Divide the Dawn is named Kindle Bestseller in the category “Historical Novel Pre-Order.” The book is about Irish families in early 20th Century New York. Go HERE to find out more.
They said my great-grandmother was stunningly beautiful, had a whip-smart sense of humor and thought of others before thinking of herself. Yet she was also known for diving into a deep sadness that would quieten her. Even set her to trembling.
Honora’s journey is my journey. And the journey of all of us, whether they are Irish, as she was, or any of the immigrant groups that journey to America for a better life.
They say it’s not about the conclusion of a story, but the journey itself. And in this story it is the journey that made her.
She was born Honora Kelly in the year 1880 to a large family on a small farm on the banks of the Shannon River estuary.
~ Labasheeda, the village where she was born, was a tiny farming community that was still reeling from the horrific Great Hunger (also known as the “potato famine”). It had only been thirty five years since the Great Hunger had begun, and as many historians will tell you, the blight on the crop may have improved, but emigration out of the impoverished Irish countryside remained unabated.
From all accounts Honora was a gorgeous baby, but it couldn’t help her to fight against the hunger that raged in her little belly. She was one of many children, and because her parents could not feed her she was given up for adoption to an orphanage in Ennis, the capital of County Clare. ~ I often imagine her: A beautiful little girl, starving and parentless. Thrown into a dorm
A recent photo of Labasheeda Bay
with many other girls, forgotten. Then I remember that her ability to fight is what gave me a chance at life.
By the time she was a teenager she must have realized that there was nothing in Ireland for her. County Clare was continuing to get pummeled by terrible economic conditions imposed upon it by the absentee landlords. A colonial government in London exasperated the situation by its steadfast commitment to a Laissez Faire policy which both handcuffed Ireland, and forced the people to pay their own way.
By twenty-one years old Honora had somehow, miraculously, according to some in my family, saved enough money to emigrate to New York. Yet her problems were not over.
On the ship to New York she was huddled into the steerage compartment with many other people. Her beauty had attracted some of the crew and the worst thing imagined, actually happened to her. Honora was lured away and trapped. Taken advantage of.
I learned this fact from a great aunt and uncle. They were in their 90s when they mentioned this. During their day, something so tragic and personal was never spoken of, but they wanted me to add it into the genealogical story I had been collecting.
In New York Honora found work cleaning homes and making sandwiches in saloons in Greenwich Village. She then became associated with groups that raised money for Irish freedom. ~
One night in 1902, at a dance ball put on by the local Gaelic Athletic Association and the
Lynches Tavern in the 1950s.
County Claremen’s Evicted Tenant’s Protective and Industrial Association, she met a very tall and imposing man.
At 6’4″, he was a giant back then. With a deep voice and a stern demeanor, Thomas Lynch was known in Greenwich Village for running a clean saloon named Lynch’s Tavern on the corner of Barrow and Hudson streets. He didn’t take any crap from anybody, including police officers looking for handouts.
For whatever reason, he approached Honora, towering over her, and gently extended his hand to her. She must have been so nervous, though she allowed him a dance.
When he had proven, over months of courting, that he did not have a mean bone in his body, particularly with her, she agreed to continue seeing him. Never again would a man take advantage of Honora, especially as she was escorted everywhere by a giant, mean-looking man whose reputation preceded him.
The rest is history. They had six children, including my grandfather. After living above
That’s Honora in the back. I can’t tell if she is smiling or if she is sad! My grandfather is the youngest boy on the right. Photo: 1919.
the tavern for a few years they moved to Brooklyn and lived a moderate, working class life.
Eventually two of their sons became lawyers and saved the tavern when it was foreclosed during the Great Depression.
My grandfather, the youngest boy, took over the tavern from his aging father and kept it in the family until the 1970s. It’s still there, in fact, though under different ownership (It’s called Barrow’s Pub now. I still go there sometimes!).
Honora lived a long and comfortable life after her arduous journey. She was loved by one and all, even when her thoughts went dark and she became quiet while thinking of the past.
It’s this simple: If you landed on this page, it means you were targeted in an ad.
