Tag Archives: Best of the Blog

Best of the Blog, 2023

Welcome to my 11th annual Best of the Blog, a roundup of the year’s top work. I appreciate the support of my regular readers, especially email subscribers (Join at right.) and other visitors. This year’s site traffic surpassed 2022 on Dec. 1 and will finish second only to 2020, when COVID quarantine rocketed readership.

BPL reading room.

As aways, I also want to thank the archivists and librarians who assisted my research during the year. 2023 was split between Cambridge, Massachusetts, where my wife finished her Nieman Fellowship, and our return to Washington, D.C. In New England I visited collections at Harvard University, Boston College, Boston Public Library, Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and Colby College in Waterville, Maine. In DC I have made numerous trips to the Library of Congress. The New York Public Library and Kings College London provided remote help with digital scans of requested material. I am always grateful for the easy access to historic newspaper archives provided by Newspapers.com, the Irish Newspaper Archives, and other collections.  Finally, thanks to authors and publishers who have sent me their Irish-related books.


In March I made my eleventh trip to Ireland, the first since before COVID. My wife and I were happy to see our relations in Kerry. We enjoyed St. Patrick’s Day in Kilkenny, which we visited for the first time. In November we flew into the Dublin airport enroute to Brussels and on our return to DC. I enjoyed the airborne views of Ireland but missed having a proper second visit. Hope to get back in 2024.

Dingle Peninsula, March 2023.


This year’s most viewed post explored the history behind an Academy Award-nominated movie:

Two other posts about contemporary events in Ireland also included historical background:


I added a dozen posts to my American Reporting of Irish Independence series, which now totals more than 150 entries since December 2018. I continue to explore this topic as I work toward a book.

This year’s highlights included:

When a boatload of reporters steamed to the Easter Rising (1916)

Arthur Gleason’s ‘inside’ reporting of post-Rising Ireland (1916-17)

Reporter vs. reporter: Ackerman and Grasty in Ireland (1920/21)

Praying and ‘knocking heads together’ to end Irish Civil War (1923)

Killarney National Park, March 2023.



Journalists, historians, authors, researchers, and travelers to Ireland are welcome to offer submissions. Use the contact form on the Guest Posts landing page to make a suggestion.

Kilkenny Castle, March 2023.


More great content in our “BOB” archive:

Best of the Blog, 2021

Welcome to my ninth annual Best of the Blog, a roundup of the year’s work. As always, I am grateful to readers, especially email subscribers and those who share the work on social media.

I also want to thank the librarians and archivists who helped my research. The pandemic kept me from returning to Ireland for the second consecutive year, but I was able to visit the Dioceses of Pittsburgh (Pa.) Archives, and the Catholic University of America Archives and Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

These institutions provided requested digitized material: University of Pittsburgh (Pa.) Archive Service Center; Special Collections Research Center at Syracuse (N.Y.) University Libraries; Archdioceses of Baltimore (Md.) Archives; New York City (N.Y.) Public Library; Memphis (Tenn.) Public Library; Johnstown (Pa.) Area Heritage Association, Cambria County (Pa.) Library, and Dioceses of Altoona (Pa.); Princeton (N.J.) University Special Collections Library; National Library of Ireland, Dublin; and Trinity College Dublin. Apologies if I’ve missed any organizations.

Thanks again for visiting the site, and best wishes for the holiday and 2022. MH

Centenary series:

I added 30 posts to my American Reporting of Irish Independence centenary series, which explores journalism and the Irish revolutionary period, mostly from this side of the Atlantic. This year’s highlights of 1921 included:

  • Posts about the American Committee for Relief in Ireland, including two U.S. delegation visits to Ireland, and the U.S. tour of an Irish White Cross leader.
  • U.S. mainstream and Irish-American press coverage of the truce, treaty, and partition of Northern Ireland.
  • A 10-part “revisited” series on the book, A Journey in Ireland, 1921.

Freelance work & presentations:

I published five pieces on five websites beyond this blog:

Cardinal Gibbons

  • A sixth piece is accepted by a U.S. state history magazine for publication in 2022.

I made two virtual presentations:

  • June 2: American Conference for Irish Studies, “Irish Diaspora Witness Statements at the American Commission on Conditions in Ireland.” See my Nov. 15, 2020, story for the Irish Diaspora Histories Network.
  • March 20: Irish Railroad Workers Museum (Baltimore), “Cardinal Gibbons and Ireland.” See my story for the Catholic Review (Baltimore), linked above the photo of Gibbons.

Five other favorites:

Guest posts:

Contributions are welcome. Use the contact form on the Guest Posts landing page, or message me on Twitter at @markaholan.

The archives:

Annual “Best of the Blog” posts since 2013, plus my (almost) monthly roundup of contemporary Irish news, “Catching up with modern Ireland,” are available in the Roundups section.