Your Untold Family Stories

Family stories are precious. They’re also too often untold. Worse, untrue. In the historical novel Divide the Dawn (2019), which takes place in 1919 (and Light of the Diddicoy & Exile on Bridge Street), I see each of the characters’ story as shedding light on old lies, or unearthing the forgotten. Better yet, remembering the difficult decisions they had to make to ensure you would have a chance at a better lifeLandscape.

In my research, I kept the original names for many of the characters. Their stories too, are based on actual events gleaned from arrest records, newspaper articles, death certificates, marriage certificates. . .

They were actual human beings with their own worries, or bad habits, haunted by the old country, hiding what scared them with a strong sense of humor, a drinking problem, or a deeply caring grandfather who feels helpless to protect his pregnant daughter, a war veteran with shell shock, a mother with undiagnosed mental issues, a predatory man in gmomhis 20s who seeks out virgins, a boy who had his leg cut off by a trolley and is essentially catatonic, a woman with a burn scar because her husband threw boiling grease across her face, a man who was banished to the shadows who sees angels, a girl who survived the Spanish Influenza and became a medical case study and even a character who is deeply MyBooks2concerned that he’ll be remembered for something he did not do.

These are not just stories about people who are dead. They are family stories. They are your family stories. Because we don’t know everything that happened concerning our ancestors, I have always felt as though the past is not fixed. It is moving.  It breathes and is still alive. And it’s so exciting.

Eamon

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Novel: Divide the Dawn

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Liam Garrity looks back to when he was an immigrant gang member in Brooklyn in the 1910s (art by Guy Denning)


Divide the Dawn
will be the third book published in the AULD IRISHTOWN trilogy, but that does not mean it should be the third book you read (what?). It is being called the Epic Foreclusion of the trilogy, which means that it begins before and resolves the other books, Light of the Diddicoy & Exile on Bridge Street.

Divide the Dawn is the Magnum Opus of the trilogy.

Designed differently than any other trilogy, Divide the Dawn envelopes the other books and can be read FIRST.

Divide the Dawn is currently in the research and draft process, so there is still time! to read the other books (click on their titles above). We are expecting a 2019 publication, at the earliest.

Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 12.19.25 PMIn the meantime, you can check out some cool character art & bios by clicking HERE.

There is also a Facebook page for
Divide the Dawn, HERE.

Divide the Dawn has elements of Historical Fiction, Suspense, Crime Fiction and Fantasy, but author Eamon Loingsigh (sounds like Lynch) is calling it a Ghost Story.

“The ghosts of the old world, and the difficult experiences all MyBooks2immigrants have had in coming to America, haunts the first generation. But for the Irish in New York the trauma of The Great Hunger (potato famine) lasted many generations. Ancient, Medieval and modern Irish history along with myths are combined with actual historical events of the 1910s to make a fascinating series about the ancestors of 40 million Americans.”

~Eamon Loingsigh

Get your copies of Light of the Diddicoy & Exile on Bridge Street now!

https://www.amazon.com/Eamon-Loingsigh/e/B00J4VO3Y0/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1526941409&sr=8-1

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Dinny Meehan – Auld Irishtown

Dinny Meehan – Character in the Auld Irishtown trilogy

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Dinny Meehan, leader of the gang known as The White Hand (art by Sebastian MacLaughlin).

“Eyes green in the enveloped saloon light of amber and black. A child’s eyes. An ancient’s eyes. Sometimes I wonder if he ever really did exist, Dinny Meehan. I even doubt it at times, it was so long ago that all this passed. But there he is in my thoughts.”
~Liam Garrity

Dinny Meehan (b. 1889) is the leader of the White Hand Gang whose motives, origins and existence is shrouded by the veil of Irishtown’s Code of Silence. Some claim he is of gypsy blood, some call him a working class hero while storytellers describe him as a Demiurge, and speak of how he was summoned by pre-Christian prayer to bring back “the auld ways from the aulden days” to care for the survivors of Ireland’s Great Hunger who founded Irishtown in the 1840s. What is known is that he has never lost a fistfight, draws inspiration from the past and has never been seen eating or sleeping and seems to have no concept of time. His father came to New York in 1847 as an “exiled child” from County Clare, Ireland. His uncle was Red Shay Meehan, leader of a West Manhattan gang called The Potashes. But by 1900, Dinny’s family was decimated by the Hudson Dusters, forcing him to flee to Brooklyn as an eleven year-old with his dying father. According to The Gas Drip Bard, a storm came at dawn and capsized the ferry they were in, and young Dinny drowned keeping his father afloat. Somehow the boy was brought back to life and by 1912, Dinny had organized all the Irish-American gangs on the Brooklyn waterfront to join him in overthrowing the King of Irishtown, gold-toothed larrikin Christie Maroney.


