American Irish Society Celebrates 40th Anniversary

By Bonnie Carroll

Members of the American Irish Historical Society (founded in 1897 in New York) Santa Barbara California Branch hosted a celebration of forty years of events with the sale of a new book following a March 9th lecture by Professor Enda Duffy on “The Irish/Gaelic language its Near-disappearance, its Revival, its future” at the Santa Barbara Club on Chapala Street in Santa Barbara, which was followed by a fine wine and hors d’ oeuvre gathering. 

Organization President Frank McGinty was the Emcee for the evening and introduced Santa Barbara fine portrait artist Andrea Anderson who has created an exquisite painting of Nicolas Den, renowned Irish Pioneer of Santa Barbara, from a photograph which will be donated and placed in AIHS historic headquarters museum on 5th Avenue in New York in the spring of 2023.

Mr. McGinty then gave Professor Enda Duffy a grand introduction, and his background is quite beyond impressive. Enda Duffy is a Professor in the English Department at UC Santa Barbara. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University, where he won a Whiting Fellowship, and taught at Reed College and Wesleyan University before coming to UC Santa Barbara. His central interests include modernism and postmodernism, Irish literature, cultural studies and critical theory, and James Joyce.

He is the author of The Subaltern Ulysses (U of Minnesota P, 1994), and of The Speed Handbook: Velocity, Pleasure, Modernism (Duke University Press, 2009). The Speed Handbook was co-winner of the Modernist Studies Association Book Award as the best book in modernist studies, 2010. Prof. Duffy is co-editor of Joyce, Benjamin and Magical Urbanism (European Joyce Studies, Vol. 21, 2011), of an edition of Ulysses and of Katherine Mansfield’s short stories, and of numerous articles on Joyce, Irish modernism, and on post-colonial and modernist literature and culture. He is the founding director of COMMA, the Center on Modern Literature and Culture in the English Dept. Professor Duffy is currently working on two projects: a cultural history of modern Ireland, and a book on energy in modernist culture.

Andrea Anderson presents the Nicolas Den Portrait that will hang in AIHS museum in New York headquarters.

Enda Duffy gave a lighthearted but somber talk on the Gaelic language, which has been nearly lost but is now in the process of being brought back to life again by groups in Ireland, as is the Chumash language in California. It was noted that the recent 2023 Oscar nominated film “Quiet Girl” is spoken completely in Gaelic with English subtitles and was shown in Santa Barbara during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

The history of Nicolas Den, who was born in Kilkenny, Ireland 1812, immigrated to California where he became owner of Dos Pueblos Ranch, a huge cattle rancher in Santa Barbara, and was revered by everyone who knew him. Den is considered one of the most important people in the history of Goleta. He died in 1862 from pneumonia and was buried at the Santa Barbara Mission, which he contributed to saving for the Franciscan Fathers.

His life story is fascinating and inspiring. A video of his life narrated by Frank McGinty and other notable historians can be viewed at

For information on the SB American Irish Historical Society visit: or National

Bonnie Carroll

Written by Bonnie Carroll

Writer, publisher, editor over 30 years, Bonnie Carroll is the present Publisher, Editor-in-Chief of Bonnie Carroll's Life Bites News founded 2005. She is also a contributor to a bevy of magazine and newspapers California and international since 1983.

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