    I see there is a Mary Kelly among us today...no surprise since so many Americans have connections to Ireland. And today, everybody is Irish!

    I am in New York, where I bought a green bagel this morning and saw that shamrocks decorate my neighborhood Mexican restaurant. The sun is shining on the parade, the bagpipes are playing--a celebration of our ancestors who turned tragedy into triumph.

    I see many of you are historical fiction fans, I have learned so much history through novels and hope Galway Bay will do the same for you. Some of you mentioned going to Ireland to trace your roots--on my website www.marypatkelly.com -- the family history centers in the various counties of Ireland are listed under "Research."

    Many names are connected with particular counties. To Katie who inquired about the name Galvin, I can say that it is a Kerry name, in fact a star of the Kerry Gaelic football team is called Paul Galvin. So you might start there. It is important to get as much family information as possible before you go...US death certificates sometimes lists the maiden name of the mother which can help a lot. That is how I found my great-great grandmother Honora's maiden name.

    And Katie, I can't think of a more beautiful place than Galway Bay to honeymoon.

  • Barbara
    Barbara – Grommet Team
    3/17/2009 2:34 PM

    Mary Pat, I know I have ancestors from England and Scotland. I wonder if my family also traces back to Ireland. Where would you recommend I start?

  • Mary Pat
    Mary Pat – Special Guest
    3/17/2009 2:57 PM

    Hi Hannah, I know Belleek well. Joe at the Shell gas station is a wonderful local historian who would be happy to help you if you ever go there. Fermanagh is beautiful, the lake is amazing.

    To Barbara, many Irish went to England and Scotland. The last names would give a clue. Ancestory.com has the English and Scottish records online. Good luck, let me know how you do.

    I am on my way to a reception hosted by the Council General of Ireland -- sure to be a happy place. I'll check back in with Daily Grommet later.

  • Carolsue
    Carolsue
    3/17/2009 3:30 PM

    My maternal grandparents are Irish (Allebaugh), so there's always been a love of things Irish with me! My husband was lucky enough to travel on business to Ireland a few years ago--I would have so loved to go. He actually hates to travel, but he said that Ireland was the only place overseas he has visited that he actually liked. He said it was beautiful. Not only was he lucky enough to visit Ireland, but he was able to visit the area of Galway Bay. It was not a long visit, but it made a lasting impression on him. Maybe someday we can go back together. I look forward to readng your book!

  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    3/17/2009 3:36 PM

    Galway Bay sounds like a great book, I love historical fiction! I am Irish through my paternal grandma and I was the only one out of all her children and grandchildren to end up with her red hair and an interest in Ireland and all things Irish! I really hope someday to visit Ireland, I have a binder full of maps and information on places I want to see when I finally get there. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

  • Christine Jacobs
    Christine Jacobs
    3/17/2009 3:41 PM

    Mary Pat, This sounds like a terrific book. I'm an avid reader but haven't had as much time to seek out great books, now that I'm a mom with a full-time job. This one will be on my list!

    I have really enjoyed Maeve Binchy books. Would you say that your style is similar to hers, or different?

    Happy St Pat's Day,

    Christine

  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    3/17/2009 3:46 PM

    Sounds like a wonderful book. It would be great inspiration to my husband who has traced a lot of his english ancestory, but hasn't had as much luck with his Irish side. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

  • Sydney Mathis
    Sydney Mathis
    3/17/2009 3:53 PM

    This sounds like a lovely read. Ireland has always pulled me and historic fiction is one of my favorite genres. I look forward to reading your book!!

  • andrea
    andrea
    3/17/2009 4:02 PM

    sounds like a great book! Thanks!

  • Christine
    Christine
    3/17/2009 4:11 PM

    Mary Pat - this sounds like a powerful book and I look forward to reading it, whether I win a copy or not. I have lots of Irish history in my family - my mother's grandparents on both sides were Sullivans and my mother-in-law was also a Sullivan!! Thanks for focusing on the Irish this St. Patty's Day, Grommet!

  • ELSIE
    ELSIE
    3/17/2009 4:11 PM

    I would love to win this book. I enjoy reading historical fiction the most. Thanks for this chance!

  • Connie McGrath
    Connie McGrath
    3/17/2009 4:22 PM

    Very anxious to read your book! I was in Ireland 2 years ago and absolutely loved Galway Bay! It was beautiful but then all of Ireland is!!!

    Good luck with your book!

  • Jules
    Jules – Grommet Team
    3/17/2009 4:50 PM

    My family lived in Ireland from 2001 to 2005. We literally just picked up and moved, with no safety net, no jobs, friends, or family. Boy did we get lucky by picking Ireland. If anyone has any questions about moving there or being an American expat in Dublin, today, I can answer them. And.....the offer Mary Pat is making to help with Irish geneology research is like pure gold. It's not an easy thing to do, and expert guidance is so valuable. I never even looked into that stuff when I lived in Ireland....I needed Mary Pat to help me! Galway Bay would have probably been just the kick in the pants I needed to really do it, too.

  • Sue Farrell
    Sue Farrell
    3/17/2009 4:59 PM

    I enjoy multi-generational family sagas--so I would love to win this one.

  • Margaret
    Margaret
    3/17/2009 5:04 PM

    What a great way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day!!! Being of Irish heritage (my great grandparents are from County Waterford) I would love to read Mary Pat's Galway Bay and learn more about my heritage.

