I am an Irish American journalist and communications professional with dual U.S. and Irish citizenship and passports. I have traveled to the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland 11 times since 2000, including a German Marshall Fund journalism fellowship. I have written freelance articles on Irish history and contemporary issues for newspapers, magazines, and websites; including nearly 1,000 posts on this site since 2012.
I am developing a book on how the American press covered the Irish revolutionary period, 1912-1923. Early iterations of this work can be found in the American Reporting of Irish Independence section, including explorations of work by individual journalists, working bibliography, and links to digitized source material.
I have presented original research at the American Conference of Irish Studies, the American Journalism Historians Association, the Newspaper and Periodical History Forum of Ireland, the Irish Railroad Workers Museum in Baltimore, and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.
His Last Trip: An Irish-American Story is a biography of my Irish immigrant grandfather, who died 18 years before I was born. The 213-page book explores his life against the backdrop of Ireland’s early 20th century fight for independence and the unique Lartigue monorail of his native County Kerry and the streetcar system of Pittsburgh before World War II.
The book “provides a fascinating snapshot of one family’s Irish-American experience and how their lives were shaped by circumstances here and in Ireland,” Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh wrote in a blog post.”Irish Pittsburgh” by Amy Welch, CLP Blog, March 16, 2018. The Catholic Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania wrote, “The author’s meticulous family research presents a rich story of churches, people, and events that readers will recognize and warm to … A true delight to read–even if you’re not Irish.””Book Reviews” by John C. Bates, Esq, in Gathered Fragments, Vol. XXXI, Fall 2021, p. 90.
Copies of the book are available through me or at Carnegie Library and the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh; the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Washington, Pa.; and the Archives of Irish America at New York University. The book is also found at the County Kerry Library in Ballybunion, a mile from my grandfather’s birthplace.
All original research and reporting are copyrighted by Mark Holan, © 2023. Opinions are my own. Follow me on LinkedIN, or use this form below to contact me:
I just came across your blog this morning. I am reading the book by Donnacha Sean Lucey that you refer to on your website. My family also hails from North Kerry near Causeway and Ballyduff. I was raised in northern Ohio, but now live in Fort Myers, FL. Not many people would be interested this book, but it is interesting to me since both of my grandparents owned small plots of land there. I will follow your blog.
Thanks for your message. True, not many people would read the DSL book, but I find the topic of late 19th century agrarian politics & violence interesting, not only because of my North Kerry ancestors, but also because of how the Land War set the stage for the Rising and Independence. Hope you’ll continue to follow the blog. Regards, Mark Holan
On Clerys closing, sad but maybe a sign that we just don’t need to buy so much stuff. Anyway, Merry Bloomsday!
I have just come across your blog as I am in the process of tracing my family history. One of my great great uncles Patrick Tangney was murdered in an ‘outrage’ in Artigallivan Kerry in 1886, he was shot by moonlighters because he was working as a bogman for the ‘landlord’ there is an account of his murder in the London Times and in Hansard which is the daily record of what is said in Parliament.
Just thought you might be interested given one of your family was murdered in the same way
kind regards Brigid
Thanks for the note. Do you know if any of Patrick’s immediate family or relations emigrated from Ireland as the direct result of this ‘outrage?’
Mr. Holan – I enjoyed your column in today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and look forward to reading your blog.
Keep up the good work! Thanks.
We are cousins. My grandfather was Michael Diggin, your grandfather’s brother. Would enjoy the opportunity to chat with you.
Susan, Did you get my email with phone number?
Just a note here from the Lartigue Monorail & Museum here in Listowel. We are planning to commemorate the 130 years early May. (1888 to 2018). We love to hear from people like yourself who keep the history of the Lartigue personal and historical..
Did you get my email?
I’m exploring the blogspot as I recommend it to a friend traveling to the Isle. How exciting it must be to see your book on the library shelf! BRAVO! Congrats on all your diligent research! What a legacy.
A really excellent blog Mark. Have you gone through the recently digitised Irish war of independence pension archive? I recently discovered through it that my grandfather stored RIC Officer William Stanely’s gun in his IRA arms dump after the Feakle ambush. Your blog then filled in the details with great precision, thank you
Thank you very much for all your articles and information. My grandfather left Ballyheigue in 1908 and my grandmother let in 1913. They married in 1920 in Chicago.
I am enjoying your material.
I arrived in Pittsburgh over 40 years ago to take up a scholarship at Pitt.
I never had much contact with American Irish groups in the city during the years I was there as a student. I guess I stayed around Oakland most of the time. I didn’t have a car.
I have been out of the US for a good few years, but I commend you for your work.
(I should have said I arrived in PGH from Dublin)
Very interesting, we researched and thoughtful work, Mr. Holan. I am the great grandson of Dr. John Sheedy. I have been researching my family’s history for several years now, and I am continually discovering new information about the first Sheedys in America. I very much admire your hard work. Bravo!
MR. HOLAN: In your travels, recommend checking out St. Patrick’s Church and Parish in Lexington, VA (Diocese of Richmond); parish for students at VMI and Washington & Lee University; quaint old church. Regards,THOMAS E. DELANEY
Hello Mark. I read your recent article about St. Patrick churches If you travel to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, there is a beautiful St. Patrick’s Church on Elgin St. quite close to Parliament. It was my go-to English speaking curch when I resided there. There is also St. Brigid’s which was for the Irish servants.Someday the Candians might let us back in. Bon voyage!