Jack Cashman will present a program on his book, “An Irish Immigrant Story,” at 2 p.m. this Sunday, Aug. 18 at the Old Town Museum.

According to Cashman, “An Irish Immigrant Story” is an historical fiction work that covers three significant events in recent Irish history.

“It’s the story of a typical Irish family that immigrated to America, the de reception they received, and the struggles they faced,” said Cashman. “Many accounts are taken from my own family’s history. My ancestors landed on Deer Island in Boston Harbor, a place that has been lately the subject of reporting in the Irish Echo. Their story of the prejudices they had to overcome were common to most Irish families who came to America in that era.”

Cashman adds the book is a story about the poverty and hunger that drove Irish peasants out of their county, the tragedy that was the Great Hunger, plus its aftermath which should be better understood, not just by those of Irish decent, but by all.

“It’s also a story about a great country’s drive for independence,” added Chasmn.: “The first country to break away from British control was the United States. The second was Ireland.”

What has been referred to as the “Great Hunger” that accompanied the Irish potato the Irish potato famine in the late 1840s resulted in a mass emigration out of Ireland with over one million immigrants arriving in America.


Those who escaped the great hunger left the country to find a better life someplace else. During this period, the Irish made up fifty percent of the immigrants coming to America. As former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell points out in the foreword to “An Irish Immigrant Story,” America has a long and unfortunate history of poor treatment of ethnic groups who have immigrated to our great nation.

The Irish immigrants of the mid-1800s were certainly not an exception to this history. In the book  you will read the story of Joahanna Cashman and John McCarthy, who immigrated to American to escape a devastating hunger.

They left behind family members who faced starvation to come to a land that would give them a new opportunity for a good life. There were soon made aware that they were not welcome in this new land and that every day would present a new struggle for survival.

Johanna and John got married, determined to raise a family in their adopted country. In spite of all the obstacles they encountered, including John’s untimely death, the family grew and found success. The second generation, their sons, John and Thomas, used their success to lend assistance to the country their parents were forced to leave during Ireland’s drive for independence.

They were joined in this effort by their uncle Patrick, as well as other Boston Irish. This historical novel brings the reader through the story of a family that overcomes adversity to thrive in America. At the same time, it details the movement in the country they left to find its own independent place in the world.

The book also details some of the events in the life of a great American sports figure who was a hero to the Irish people when they really needed a hero.

John L. Sullivan is regarded as the first undisputed heavyweight boxing champion of the world. He was the son of Irish immigrants, and he made no secret of his support for an independent Ireland..

“Irish people have overcome a great deal in their history. There is much in which we can take pride, and this book, readers be assured, was written with great pride,” said Cashman.

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