Brooklyn Boro

New novel examines coming of age in Irishtown, Brooklyn

Brooklyn BookBeat

April 26, 2017 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Eamon Loingsigh. Photo by Alex Resto

In 1916, Ireland — fighting for its independence — erupts with the Easter Rising. The fate of Liam Garrity’s father, an Irish rebel, is unknown, which leaves his mother and two sisters vulnerable on the family farm as British troops swarm, seeking reprisals. Garrity must organize their departure to New York immediately. In Brooklyn, Garrity is adopted by Dinny Meehan, leader of a longshoremen gang based in an “Irishtown” saloon under the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges. Meehan vows to help Garrity and his family. But just as Ireland struggles for independence, Garrity faces great obstacles in his own coming of age on the violent Brooklyn waterfront. World War I, the Spanish Influenza, the temperance movement, the rise of Italian organized crime, police, unions and shipping and dock companies all target the Brooklyn Irish gang and threaten Garrity’s chances at bringing his family to New York. When “Wild Bill” Lovett, one of the gang’s dock bosses vies to take over, both Meehan and Garrity face a fight for survival in New York City’s brawling streets mirroring Ireland’s own fledgling independence movement.

Eamon Loingsigh has long held a great fascination for the history of Irish-Americans in Brooklyn. Reminiscent of “Gangs of New York” and “Brooklyn” but uniquely Loingsigh, “Exile on Bridge Street tells the compelling story of the American-Irish struggle and reveals the forgotten world of old Irishtown.

Journalist/novelist Loingsigh has long held a great fascination for the history of Irish-Americans in New York City. His family emigrated from Ireland in the late 19th century, and his grandfather and great-grandfather ran a longshoreman’s saloon on Hudson Street in Manhattan from 1906 to the late 1970s. Loingsigh studied journalism at University of South Florida.

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Published by Three Rooms Press, Loingsigh’s first novel, “Light of the Diddicoy” precedes “Exile on Bridge Street,” volume two in his Auld Irishtown Trilogy. Eamon has also written a novella and the poetry collection, “Love and Maladies,” in addition to numerous articles on Irish-American history. He lives in Jersey City, N.J.

 


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