Mary & Anna Lonergan

There are many characters in the Auld Irishtown trilogy, quite a few of them areMole female, and of great importance, such as Sadie Meehan (nee Leighton), Emma McGowan and Mary & Anna Lonergan.

Mary is mother of Anna and Richie “Pegleg” Lonergan, a leader of a teenage gang in Brooklyn’s Irishtown during World War I. Mary is in the terrible position of needing to feed her large family, since her husband is mostly a drunk, and wanting to do the right thing. With fifteen children, however, her need outweighs her want.

Quote from Light of the Diddicoy:

“Best chance we got, the gangs. Always has been fer our like.” ~Mary Lonergan

Between Dinny Meehan (the White Hand Gang‘s leader) and Bill Lovett (who wants to take power), there is a deadly game for Richie’s loyalty and all of the teenagers that follow him.

(Listen to: The Story of Irishtown)
Richie

Mugshot: Richie “Pegleg” Lonergan

Mary, being wise of the violent ego of gangsters, cautions Richie not to choose sides. Young Anna on the other hand, beautiful and sought after, decides on her own that Lovett is who her brother should follow. Not because Lovett is a good man or that he would help pull the Lonergan family out of the poverty they seem stuck in, but because she sees and recognizes in him a terrible cruelty. A cruelty for which she is all too aware of, living in Brooklyn during World War I. That he is a dealer in cruelties, not a recipient, is what most influences her hard pragmatism for which she foresees that one day he’ll lead the gang.

Annie

Actual picture of Anna Lonergan in her 40s or 50s (thank you Laurie Taylor)

Mary, however, is striving to live a legitimate life and wants to open a bicycle shop on Bridge Street with all the bikes Richie has stolen. One day when Richie is about to fistfight a White Hand Gang member, Meehan sees an opportunity and offers to pay for the opening of the bicycle shop if Richie wins the fight.

Lovett, who grew up close to the Lonergan family, can only stand by and watch.

Daughter Anna may be young and beautiful, but she does not possess the innocence, shame and naiveté of a teenage girl in an Edna O’Brien novel. Although, she is a victim of the “terrible curse” of being yet another sacrificial female in a time of unacknowledged sexism. But Anna is as cruel as she is attractive. And with a viper’s tongue, a strong opinion that won’t be ignored or chalked up as emotionalism, she is a force to be reckoned with.

Final Diddicoy cover

The first two books in the Auld Irishtown trilogy are: Light of the Diddicoy (above) & Exile on Bridge Street (right).

Mother Mary, having lost multiple children to malnutrition and the Spanish Influenza, as well as a victim of her husband’s drunken abuse, does all she can as her children are sucked into the world of Irish-Exile book coverAmerican gangs. Though it’s not her fault, since there are no other options, she is tormented just the same.

 

 

 

 

 

Watch a video trailer of Exile on Bridge Street:

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About eamonblog

I am Eamon Loingsigh, author of the Auld Irishtown trilogy. The first book in the trilogy is "Light of the Diddicoy," which was published by Three Rooms Press St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 2014. The second is "Exile on Bridge Street," also published by Three Rooms Press, October, 2016. This blog is mostly concerned with the books and the history of Brooklyn, the Irish-Americans and the gangs of Brooklyn and New York. I have also written lots of other stuff, namely two other books, the first called, "An Affair of Concoctions" and the book of poetry, "Love and Maladies." There are also articles sprinkled around the internet about anything from the anarchist movement of the Spanish Civil War to the French Symbolists of late 1800s Paris to the Irish Famine. With a degree in journalism and a passion for writing, there are lots of topics I have covered. To get in touch, send an email to: eamonloingsigh@gmail.com. Oh by the way, my last name is pronounced "Lynch." Eamon Loingsigh
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