Garrity, who writes for Sports Illustrated, travels to Ireland to see where his great-grandfather came from. The ancestral home site is now, it turns out, home to a new golf course.
Garrity also goes to Scotland, where some of his mother’s ancestors came from.
In the end, Garrity explores how his family – as well as Ireland – was literally and metaphorically shaped by the game of golf.
($24.95 / 292 pages / New American Library)
Angels in My Hair
The author says she has seen angels since she was a young child growing up poor in Ireland. Not surprisingly, many people believed young Lorna had mental problems.
These days, however, people seek her out for guidance or comfort, or to even see if they can contact a deceased loved one.
Along the way we also learn that Lorna, despite being poor and ostracized, found the love of her life, a blessing which was ultimately ended by tragedy.
Suffice to say, “Angels in my Hair” is not for everyone. Some may find the mystical qualities of the book hard to take. But if you miss Roma Downey as an angel, Lorna Byrne might just make a fine substitute.
($24.95 / 303 pages / Doubleday)
Bond of Union
There was once a saying – you need four things to build a canal: a pick, a shovel, a wheelbarrow and an Irishman.
The leading champion of the canal was New York governor DeWitt Clinton, the product of a famous Scotch Irish political dynasty. For a while, as the canal project dragged on, it was called “Clinton’s folly.” But once completed, commercial activity exploded, helping make young America a powerful nation.
($28 / 480 pages / DaCapo)
The product of a large Irish Catholic family from Chicago’s south side, Houlihan is perhaps best known for the “Hooliganism” column he wrote for The Irish American News. These yarns, all gathered in this collection (fittingly titled “Hooliganism”), venture from Houlihan’s days as an actor and bar owner in Rockaway Beach, New York, to his experiences as a father and husband.
Filled with his trademark wit, “Hooliganism” is a fine collection from a classic Irish-American raconteur.
($25 / 216 pages / Dog Ear Publishing)
Joe Queenan’s at times hilarious, at times wrenching memoir
“Closing Time” explores his painful Irish Catholic upbringing in Philadelphia, during which his father often abused young Joe and his siblings so severely they eventually wanted him to die.
Queenan also explores how he gravitated to the writer’s life, in this memoir, which deftly balances life’s beauty and horror.
($26.95 / 352 pages / Viking)