Amazon tracks your purchases on its site, your activity on other websites, your voice commands, locations, grocery shopping and even extensively tracks your reading habits.
Bookbub sends emails directly to you and over ten millions others. It tracks if you open the email, if you click on one of the books in the email and when you buy something afterward.
So who does Amazon & Bookbub share this information with? What is done with it? And how does it affect my privacy? I’m going to tell you now.
Hey, since you’re here, check out my new Historical Novel coming out this April on, you guessed it, Amazon! Go HERE.
They keep your information and habits to sell more advertisements, which is where the big money is for them.
On Bookbub, if you selected that you enjoy Crime Fiction, then you will be targeted by publishers and authors in future emails with offers to buy another Crime Fiction novel.
On your Kindle, if you have bought Historical Fiction novels in the past, Amazon’s advertising platform offers this information to publishers and authors so they can target you in advertisements (have you ever noticed those tiny little ads on the bottom of the Bookbub emails? Those are authors that were not accepted in Bookbub’s Featured program).
So is this evil? Is this immoral? Is it illegal?
No, no and no. It’s actually convenient. But it does make Amazon and Bookbub millions upon millions of dollars based on your interests.
As I’ve mentioned, if you landed on this page, it is because I targeted you in an ad with the keywords “Kindle” and/or “Bookbub.” Then you clicked on it.
Under California’s new privacy law, you can actually request from Amazon exactly what information they are saving. The Guardian did it recently, and although the article intones that something dastardly is going on, in reality it wasn’t all that dastardly at all.
The fact of the matter is, Kindle and Bookbub offer convenient ways to get the books you like, right in front of your eyes.
Here’s some info from a recent Pew Research Center Poll: “47% (polled) say the basic bargain offered by retail loyalty cards – namely, that stores track their purchases in exchange for occasional discounts – is acceptable to them, even as a third (32%) call it unacceptable.”
But, “Six-in-ten Americans (61%) have said they would like to do more to protect their privacy. Additionally, two-thirds have said current laws are not good enough in protecting people’s privacy, and 64% support more regulation of advertisers.”
Now, if we were to suddenly have dictatorial governments sweep across the wealthiest countries in the world and work in cahoots with big businesses to imprison those who disagree with them, well that would be, um, ok maybe collecting our information is a nightmare.
on Goodreads and Amazon to get the truth. There’s too much publicity that you have to sift through to get the truth. So here are some reviews by real people who have read and reviewed some of the books by Eamon Loingsigh, an author who has been shortlisted for the 2016 Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction.
Quotes from REAL People:
“From the very first pages I was taken back to this time, fully immersed in this time period. . . Extremely well written, so authentically portrayed and covered a period I hadn’t read before.” ~From Diane S., Goodreads #5 Best Reviewers
“At once poetic and gritty. . . a wonderful piece of historical fiction, written beautifully.” ~Angela M., Goodreads #15 Best Reviewer
“The author again proves himself to be a gifted storyteller possessed of a vivid sense of history. Delightful is his ability to take us back in time to a forgotten corner of Brooklyn.” ~Father Ray Roden, Amazon
Divide the Dawn will be released April 2020, but can be pre-ordered HERE.
“What Eamon Loingsigh points out very consciously, is that all things must cchange to move forward, and yet there are those that do not want things to change.” ~Carie, Goodreads
“Loingsigh captures the poetic texture of the language. . . persuasive, very skillful and seductive. An impressive achievement indeed.” ~John, Goodreads.
“I liked the atmospheric quality of his narrative and the depravity he wasn’t afraid to depict within these pages.” ~Historical Novel Society
“Eamon Loingsigh is a stellar author and I love his work.”
~Brett McAteer, Amazon
“Eamon Loingsigh is an excellent writer. Once one opens to read they become part of the story. You are right there. . . He has written an amazing story.”
~Eileen Scarpello, Amazon
Back Cover/Dust Jacket Description: From the slums of old Irishtown to the docks of industrial Red Hook, chaos flourishes. Factions struggle for supremacy over labor in Brooklyn and to feed families where meals are hard-won. Staking claims through blood feuds, gang wars, insurmountable poverty, influenzas and mystical snowstorms. All foretold in the
Divide the Dawn will be released April 2020, but can be pre-ordered HERE.
prophecies of the aged, unkempt augurs from the Great Hunger who’d founded this place on the windy waterfront in the 1840s.
