The White House was designed by Callan man James Hoban
One of Kilkenny’s most famous emigrants is featured in a new book about Ireland’s Diaspora.
Historian and story-teller Turtle Bunbury has brought together the stories of 40 men and women from Ireland “whose pioneering journeys beyond the Irish shore played a profound role in world history.”
One of those featured in the book is Callan native James Hoban.
Hoban designed the White House in what is now Washington DC, the home of American Presidents.
His chapter in the book sets out his journey from south Kilkenny to America, telling the tale of how the son of tenant farmers rose to design some of the most important and historic buildings in the USA.
Many in Kilkenny will be familiar with James Hoban’s story but do you know the stories of Abbé Edgeworth, confessor to Louis XVI at his execution during the French Revolution; Margaretta Eager, governess to the daughters of Nicholas II, the last Czar of Russia; and William Lamport, who travelled from County Wexford to Central America and became Don Guillén, a martyr for Mexican independence. All Irish people.
Bunbury shares the stories of a fascinating range of people including missionaries, explorers, philanthropists, inventors, tycoons and warriors as well as composers, a doctor, a would-be assassin and a football manager. Meet Eliza Lynch, First Lady of Paraguay; John Philip Holland, father of the submarine; Brendan Bracken, Churchill’s ‘spin doctor’; Nellie Cashman, Angel of the Wild West; Dr James Barry, the caesarean pioneer revealed after death to be Margaret Ann Bulkeley, and many more.
The Irish Diaspora: Tales of Emigration, Exile and Imperialism by Turtle Bunbury is on sale in bookshops and online now.