  • anita mc mahon de rose
    anita mc mahon de rose
    3/17/2009 5:15 PM

    I just discovered your book today and I am thrilled . My mom is Rosemarie Kelly McMahon,her father, Evan Ignatius Kelly,youngest brother of Mayor Edward Kelly. I can't wait to read your work,my brothers and I don't know our extended ancestry on the Kelly side because my grandparents divorced when my mom was young. I grew up on the south side of Chicago and now live on the north shore. My Aunt Pat Kelly Reagan said she met you a couple weeks ago and my brothers and I were so disappointed we missed the event. Thank you for all your hard work.

  • marilyn
    marilyn
    3/17/2009 5:48 PM

    I would love to read this book. My paternal grandfather came over from Ireland (surname Gaffney). I never knew what part of Ireland or anything about him. There is such a yearning in me to know specifically what area of Ireland my family hails from. I know he ended up sailing into Boston and was turned away there. He eventually settled in Elizabeth NJ. I wonder if you know anything about the Gaffney heritage? His name was Francis Aloysius Gaffney.

  • Linda
    Linda
    3/17/2009 5:57 PM

    Your book sounds very interesting. I am part Irish myself.

  • Mary Pat
    Mary Pat – Special Guest
    3/17/2009 6:03 PM

    Hi -- I'm back, thanks for all the encouraging words about Galway Bay.

    Christine, I have always admired Maeve's way with a story. Story is at the heart of Galway Bay too.

    Jenn, maybe your husband will be encouraged now that so many of the Irish records can be found online. You can check my website www.MaryPatKelly.com under "Research" for some links.

    Jules, I have read your posts on your time in Ireland and have enjoyed them. If Galway Bay does inspire you to research your roots, let me know, I'll try and steer you in the right direction.

    Anita, so glad we connected. The event in Chicago was wonderful, now we can all stay in touch. Enjoy Galway Bay!

    I am off to the "Kelly Gang" dinner, held each year to raise money for a worthy Irish cause. Great way to finish up St. Patrick's Day.

    All the best, Mary Pat

  • Mary Pat
    Mary Pat – Special Guest
    3/17/2009 6:07 PM

    Hi--just saw Marilyn's post--the Boston Irish newspapers might be a good resource. They started publishing very early. I found an obit in an early Chicago newspaper which really helped me. Also, check the links on my site under research for more online references. Good luck.

  • Jeanne
    Jeanne – Grommet Team
    3/17/2009 7:35 PM

    My Nana's family actually came over from Galway Bay, so this novel had even more meaning for me.

    I've loved reading everyone's comments and think that it's so true what you said earlier, Mary Pat - we're all Irish today!

    I started looking into our family's history a few years back and hit a wall when I found that records from the year that my great grandparents had come to America had been destroyed. Hearing your story has definitely motivated me to dig deeper! Enjoy your Kelly dinner, Mary Pat, and thanks for joining us today!

  • Jules
    Jules – Grommet Team
    3/17/2009 7:44 PM

    @Jeanne (and all) Virtually all Dublin centered geneology records were destroyed during the War of Independence 1919-21. So when my husband was documenting his application for Irish citizenship he had to talk to the parish priest in the little village where his grandmother was born. The priest read the entries on the hand-written birth registry over the phone, to my husband, to find a "Kathleen McGuinness" that matched the birth date we knew. Turned out Grandma "Dessy" must have lied about her age, so the priest found the best proxy and backed up the citizenship application. Kathleen's daughter (my mother-in-law) still believes what her mother told about her age, so she thinks our Irish citizenship (we all have an Irish passport now) will someday be revoked when someone busts on the priest for "corroberating." :)

  • Johannah B
    Johannah B
    3/17/2009 8:41 PM

    I couldn't get away from being Irish ~ the darn ways are embedded in my DNA!!

  • marie
    marie
    3/17/2009 10:41 PM

    I so enjoyed meeting you and attending your lecture in Boston, Mary Pat; and I can't wait to read the book!

    I am 100 % Irish and called my 95 yr.-old father to wish him, as I wish you, a Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

  • Mary Pat
    Mary Pat – Special Guest
    3/17/2009 10:52 PM

    Well, I just left a clatter of Kellys at the Kelly Gang Annual Dinner at Michael's Restaurant in midtown Manhattan. We raised a good amount of money for the Doe Fund which helps find jobs for the homeless. Kind words were said about Galway Bay and I thought the experience of the Great Starvation, even if only half-remembered, might be part of the reason the Irish do give generously to charity.

    Thanks for a fun day with the DailyGrommet community and the blessings of St. Patrick on one and all.

  • Mary Pat
    Mary Pat – Special Guest
    3/17/2009 10:56 PM

    Marie,

    Thanks. I really enjoyed Boston and hope to be back there soon.

  • Jeff
    Jeff
    3/20/2009 5:12 PM

    I'm catching up on this week's grommets after being away from email for 4 days (it was blissful!) and I really like being able to 'meet' an author quickly in this format. Thanks for shining a nice spotlight on this book; it will go onto my reading list.

    :)

    Erin Go Bragh!

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    2/15/2010 12:21 PM

    We received a message from Mary Pat that I'm posting here:

    Happy Spring! In Ireland snowdrops and primroses are blooming and the Celtic calender says Imbolc - Spring - begins on February 1st, St. Brigid's Feast. Both blacksmiths and poets claim the great Irishwoman as their patron which seems appropriate to me as I work on the sequel to Galway Bay. Sometimes as I write I do feel as if I'm hammering away. But then I think of you. Readers! You're my reward! Because of you Galway Bay is in its fourth printing. THANKS.

    Could I ask a favor? St. Patrick's Day turns booksellers' attention towards things Irish. Would you please encourage a book store near you to add copies of Galway Bay to their St. Patrick's Day displays? I've found that individual managers do respond when asked to stock the book.

The launch day conversation has ended. Please direct further questions about this Grommet to our Community Experience Team.