The Irish in America

Day 21 of Irish American Favorites: Flannery O’Connor

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“To expect too much is to have a sentimental view of life and this is a softness that ends in bitterness.”

Flannery O’Connor

FlanneryO'ConnorFlannery O’Connor is my favorite American writer, and lucky for my list, she was Irish American! Born on March 25, 1925 in Savannah, Georgia, Mary Flannery O’Connor dropped the “Mary” when she decided to be a writer. She said her name sounded like that of an Irish washerwoman. She wasn’t denying her Irish heritage completely, though. A name like Flannery O’Connor couldn’t be mistaken for anything but Irish.

Mark from the Andalusia Foundation, Inc. (Andalusia was O’Connor’s ancestral home to which she returned and lived from 1951 to her death in 1964) describes O’Connor and her Irish roots in a great blog post – click here. O’Connor’s Irish roots were on both her paternal and maternal sides, and the name Flannery came from neither. It was the name of a cousin’s hued Confederate Army officer, John Flannery.

“If you don’t hunt it down and kill it, it will hunt you down and kill you.”

O’Connor’s short stories are the best I’ve ever read. She draws us into an often unfamiliar and violent world inhabited by peculiar, wonderful, and humorous characters as O’Connor explores the complexities of human nature. I just love those characters. O’Connor was diagnosed with lupus and given five years to live in 1951. She wrote over two dozen short stories, two novels, and many essays and died in 1964, nearly fourteen years later.

“In yourself right now is all the place you’ve got.”

I have learned a great deal from reading Flannery O’Connor, and that’s why she is one of my favorites of Irish America!

Happy Summer Folks!


Author: Aine

I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota. My heritage pretty much covers the map of Ireland: great-great-grandparents from Cork (Crowley, Foley, Regan), a great-great-grandmother from Clare (Quinn), a great-great-grandfather from Fermanagh (McMahon) and his wife's parents from Mayo (McAndrew), a great-grandmother from Connemara (Hannon) married to my great-grandfather from Laois (McCormack), great-grandparents from Sligo (Flannery), and a great-grandmother from Kildare (Hill). All of those people ended up in Minnesota, where my four grandparents were born. Three and four generations after my people left Ireland for America, I retain all Irish heritage. So much for the melting pot...

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