Glendale author retells the fight for Irish independence in his first published book

Cover art courtesy of Patrick Joseph Sexton

An author living in Glendale is going back to his Irish roots with his first published work, “Hurling Sticks to Fountain Pens,” which chronicles the Irish fight for independence from 1919 to 1921.

Patrick Joseph Sexton moved to the United States from his hometown in County Clare, Ireland in 1986. After living in Astoria and Maspeth for a little, Sexton moved to Glendale with his wife, Joanne.

“I like the security of it,” Sexton said of living in Glendale. “It’s a safe place to live. And more important, my wife feels safe. She used to have a friend here before I married her and she used to come visit the friend. And that’s how we came to be here. We lived in Maspeth for a while, but she wasn’t too pleased with it and she said, ‘I would love to live in Glendale.’ So the first chance we got we came here in 1999.”

Sexton has always had an affinity for Irish history, dating back to his childhood where he would read his father’s history books about his countrymen’s fight for independence against Great Britain. He eventually began purchasing his own books and learning more about his country’s history.

“I started reading about Irish history when I was only about 10,” Sexton said. “My father had this book called ‘My Fight for Irish Freedom’ by Dan Breen … and ever after that I had an interest in it.”

He used the information he gathered from his time reading history books to create the battles and strategies his characters use in his book, which is classified as historical fiction, meaning the characters are made up, but the stories and instances they find themselves in are (for the most part) historically accurate.

The book follows a pair of brothers, James and John Sullivan, and their journey in the fight for Irish independence. The story is fast-paced and filled with action such as the many guerilla attacks the IRA (Irish Republican Army) conducted against the British army, suspense, as well as military and historic detail.

“I would like for young people to understand that freedom is not free; you have to fight for it,” Sexton said.

The title of the book comes from the fact that at the beginning of the war IRA soldiers would carry around hurling sticks because they did not yet have any rifles or ammunition, and the war was ended with a treaty signed with fountain pens.

“Hurling Sticks to Fountain Pens” can be purchased at the publisher’s, Dorrance Publishing Co., website, and on Amazon.com.

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