An Irish-American journalist based in Washington, D.C., I am currently working as editorial director at a national transportation construction industry association, and as a freelance writer, including over 700 posts on this blog since 2012. (Full resume.)
In 1997 I claimed Irish citizenship through my maternal grandparents, both from County Kerry. I have made nine trips to the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and published articles about historic and contemporary issues in newspapers, magazines and websites. I received a Journalism Fellowship from the German Marshall Fund of the United States for a 2001 reporting trip in Ireland.
I am especially interested in the social and political history of Ireland since the Famine, especially in Kerry, and the impact of the Irish in America, particularly my native city of Pittsburgh. I have focused many of my historical investigations on the Land War period of the 1880s. I am also interested in how U.S. and Irish journalists reported this history.
I am a member of the American Journalism Historians Association; the Newspaper and Periodical History Forum of Ireland; and Irish Network-DC. Follow me on social media: Twitter: @markaholan & LinkedIN. (I dropped Facebook.)
In 2013, I self-published His Last Trip: An Irish-American Story, a biography of my emigrant grandfather, who died 18 years before I was born. The 213-page book also explores Kerry’s Lartigue monorail; Ireland’s struggle for independence; the streetcar system and social conditions of Pittsburgh before World War II; and Catholic culture and religious practices in Ireland and the U.S. during the late 19th & early 20th century. It “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 said in a 2018 blog post.
In addition to Carnegie Library, copies of the book are also available at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh; the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Washington, Pa.; and the Archives of Irish America at New York University. In Ireland, the book is on the shelf at the County Kerry Library in Ballybunion, a mile from where my grandfather was born.
In the past, some of my journalism work overlapped with the production of this blog, including stories for Business Journal publications in Tampa and Washington. Today, the blog is independent of my work at the American Road & Transportation Builders Association. Opinions are my own.
Original reporting on this blog, especially related to His Last Trip: An Irish American Story, Willie’s Emigration Centennial, Nora’s Sorrow, Ireland Under Coercion, Revisited, and American Reporting on Irish Independence, 1919-1922, are copyrighted by Mark Holan. © 2019