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How it all began…

Ireland on the eve of the Great Famine. Billy Gogan’s father has just died in a British prison, and Billy has been cast from cousin Seamus’s house and forced to make his way to America. Billy and his traveling companions, a destitute Irish peasant woman named Máire and her daughter Fíona, endure the harsh passage to Gotham, America’s greatest city. Their ship nearly founders during a great storm and later is forced to pick her way through a great forest of icebergs…

Meet the Characters

Billy Gogan

In 1915, at the age of 85, Brevet Major General William P. Gogan, USA (ret.), dictated his memoir of his youthful adventures to a beautiful woman with a fair hand.

Niall P. Gogan

Billy Gogan’s father, dead from gaol fever in Richmond Gaol, where he was imprisoned by the hated Sassenagh for daring to dream of Irish independence.

Mr. MacGowan

A short man dressed head-to-toe in a quite funereal black who visits St. Patrick’s School on the day Billy Gogan is “sent down” from school. He seems to dislike Billy Gogan very much. “MacGowan” means “son of the smith,” which is similar to the meaning of the English name, “Smith.” In the 19th century it was not unusual for Irish with the surname “MacGowan” who were emigrating to England or America to adopt the name “Smith” so as to hide their Irish roots.

Evelyn O’Creagh

Billy Gogan’s cousin and the only daughter of Seamus O’Creagh, who has sent his colleen bawn to finishing school in England and aspires to have her marry well. Evelyn has given up the Irish name she was born with, “Eibhlin,” and wishes to be known by the anglicized form, “Evelyn.” She is the first girl to ever kiss Billy.

Father O’Muirhily

Billy Gogan’s Latin and Greek master at St. Patrick’s. He wants Billy to join the Church and fight for Irish independence as a powerful prelate.

Mary Skiddy

A young widow from Skibbereen fleeing eviction from the only home she has ever known. Christened “Máire,” she too has anglicized her name to get along better in the New World.

Fíona Skiddy

Mary’s daughter, whom Billy Gogan teaches to read.

Magee

A former pugilist, and rising star in Tammany Hall politics. Magee runs the most famous stepping ken in the Five Points, where the music is played with teas.

Bill Tweed

A young man on the make, some years before he becomes the Boss Tweed of Tammany Hall.

Black Muireann O’Marran

A widow who runs a riding academy. Her dead husband gave Magee his start in the saloon business.

Brannagh O’Marran

Muireann’s only daughter, and the person most precious to her in all the world.

Explore the World of Billy Gogan

Interesting Facts
& Information

Here you will find some amazing information related to the adventures of Billy Gogan. Billy Gogan’s adventure traverses multiple continents and introduces many local exotic places. Click on links to the right to discover some amazing facts about this wonderful story.

Billy Gogan
American

An Gorta Mór

The Great Hunger

Cecil Woodham-Smith, in her 1962 masterpiece, The Great Hunger, Ireland 1845-1848, sets the stage as well as anyone for the great tragedy that befell Ireland in the mid-1840s: “The potato of the mid-nineteenth century…

 

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Mexican American War

The Struggle

In the United States, the Mexican-American War is half-forgotten and yet seminal, driven by expansionism and a sense of Anglo-Saxon superiority over all other peoples.  Whether to go to war…

 

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The Repeal Year

A Forlorn Hope

To put it bluntly, Daniel O’Connell’s quixotic attempt in 1842-43 to obtain greater independence for Ireland from Britain’s suzerainity was doomed to failure from the start. That O’Connell’s 1843 campaign did not end  …

 

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The Five Points

America's first slum

The Five Points was America’s first great slum, and by the mid-1840s it had become the most notorious slum in the world, aided in no small part by Charles Dickens’s American Notes for General Circulation, which was published …

 

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  • Chance of Survival 65%
  • Will He Find Fiona & Maire 78%
  • Will You Love This Book 99%

Miles Traveled

People Met

Years

Author

Roger J. Higgins

Roger J. Higgins and his wife reside in Chicago, Illinois, and they are immensely proud of their four children, one of whom is a serving U.S. Marine, and one of whom is Marine turned police officer (happily married to a wonderful high school chemistry and biology teacher).  Their daughter is a nurse, and she and her husband (a retired Coast Guard officer) are the proud parents of a baby boy.  Their youngest son is an aspiring doctor.  As Mrs. Higgins has patiently observed to her husband when he ruminates about the trials and tribulations of raising children, it was together that they went four-for-four with their children, hitting safely at every at-bat.  Not a bad day in the batter’s box…

 

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