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Get your copies: Click the hyperlinks on the titles to the right.

Light of the Diddicoy By the time Liam Garrity picks up the story, it is 1915 and the gang is under attack by many elements; big businesses, the Italian Black Hand, the law, the longshoremen’s union and revolt from within his gang. Liam sees that Dinny is cunning and shrewd, and yet the gang leader spends all of the profits he earns on the poor and needy of Irishtown. When news breaks of the 1916 Easter Rising, Dinny has ideas of his own for an uprising in Brooklyn. In a stroke of genius, The White Hand ferociously strikes against all of its enemies at once in multiple attacks and takes back power in Brooklyn during the Donnybrook in Red Hook.
Exile on Bridge Street
Although the gang again is in power, Dinny cannot seem to stop time as the White Hand is one of the last powerful street gangs in New York. Again the gang’s enemies assemble against him when one of his dockbosses, Wild Bill Lovett, joins forces with Jonathan G. Wolcott of the New York Dock Company in revolt against him, seceding from the gang and taking the profitable Red Hook territory. Vulnerable, Dinny finds out his childhood friend Tanner Smith backstabbed him and his righthand The Swede attempted suicide. Again though, Dinny outsmarts everyone by making a three-way pact with the International Longshoreman’s Association and the Italian Black Hand and violently puts down the revolt. Charged with murder, Lovett agrees to a plea that sends him to the Army and World War I where he dies in combat. Dinny then replaces Lovett in Red Hook with his prodigious cousin Mickey Kane and robs a local shoe factory after an Irishtown child dies with one shoe on his foot, passing out boots to all the poor Irish families. But by 1919 Dinny is furthered weakened. The gang has lost many members to the Great War, the Spanish Influenza, coal shortages and worsening poverty. During the Storm of Slanting Snow, Lovett mysteriously resurfaces in Brooklyn and has Dinny’s cousin Mickey murdered, touching off a horrific gang war and a blood feud with Lovett.

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Mickey Kane – Auld Irishtown

Mickey Kane – Character in the Auld Irishtown trilogy

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The heinous murder of Mickey Kane precipitates a blood feud and gang war (art by Thomas Kerr).

“It must have been Dinny’s plan from the start. Mickey is Dinny’s last surviving family member loyal to him. Tall and powerfully built with a big head of blond hair, he follows Dinny’s orders closely. Mickey Kane is blood. His mother’s blood, and many of us feel as though one day Mickey will replace The Swede at his right side. Dinny’s most-trusted.”
~Liam Garrity

Mickey Kane (1894-1919) was the cousin of White Hand leader Dinny Meehan, and the gang’s golden boy before being horrifically murdered when Wild Bill Lovett resurfaced in Brooklyn during the Storm of Slanting Snow.  Tall, muscular and dauntless, he was an accomplished bareknuckle boxer as many in Brooklyn spoke of him as being a “fair scrapper, brisk fighter.” A cousin on Dinny Meehan’s mother’s side, Mickey was spared the wrath of the The Hudson Dusters of Greenwich Village, who decimated the Meehan family in the late 1890s, forcing eleven year-old Dinny Meehan and his dying father to flee to Brooklyn in 1900. After Meehan became King of Brooklyn’s Irishtown in 1912, he called for his eighteen year-old prodigy cousin and mentored him in preparation to one day become his righthand.


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Get your copies: Click the hyperlinks on the titles to the right.

Light of the Diddicoy
In 1916, Meehan convinces Lovett to take Mickey in as his righthand in the Red Hook Terminal. Kane took part in the Donnybrook in Red Hook when the White Hand gang took back power on the Brooklyn waterfront.
Exile on Bridge Street
In 1917, after Tanner Smith backstabbed Meehan and the White Hand gang, Kane accompanied his cousin back to their old neighborhood, Greenwich Village, Manhattan. The two of them beat members of The Marginals and confronted Smith, battering him as well and banishing him from the underground. After putting down a revolt and sending Lovett to World War I, Kane became dockboss of the profitable Red Hook Terminal. In 1919 when Meehan, The Swede, Vincent Maher and Lumpy Gilchrist were arrested for robbing the Hanan & Sons shoe factory, Kane and Cinders Connolly were left in charge at the Dock Loaders’ Club. But Kane became anxious and went back down to Red Hook during a terrible snow storm where Lovett mysteriously came back from the dead and had him killed, starting a ferocious gang war and blood feud.

