Eamonn Wall’s discussion of Irish American Catholic experience reveals many similarities on either side of the pond, and some differences also. The Irish American authors and commentators provide unique perspectives on many facets of Irish life, including the unique role played by the Catholic Church. Among the authors discussed are Frank McCourt, whose account of a poor Catholic childhood in Limerick is so memorably captured in the best-seller, Angela’s Ashes, Colum McCann, Colm Tóibín and Mary Gordon. Similarly, the theologian Richard P. McBrien, journalist and writer Maureen Dezell, and sociologist Andrew Greely combine to illustrate the impact that the Irish Church has had on its American equivalent. Wall maintains that looking towards Ireland from the US, and drawing on American notions of egalitarianism and individual freedom, sometimes allows for a more dispassionate view of Ireland’s Catholic heritage and enables envisaging its future with a far greater clarity than can be achieved when change is all around you.
Eamonn Wall explores the methodology and reach of Robinson’s work. Even though Robinson is not connected to the academy, his work exemplifies the idea of interdisciplinarity. Wall argues that Robinson has moved slowly and respectfully, allowing him to undertake many avenues of inquiry to great effect that continues to remain relevant in Irish Studies.