Swampoodle - The Life and Times of Jack Hennessey

Author: P.D. St. Claire
ISBN 978-1-60264-552-3 (softcover);

392 pages

A refugee of the Great Famine, Jack Hennessey lands as an infant in Baltimore in 1848. On the death of his mother in 1864, he moves to Washington, DC, finding work at a saloon in Swampoodle, an Irish slum just north of the Capitol. From here, the story picks up in 1936. Diagnosed with terminal cancer, Jack Hennessey is determined that Hennessey Construction, his life's work, will survive for those he leaves behind, most importantly Paddy Riley, a son in all things excepting blood, and his wife and children. There are flashbacks throughout as Jack Hennessey relives his early years, marked most tragically by the death in 1892 of his wife, Christine, and their only child. On travelling in 1893 to Ireland to spend time with Christine's family, he also travels to the place of his own birth. It is here that he meets an uncle and over the course of a summer comes to a grounding that not only reconciles him to his mother's memory, but also to a clear understanding of who he is and where he belongs, an American in America.


P.D. St. Claire is the pen name of Paul Belford, a Washington DC-based executive recruiter. Made up from the first letters of his children's given name, Peter, David and Claire, he first used it for "Notes from a Passage," a collection of stories that capture the values learned in his early years and later experiences. "You want to be careful about putting your name on a collection of values," was his thinking at the time. "It may incline others to hold you to them."

 A native of Long Island, New York, he has lived in the Washington, DC area since 1968. His great grandfather, Michael Moran, landed in New York harbor in 1850 aboard the "William Hitchock," one the hundreds of 'coffin ships' that evacuated more than a million starving refugees from Ireland during the Great Famine of 1845-52. Michael Moran was later to found the Moran Towing Corporation whose tugboats ply New York harbor to this day.

Paul, a product of Boston College, earned a MA in Economics at Fordham University in the Bronx, New York. Between BC and Fordham, he spent a year teaching economics at Al-Hikma University in Baghdad, Iraq, another Jesuit institution.X

Category: Fiction, Historical

Type: books

Vendor: P.D. St. Claire

Pin It Fancy

Related Items