Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Jack Kerouac was Irish

By now you've likely seen the YouTube video Barack Obama is Irish.

Interestingly, Jack Kerouac considered himself a son of Erin (as am I).

In Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac (1983), Gerald Nicosia says that Jack

revered Ireland as the true ancestral home of the Kerouacs, as he had often been told the story of their migrations from Ireland to Cornwall to Brittany (p. 108).

One of the direct impacts On The Road had on me was that it gave me the motivation to go to Ireland in the summer of 2004 with a backpack and no particular plan except to see a bunch of my country of origin. I suspect my true country of origin, as with most of us, is unclear. I think my Irish ancestors were actually Scots who fought at the Battle of the Boyne on Ireland's east coast in 1690 and then stayed in the country.

I spent two weeks in Ireland - not nearly long enough - and experienced for the first time what it's like to travel via walking or public transportation, unencumbered by advanced plans, with no place to stay, nobody you know to help out, etc.

Northern Ireland was the best part for me. I found the little village my direct ancestors were from (Loughbrickland), and learned there are still Dales living there, although I didn't get to meet them.

And I could go on. I wrote about 120 pages in my journal and took lots of pictures.

It was awesome and I recommend it highly.

Slainte, Jack. Thanks for the inspiration.


pocket said...

son of erin? Please moses stop. You're an american. Son of Erin is a 19th century anachronism. Presumably one or two of your 16 great grandparents is Irish? Don't cherry pick please. You are AMERICAN.

Rick Dale, author of The Beat Handbook said...

Pocket, why are you so angry?