“Irish Pittsburgh” author Patricia McElligott speaks April 28

Patricia McElligott, who produced Irish Pittsburgh for Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series, is speaking and showing photos from her book at the Sunday, April 28th meeting of the Catholic Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania.

The event begins 2 p.m. at St. Paul’s Seminary, O’Connor Hall, 2900 Noblestown Road in Crafton.

For those of us far from Western Pennsylvania but with deep Irish and Pittsburgh roots, McElligott has fashioned a must-have pictorial book. As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said in its review:

Many of today’s Irish residents can trace their roots to immigrants fleeing the great potato famine of the mid-1800s. They came to work in the iron and steel mills, mines and railroads, while the women toiled as domestic servants in such large numbers that “Bridget the Maid” became a staple on stage and film. The newcomers settled in the Point, the Hill District, Homewood and the North Side. Combatting anti-Irish and anti-Catholic prejudice, they paved the way for their children who went on to dominate politics and the Catholic Church, also rising to the heights of sports, entertainment and business.

My maternal grandfather, Willie Diggin, was among Pittsburgh’s early 20th century Irish immigrants. He left County Kerry and came to the city in May 1913. He did not achieve fame, but nevertheless established a firm foundation in America for his family and subsequent generations.

Starting May 1, I will explore his life in a 12-day series of blog posts titled “Willie’s Emigration Centennial.” I hope you will please give it a read.