Recovering an Irish Voice from the American Frontier

The Prose Writings of Eoin Ua Cathail

Edited by Patrick J Mahoney

978-1-57441-827-9 Cloth
6 x 9 x 0 in
288 pp. 19 b&w illus. Notes.
Pub Date: 04/26/2021


  • Cloth $24.95 s
Selected as a Book of the Year by Irish language magazine Comhar, 2021.

Recovering an Irish Voice from the American Frontier is a bilingual compilation of stories by Eoin Ua Cathail, an Irish emigrant, based loosely on his experiences in the West and Midwest.
The author draws on the popular American Dime Novel genre throughout to offer unique reflections on nineteenth-century American life. As a member of a government mule train accompanying the U.S. military during the Plains Indian Wars, Ua Cathail depicts fierce encounters with Native American tribes, while also subtly commenting on the hypocrisy of many famine-era Irish immigrants who failed to recognize the parallels between their own plight and that of dispossessed Native peoples. These views are further challenged by his stories set in the upper Midwest.

His writings are marked by the eccentricities and bloated claims characteristic of much American Western literature of the time, while also offering valuable transnational insights into Irish myth, history, and the Gaelic Revival movement. This bilingual volume, with facing Irish-English pages, marks the first publication of Ua Cathail’s work in both the original Irish and in translation. It also includes a foreword from historian Richard White, a comprehensive introduction by Mahoney, and a host of previously unpublished historical images.

Published by University of North Texas Press