It is a tale in which many call upon the past to guide them, while others look to the future for hope. Where enormous brawls can determine power, and defiance of law can save lives. Here men are killed in the streets for breaking codes of silence, boys become Soldiers of the Dawn; and girls either marry out of the slums, or become property.
Against a backdrop of ritual bareknuckle fights and incestuous love. Where the dead haunt in more than just memory, victory often comes to those with the coldest, cruelest hearts. For when dawn breaks, the darkness of the past and the light of the future clash.
Add your voice to the chorus that is singing out against the English government’s chosen language of Ireland’s Greatest Tragedy.
Would you sign a petition to inform non-Irish people not to use the term “potato famine” when referring to what happened in Ireland from 1845-1852?
Divide the Dawn (April 2020), a new historical novel details the effects the Great Hunger (not famine) had on those who survived not only the blight in Ireland, but the coffin ships that landed in New York.
Call it An Gorta Mor
Call it The Great Hunger
Call it Genocide
But when you say “potato famine,” you are using the language of the perpetrator of a horrific, years-long brutal crime where millions of pounds of food were exported by British soldiers at gunpoint and a million people starved to death, a million more emigrated.
Here’s what it says:
To the United Nations
We the undersigned, citizens of the world, earnestly beseech your honorable body to adopt measures for so amending the UN Charter on Human Rights as to discourage, disenfranchise or prohibit the use of the term “Potato Famine” or “Famine” to describe the events that took place in Ireland from the years 1845-1852.
If it cannot, or will not use the term “Genocide” to describe it, we encourage the United Nations to adopt the terms “An Gorta Mór” or “Great Hunger.”
The use of the term “potato famine” or “famine” is the language of the perpetrators of a brutal, colonial force that exported grain, wheat and cattle from Ireland, which lead to over a million deaths from starvation, and over a million more to emigrate. The blight on a single crop, the potato, could not be responsible for such devastation.
The Act of Union that came into effect January 1, 1801, joining Ireland to Great Britain, creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, put the citizens of Ireland in the trust of Great Britain. Instead of helping the Irish people at their time of greatest need, Great Britain moved them off the land in great numbers to their financial benefit: to allow cattle to graze on the same land.
Although Irishtown had been known as Brooklyn’s most recognizable, infamous
Divide the Dawn is a popularly selling historical novels about Irish families in early 20th Century New York. Go HERE to find out more.
waterfront neighborhood for Irish immigrants in the mid 1800s, it was the city’s long waterfront property that stretched both north and south of Irishtown that was heavily settled by (what the local Anglo-Americans called) the “Famine Irish.” In truth, Irishtown could only be seen as the capital amidst the long stretch of Brooklyn waterfront neighborhoods facing the East River and Manhattan.
By the census year of 1855, the Irish already made up the largest foreign-born group in New York. This constituted a dramatic shift in the ethnic landscape of Brooklyn. In just ten years, the amount of Irish-born inhabitants had jumped from a minimal amount, to 56,753. Out of a total population in Brooklyn of 205,250, its newly arrived Irish-born inhabitants made up about 27.5%.
The impact of such a large amount of immigrants in a short period of time may be difficult to imagine, but it must be remembered that these newly-arrived were not only all from one ethnic background, but they were also terribly destitute, bony from intense starvation, malnourished, disease-ridden, uneducated and untrained people that came from an outdated medieval agrarian community. On top of all of this, at least half of them did not speak English and instead spoke Gaelic and were landing in a culture that was traditionally hostile to their form of religion: Catholicism.
The Great Hunger in Ireland of 1845-1852, or what is commonly, if not erroneously called the “Potato Famine,” caused over 1.5 million (if not more) Irish tenant farmers to flee for lack of food.
