The Irish in St. Louis: From Shanty to Lace Curtain by Patrick Murphy
It took a long time for St. Louis to embrace its Irish population to the point of throwing two annual St. Patrick’s Day parades. When the first waves of Famine Irish arrived on the landing, the city was appalled by their poverty. Anti-Catholic sentiment sparked bloody riots in which the Irish gave as good as they got. But after seven centuries of British occupation and a devastating famine, nothing would stop them from finding a place in their adopted city.
The story of their assimilation is as complex and multi-faceted as the Irish character itself. The Irish in St. Louis introduces us to priests and gangsters, artists and revolutionaries, entrepreneurs and entertainers. It takes us to the rough and tumble neighborhoods of 19th century Kerry Patch and Dogtown, where immigrants and their children forged paths into the city’s mainstream while preserving their Irish identity.
The Irish in St. Louis explores how that identity was shaped through the process of becoming American. It tells stories that carry us into a time when a people reinvented themselves in a city named for a saint. Each story is a small piece of a puzzle, and together they reveal a picture of the St. Louis Irish experience.
About the Author
Television producer, printmaker, and author Patrick Murphy has spent the past 40 years telling stories of the American heartland. He took a year to visit every corner of Missouri, exploring its Roman Catholic history and culture. His photographs and stories are a delight for readers of all faiths.
Murphy is the author of Candy Men: The Story of Switzer’s Licorice and The irish in St. Louis: From Shanty to Lace Curtain. He and his wife Anne are members of Holy Redeemer parish in the St. Louis suburb of Webster Groves.
Published by Reedy Press, 2022. Hardcover, 192 pages.