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Bill Lovett – Auld Irishtown

Bill Lovett – Character in the Auld Irishtown trilogy

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Summoned from the dead, the Black Hand sarcastically calls Bill Lovett “Pulcinella” because he looks like a crazy clown of Italian classical lore (art by Sebastian MacLaughlin)

“Ya know Richie, people talk. And they’re sayin’ one day the gang could be all Lovett’s. Can ya imagine the take fer us if ya was his righthand? Like the Romans we’d live! But that Bill Lovett’s a wild one.”
~Mary Lonergan


Bill Lovett
(b. 1894), also known as Wild Bill or Pulcinella, was killed in combat in World War I, but during the Storm of Slanting Snow, he resurfaced in Brooklyn and had Mickey Kane murdered, sparking a gang war for leadership of the White Hand. He is a violent drunk who carries a loaded .45 caliber, has a soft spot for animals (killed a man for pulling a cat’s tail), and hates the Italians that live in the dock territory he runs. In the early 1900s, Lovett was the leader of the Jay Street Gang that paid tribute to Christie Maroney. In 1912 Lovett (along with many other gang leaders) struck a deal with Dinny Meehan and allowed one of his followers, Pickles Leighton, to accompany him in shooting Maroney in the streets of Brooklyn. But during the trial for Maroney’s murder, Pickles was the only one convicted. Rightfully blaming Meehan, Lovett swallowed his pride and took over as dockboss in the profitable Red Hook Terminal under Meehan’s White Hand gang, but decided to keep Pickles as his man inside of Sing Sing to one day supply him with paroled soldiers in a revolt against Meehan.


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Get your copies: Click the hyperlinks on the titles to the right.

Light of the Diddicoy
Realizing the importance of ruling Sing Sing, Meehan had his righthand man McGowan plead guilty to a charge in order to kill Pickles in Sing Sing, in what became known as the War for the Inside. But Lovett paid a screw (prison guard) through Pickles to beat McGowan to death in his cell, winning the proxy war and creating a tense relationship with his gang boss, Meehan. After the gang took back power on the Brooklyn docks during the Donnybrook in Red Hook, Meehan sought to weaken Lovett and pinned the death and destruction on Lovett’s righthand Non Connors.
Exile on Bridge Street
When Connors is arrested, Lovett makes an alliance with New York Dock Company president, Jonathan G. Wolcott and plays a game of tug-of-war with Meehan over the loyalty of Richie Lonergan‘s crew. In 1917, Lovett has Lonergan murder Meehan’s enforcer Tommy Tuohey and together they secede from the White Hand gang in Red Hook, with Wolcott providing extra protection. Paranoid of a Meehan attack, Lovett goes on a drunken binge while Lonergan’s family life becomes tumultuous after his six year-old brother dies. Meehan makes a pact with the International Longshoreman’s Association and the Italian Black Hand, who send an assassin to Red Hook to kill Lovett. But Lovett survives and kills the assassin, yet is charged with murder and reaches a plea, which forces him to sign up with the Army’s 77th Infantry Division. In France during World War I, it is reported Lovett was killed in combat. His death causes of his followers to lose hope such as his biggest supporters Anna Lonergan and Darby Leighton. Shockingly, Lovett resurfaces in Brooklyn and gives Lonergan his .45 to kill Mickey Kane, Meehan’s cousin, starting a blood feud and gang war for control of the Brooklyn waterfront.