“Few newcomers had the resources to go beyond New York and therefore stayed for negative reasons,” said Ronald H. Bayor and Thomas J. Meaghan in their book, The New York Irish. “Most… had no other options… The best capitalized Irish immigrants were those who did not linger in New York, but went elsewhere, making New York and other harbor cities somewhat atypical of the rest of Irish America.”
The waterfront neighborhoods of antebellum Brooklyn was such a place. These neighborhoods of mostly English Protestants and old Dutch aristocracy were quickly overwhelmed by these Catholic “invaders” crippled by diseases, starving and with a legacy of rebelliousness, secrecy, violence and faction fighting within their fiercely communal cooperations. In short, these great numbers of Brooklyn immigrants were in no way interested in assimilating into the incumbent Anglo-Protestant culture.
Since 1825 and the opening of the Erie Canal, Brooklyn had begun to boom as the New York Ports along the Hudson and East Rivers now had access to the great and rising cities in the midwest and beyond.
Soon, New York become the busiest port city in the world. There was labor work to be had in Brooklyn, in the manufacturing and loading and unloading of goods to be sent around the country and around the world.
Brooklyn was broken down into wards at that time, and although much of the population lived along the waterfront, there were plenty of other neighborhoods inland that were heavily populated by the English and Dutch before the Great Hunger. But the newly arrived Irish immigrants did not go inland, they stayed along the waterfront where the labor and longshoremen jobs were.
Historical novel Divide the Dawn takes place in Brooklyn’s Irishtown. Go HERE to find out more.
One neighborhood in particular gained fame, though it is not as much known today as it was then: Irishtown.
Located in the old Fifth Ward, Brooklyn’s Irishtown never gained the kind of infamous popularity that Manhattan’s Five Points garnered (as I previously wrote about in Code of Silence), it was nonetheless the center of the immigrant, working class slums and the brawling, closed-off culture of the wild Irish.
Located on one side next to Brooklyn’s Navy Yard that built ships and on the other side with the ferry companies connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan across the East River, Irishtown was centrally located.
Although Irishtown was the face of Brooklyn’s Irish community, it did not even have the distinction of having the most amount of Irish-born (which exclude American born of Irish stock) in it during the 1855 census. The dock and pier neighborhoods of Brooklyn were not just in the Fifth Ward, they were spread from the waterfront in Williamsburg north of Wallabout Bay all the way down to Red Hook and the Gowanus Canal.
During this time, there are three other wards that outnumber Irishtown in total Irish-born of the 1855 census. Cobble Hill, the Fulton Ferry Landing and southeast of the Navy Yard, north of Fort Greene Park. The brownstones of Brooklyn Heights are still considered mansions for the rich Brooklyn landowners at this time, but later will be divided and subdivided for the working class Irish.
The densest area of Irish-born is obviously from the Navy Yard, both inland and on the water to the Fulton Ferry Landing, but surprising numbers existed in the north along the Williamsburg waterfront and south in Cobble Hill, Red Hook and the Gowanus Canal. In fact, 47.7% of the total population of Red Hook in 1855 is Irish-born.
*Census for the State of New York for 1855 (Ward#, area, Irish-born residents)
Ward 1 (Brooklyn Heights 2,227)
Ward 2 (now known as DUMBO 2,967)
Ward 3 (East of Brooklyn Heights 1,964)
Ward 4 (south of DUMBO 2,440)
Ward 5 (Irishtown 5,629)
Ward 6 (Fulton Ferry Landing 6,463)
Ward 7 (Southeast of Navy Yard, north of Fort Greene Park 6,471)
Ward 8 (Gowanus 1,717)
Ward 10 (East of Cobble Hill 6,690)
Ward 11 (West of Ft. Greene Park, south of Irishtown 4,985)
Ward 12 (Red Hook 3,332)
Ward 13 (East of Navy Yard where current Williamsburg Bridge is 2,036)
Ward 14 (North of Williamsburg Bridge along waterfront 4,314)
In these wards, Irish-born constituted 32% of Brooklyn’s total population
In fact it is Brooklyn’s most famous Irish-American toughs, the White Hand Gang that originated not in Irishtown, but in and around Warren Street in Cobble Hill and Red Hook at the beginning of the 20th Century.
