My Irish Story James Francis Smith, author of The Irish-American Story Series


The grandson of Big John Meehan from Sligo, Mary Ellen McLaughlin-Keane from Galway, Bridget Munnelly from Mayo, and Matthew Smith from Cavan ended up with the least recognized Irish name of them all. I can’t begin to tell you how many times, I’ve been asked, “Smith, huh! English … right?” When I meet up with my ancestor Mac an Gabhann—the one who anglicized our family name to Smith—he and I are going to have words. Even my wife, Elizabeth McCarthy McGinty Smith, would’ve retained her maiden name if such a thing were fashionable when we were wed.

        Before I continue on to the little I’ve accomplished in life, there are a few items from my family history that need emphasizing. The Smith homestead in Beagh Upper, Parish of Upper Killenkere, was “situate” within 200 yards of where General Phil Sheridan was born. And since, my uncles have stated that their grandmother was a Sheridan, well … you do the math. If you have an issue with that, there’s no sense going into the story Big John Meehan told of my Galway-born grandmother being related to a member of Columbus’s crew.

        When I began writing narrative-history, I didn’t plan to write the complete Irish-American Story, it just happened, or it will happen when later this year I add, The Revolutionary War Irish to the series.

        An interest in the Druids and ancient Celts formed into a book when I learned the Celts invaded Rome in circa 500 BCE. This was followed by The Life and Times of Liam O’Donnell: which began as a tale of growing up Irish-Catholic in Philadelphia, then grew to an epic, including the major battles and events of WWII. Since the Liam book needed a companion, I wrote its sequel, Rory O’Donnell and the Kennedys to add the Korean War, Civil Rights, and Vietnam. The Last of the Fenians began as a whimsical tale about the Irish Republican Brotherhood stealing the Titanic’s sister ship; until, I stumbled across the fact that the first-formed Irish Division (the 10th)  fought in Gallipoli. The book then took off on a path of its own through WWI, the Anglo-Irish War, The Treaty, Ulster, ending with Michael Collins’ assassination in the Irish Civil War. As an aside, both my father and my Grandfather Smith were in Ireland during that period. Now I couldn’t let my likely cousin, Phil Sheridan, off easily, therefore; he became one of the main characters in The Civil War’s Valiant Irish. That’s when I realized I wasn’t just writing individual books, but the complete series about Irish-American accomplishments.

        How can you obtain these books? Easy … click on and visit my blog. While there enjoy the 30-plus articles already posted to learn more about Irish accomplishments and contributions to American society. Click on either Kindle or Nook and purchase directly from the blog.

        I used to tell people, “Six months ago, I couldn’t spell author, now I are one.” Truth be told, I evolved from an author into a book peddler.

Maybe that’s why people are purposely avoiding me?

Views: 422

Tags: American Civil War, Diaspora History, Irish Freedom Struggle, Living History, Military History, United States

Comment by Tiffany Silverberg on March 14, 2013 at 10:33am

Hi! Thanks for sharing! Would you leave a link in our Irish Story post so we can help you promote it?

And Don't forget to tell your friends. The story with the most LIKES wins a Photo Package from Irish Homeland Photography!

Comment by James Francis Smith on March 14, 2013 at 6:37pm

Hi Tiffany

The Irish-American StoryI

guess I'm not to bright, telling you all about what's out there but not revealing how to get there.  My blog can be accessed by clicking on

Comment by Gerry Regan on March 15, 2013 at 8:13am

Jim, thank you for sharing this rich history with us. Can you, when time allows, include in the tags, all the place names mentioned within your posts. That'll help us all better connect with place names that figure so importantly in each of our 'Irish stories.'

Comment by Irish Homeland Photography on March 16, 2013 at 3:50pm

Thanks for sharing this, James,

Founding Member
Comment by Maryann Tracy on March 20, 2013 at 2:28pm


I began by reading your recent articles, and I"m not "suffering" one bit, as you suggested. Interesting reading, for sure.


Comment by John G Meehan on September 15, 2013 at 6:30pm

Thanks for sharing, will check back.    Big John Meehan



You need to be a member of The Wild Geese to add comments!

Join The Wild Geese

The Wild Geese Shop

Get your Wild Geese merch here ... shirts, hats, sweatshirts, mugs, and more at The Wild Geese Shop.

Irish Heritage Partnership

Start a Business Today!

Adobe Express:
What will you create today?


Extend your reach with The Wild Geese Irish Heritage Partnership.

Congrats to Our Winners

© 2023   Created by Gerry Regan.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service