 

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Liam Garrity – Auld Irishtown

Liam Garrity – Character in the Auld Irishtown trilogy

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Liam Garrity tells this story as an old man, but this depiction is of him as a teen in 1915. (art by Guy Denning)

“I wobble back to my typewriter, pencil and papers and look out the window over the harbor where I spent the breadth of my life. And I think of the man who taught me about that great harbor. And taught me to be a man too. His name was Dinny Meehan. The leader and the spirit of all us who ran with him back in our day. A great ghost of our past, was he, there always to remind us that to create is to truly rule.”
~Liam Garrity

Liam Garrity (b. 1901, County Clare, Ireland) also known as Poe or The Thief of Pencils, is one of the youngest members of the early 1900s Irish-American gang, The White Hand. He is the narrator of this story, which chronicles his treacherous journey in becoming the last shanachie of Irishtown. Inheriting an ancient oral storytelling tradition, he breaks the mold and vows to record what he witnessed: The fulfillment of an ancient prophecy that came to pass while he fought to survive in Brooklyn’s Irishtown.


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Get your copies: Click the hyperlinks on the titles to the right.

Light of the Diddicoy 
In October of 1915, Liam is sent away from Ireland by his father to work with his uncle Joseph on the docks of Brooklyn. There, he experiences many setbacks when his belongings are stolen on the ship and quickly becomes homeless in Brooklyn after his uncle puts him out. When Vincent Maher finds Liam on the streets, the boy is starved and desperate, and takes him to the wake of Charles McGowan, gang leader Dinny Meehan‘s righthand man. Cared for by Sadie Meehan, he eventually is given work and initiated into the White Hand gang that controls longshore labor. To return the favor of helping him bring his mother and sisters to America, Meehan wants Liam’s uncle murdered.
Exile on Bridge Street
Having been punched and bullied by Petey Behan, Meehan forces Liam to challenge Behan to a fistfight in order to save his honor. Loyal to Meehan, Liam looks up to the man who dedicates his life to the families of the survivors of the Great Hunger who settled Irishtown in the 1840s. But Liam sees gang members and friends murdered, others drafted and perish in World War I while their territory and incomes erode and his binge drinking becomes alarming. When Liam’s mother and sisters finally arrive from Ireland, he realizes he is in great danger. As the gang weakens, five major elements work against them: big businesses, the longshoremen union, Black Hand Italians, the law and revolt from within the gang. During the Storm of Slanting Snow in 1919, Wild Bill Lovett mysteriously resurfaces after having thought to have died, and murders Meehan’s cousin Mickey Kane, which will cause a bloody gang war, diminishing their power even further. But Liam has only scratched the surface of the meaning of it all when he hears The Gas Drip Bard tell a small portion of a prophecy the old storyteller describes as: “A song to divide the dawn, it’s called, ‘The Keening Croon and the Rising of the Moon.'”

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Mam Garrity – Auld Irishtown

Mam Garrity – Character in the Auld Irishtown trilogy

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Mrs. Garrity, known as “Mam” has lost so much of what she created.

“May trouble always be a stranger to ye. Take this Saint Christopher. Put it in yer pocket and touch it when ye please. Ye’ll be grand with it.”
~Mam Garrity

Mam Garrity (b. 1878, County Clare, Ireland) is a mother caught between Ireland and New York who has lost so much of what she created: Two of her children died young, another was beaten by British soldiers and yet another seemingly lost to the streets of Brooklyn. She is closest to her two daughters, Abby and Brigid. Her husband is an Irish rebel who disappeared after the 1916 Easter Rising. Beforehand, she watched her son Liam off to New York to secure passage for America. But with British retribution for the Irish rebellion and World War I creating a blockade, she and her two daughters could not go until 1918. Leaving her eldest son Timothy on the farm, they moved into a humble but clean tenement. Now though, she sees that the gang violence of Brooklyn has changed her teenage son Liam for the worst and fears what price the family must pay for what he had to do to bring them to New York.


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Get your copies: Click the hyperlinks on the titles to the right.

Light of the Diddicoy 
In 1915, Mrs. Garrity is crying in the doorway of the family farm in Ireland and gives Liam a Saint Christopher for safe travel. Liam describes the moment as his mother giving him an “American Wake,” believing it quite possible that they would never see each other again.
Exile on Bridge Street
After sending letters back and forth from Ireland to New York, she and her two daughters finally make the trip in steerage class. They are met at Ellis Island by Liam, who she has not seen in over three years. Liam and Harry Reynolds take them to Brooklyn in a tugboat. She is proud that Liam and Harry renovated a room in anticipation of their arrival. Noticing that Liam is in danger, she fears for what he has had to do to survive on the streets. She overhears The Bard of Irishtown tell the story of Dinny Meehan, who murdered a man to become a gang leader, and knows that her son is mixed up with the killer in the story.

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