Subject Material

From New York to Limerick and Back

Published: 03.02.2011, Updated: 04.03.2017

Frank McCourt opens his autobiograhpical novel, Angela's Ashes, with a startling statement: "Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood."  To really digest this statement, you should listen to the text below which is based upon his novel Angela's Ashes. Here he recounts his childhood memories from the streets of Limerick, Ireland in the 1930's and early 40's.

Crowded Street in Limerick, Ireland in the 1920sCrowded Street in Limerick, Ireland in the 1920sFrank McCourt (1930 - 2009) was an American Irish writer and teacher. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, during the Depression years. His parents, Angela and Malachy were poor Irish immigrants. As the Depression really took hold, it became impossible for his parents to make a living in the New World, and they had to swallow their pride and return to Limerick, Ireland. Here the McCourts sank even lower into poverty and had to face humiliation and prejudice. Frank's father with his background from Northern Ireland is met with hostility and suspicion in the newly founded Republic and the refuge he seeks in alcohol does not make it any easier. Angela's Ashes (1997) is the story as observed by Frank, about his poverty-stricken family from the early 1930's until Frank returns to the USA as an eighteen year old. It was adapted to film in 2000.

From New York to Limerick and Back, 43:24 

From New York to Limerick and Back, Part One

From New York to Limerick and Back, Part Two