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The American Irish: A Report from Great Ireland

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image of International Journal of Comparative Sociology
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Somewhere in the Icelandic saga of Eric the Red, that marvelous character (and himself seven-eighths Irish, no doubt) sails beyond Iceland and beyond Greenland to a place which he refers to as "Great Ireland," a great land across the sea, already inhabited by Irish monks. If we are to take Eric the Red at his word - and, of course, we must - then substantially after the Holy Navigator Brendan and considerably before Christopher Columbus there was an Irish settlement somewhere on the North American mainland. Serious scholars will tell you that Great Ireland, if it existed at all, was probably in Newfoundland or Nova Scotia; but those of us who really understand such things know better. Great Ireland was either Queens in New York or Cook County in Illinois.


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