Inner View: Cleveland Irish Columnist Francis McGarry
OhioIANews: Francis McGarry is currently the President of the Irish American Club Eastside and the Bluestone Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. When asked of his involvement in these organizations and other activities in the community he responded with a quote from George Bernard Shaw. “I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.”
Francis your column is extremely well written and researched; do you have a background in Irish studies?
FM: My college tour was completed with undergraduate degrees in anthropology, education and history from Indiana University. Upon graduation, I spent a year in Mexico and Cuba researching diasporic populations and acculturation. My interests galvanized around resistance and rebellion. The Jose Aponte Rebellion of 1812 was the topic for my Masters at the University of Chicago, I discussed the intersections of race, rebellion and religion in colonial Cuba.
OhioIANews: How did you come to write “Cleveland Irish” column?
FM: Later in life, genealogy filled my idiosyncratic requisite for research. That exploration precipitated general and specific inquiries pertaining to Irish history and the Irish diaspora.
John O’Brien, Jr. and I had multiple conversations about the Cleveland Irish community over dinner. That led to a column in The Ohio Irish American News focused on Irish American and Cleveland Irish history.
OhioIANews: Researching and writing accurate historical articles monthly can be time consuming, why is it important to you to do this?
FM: Writing for the OhioIANews allows me to share narratives that are under-heard and hopefully contribute to a more complete understanding of the Irish.
Francis McGarry holds undergraduate degrees from Indiana University in Anthropology, Education and History and a Masters in Social Science from the University of Chicago. He is an assistant principal and history teacher. Francis is a past president of the Irish American Club East Side. He is the founder and past president of the Bluestone Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.