To find out more about the Irish White Hand Gang, go HERE.
So, it is right to assume that masses of Famine Irish landed and settled around the more famous neighborhood of Brooklyn’s Irishtown, but it is the general waterfront area from Williamsburg down to Gowanus, in the pier neighborhoods of the fastest growing port and industrial areas of the city where the majority of them settled. In fact, of the 56,753 Irish-born in Brooklyn in 1855, about 51,000 of them lived in the waterfront neighborhoods.
And they just kept coming, well after the Great Hunger ended. With connections in Brooklyn, Irish-born brought their extended families and friends to New York over the coming years, funding new passages to the city helping keep the Brooklyn working class Irish poor for many years to come.
By 1860, Brooklyn was the largest city in America with 279,122 residents, a large portion of which were either Irish-born or of Irish stock as it is still some years ahead of the considerable amounts of Jewish and Italian immigration to Brooklyn later in the century.
By the census of 1875, the population of Irish-born in Brooklyn jumps to 83,069. In 1880, the U.S. census, which counted both place of birth and parents’ birth place as well, estimated that one-third of all New Yorkers were of Irish parentage. By 1890 as Brooklyn neighborhoods were expanding east and south, the amount of people with Irish stock is at 196,372.
Recent research has proven that Al Capone did not willingly leave his hometown of Brooklyn. In fact, he was forced out by a local Irish gang called the White Hand (named in opposition to the “invading” Italian Black Hand).
In 1899, the year Al Capone was born, Brooklyn was a heavily populated industrialized and manufacturing hub. All along the waterfront area there were gigantic sugar refineries, coffee storage houses, weapons manufacturers, soap manufacturers, cardboard box makers and canned food shippers. . . the list goes on and on. Ten years earlier New York City had taken over London as the busiest port city in the world and the longshoremen trade (loading and unloading steamships) employed thousands of rough and tumble men.
Divide the Dawn will be released April 2020, but can be pre-ordered HERE.
The longshoremen trade had been dominated in Brooklyn by the Irish since their arrival in the 1840s due to the Great Hunger (commonly known as the potato famine). 95 Navy Street, where Capone was born, was on the outskirts of a neighborhood known as “Irishtown,” just south of the Navy Yard in an outlying Italian Cammora neighborhood.
But Irishtown dominated. It was the location of the Irish White Hand’s headquarters, the Dock Loaders’ Club at 25 Bridge Street. No one could get a job as a longshoremen without checking in the Dock Loaders’ Club. And most Italians had to go south of the Gowanus Canal to work on the docks at the Bush and Grand Army Terminals where Frankie Yale, a Johnny Torrio protege, held court.
As a teen, Capone worked at the Harvard Inn, a bawdyhouse in South Brooklyn’s burgeoning Coney Island, which is where he got his scar and famous nickname, “Scarface.”
Wanting to muscle in on “tribute racket” in North Brooklyn, (tribute is what the White Hand Gang charged all longshoremen to work) Capone and others started talking to stevedore employees, ship captains and pierhouse managers in the White Hand’s territory.
That did not make the Irish happy. According to family sources, Dinny Meehan, leader of
“Pegleg” Lonergan and another on the cover of a Brooklyn newspaper superimposed over the Adonis Social Club (the blood trailing from inside to the curb)
the White Hand, dispatched his deadliest weapon to deal with the invading Italians in the form of Richie “Pegleg” Lonergan.
Pegleg (19 years old in 1919) had lost a leg to a Brooklyn trolley when he was eight. Renowned in Irishtown as a wildly successful fistfighter and a murderer who could kill without emotion, the war was set. Lonergan vs. Capone.
Torrio had moved to Chicago by this time and when he heard that Lonergan and the powerful White Hand were going to kill his most prized protege, he ordered Frankie Yale to send him to Chicago with his tail in between his legs.
Willie Sutton was born and raised in Irishtown. In fact, the opening words of his biography were “Irishtown made me.” Sutton went on to great fame as an ingenious bank robber and public personality. Having grown up in Irishtown, he got the inside scoop concerning the Lonergan vs. Capone rivalry. Below are his words:
“Scarface Al Capone was a member of the (rival) Italian mob, and it was common knowledge in later years that he had gone to
Chicago because the Irish mob played too rough.”
The fact that Capone ran from the Irish in Brooklyn haunted him for many years and in Chicago, he was known as a brutalizer of the Irish (he had Dean O’Banion and others murdered). But he simply could not get over the japes about him running out of Brooklyn from Lonergan. He needed revenge.
In 1925, seeking the best doctors in the country for his son’s surgery, Al Capone came back to Brooklyn. On Christmas Eve, he and some buddies were having a drink at a local bawdyhouse called the Adonis Social Club in South Brooklyn (4th Avenue & 20th Street). Guess who walks in? You got it, Richie “Pegleg” Lonergan and some friends.
Bodies being removed from the Adonis Social Club
Whether Pegleg was lured there, or just came by happenstance is up for debate, but the explosive results are not.
Pegleg and his cohorts were demeaning and shaming the Irish prostitutes that worked in the Italian club. They also were casting racial slurs at the Italian patrons. At some point the lights went out and immediately there were gunshots. When the lights came back on, Pegleg and two others were dead (Lonergan still had a toothpick in his mouth), another was badly wounded. When the police showed up, no one saw a thing, of course.
Capone and others were arrested, but were soon released. And so, vengeance achieved.
♠ “A brilliant story that belongs in the elite company of world-renowned classics like The Godfather, The Maltese Falcon and A Game of Thrones.” (review fromAnticipatience)
“Just as you are getting a feel for this story, a scene occurs that is likely to leave some readers catatonic with shock.” ~Anticipatience Review. From a shortlisted author comes the ultimate in historical crime fiction; endowed with suspense, mystery, horror, adventure, fantasy, surprises. . . Divide the Dawn gifts it all with striking ease.
Through winter’s barren trees the morning moon lurks like a portent of doom. Such is the prophecy of an otherworldly shanachie, or Irish storyteller who appears out of the mist in 1908 Ireland. We are then transported exactly eleven years later to Brooklyn, New York where the Irish-American gang known as “The White Hand” is fast losing sway over the streets. After a snowstorm blankets the city in white, men begin to appear who were thought to have been dead.
A dark action adventure with complicated characters caught in a fascinating period in history.
“Propulsive and affecting, Divide the Dawn is historical fiction with arresting language, yet the narrative hurtles forward with the intensity of a suspense novel.”
Divide the Dawn is a Historical novel with elements of Crime Fiction, Horror, Suspense and Fantasy, but author Eamon Loingsigh (sounds like Lynch) is calling it a Ghost Story.
Author Eamon Loingsigh (sounds like Lynch). Photo by Mitch Traphagen
“The ghosts of the old world haunt the Irish. History, myth, prophecy and even hope colors our forebears’ decisions in 1910s New York to create a character-driven account of the ancestors of 40 million Americans. Don’t be afraid of the dark, it’s there you’ll find the light.”
It is a rare moment indeed when a lie that has been passed as history can be righted. But that is exactly what Black ’47, directed by Lance Daly, has done.
For 171 years a lie persisted, and even though it cannot be fully overcome, at least the healing may begin.
What happened in Ireland from 1845-1852 should never be deemed simply a “famine.” It was no more than a blight on a single crop, the potato. The deep truth, hidden for so long, is that a cold economic program by a colonial power wielded the blight like a weapon against the Irish. To move them off the land. At the heart of this story is the horrific malevolence of the English foreigner and their true intentions to murder and displace millions of innocents.
The enmity, trauma and dismay of the Irish people who suffered the consequence, as well as having to suffer the lies, are represented by the anger in James Frecheville’s seething character “Feeney.” And most importantly, that anger is righteous. Feeney is shown to have destiny on his side when he is utterly fearless as guns are pointed at him. When they misfire, destiny allows him to continue his revenge killings.
Clint Eastwood was never this angry, and never this justified.
Please, please watch this movie. It is now available in Ireland & UK on Netflix.