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Mayo Day 2024

May 4th 2024

John Kearns


Mayo connection?
Both of my father’s parents came from near Knock.  I have many cousins – more with each passing month it seems – near Claremorris, Knock, and Kiltimagh. 

Where in the world are you now?

I grew up in the Philadelphia area, but I live in New York, New York where I work as a Technical Writer for FreeWheel, a Comcast Company.  

I also write novels, plays, stories, poems, and screenplays.  My new novel, Worlds, about a family with Mayo roots. was launched at the New York Irish Center in October 2021.  My newest play, Boann and the Well of Wisdom, had a successful run at Ryan's Daughter pub in Origin Theatre's 1st Irish Festival. Now the show is preparing for a production in a 75-seat conventional theatre as part of the New York Theater Festival.  Other publications include the short-story collection, Dreams and Dull Realities and the novel, The World.  My fiction has appeared in The Medulla Review and Danse Macabre and my poems in such journals as the North American Review and the Grey Sparrow Journal.  My screenplays have won several awards over past couple of years,  

What you love and miss about the County?
First and most of all, I miss my welcoming and fun family, and enjoying the friendships we have forged since connecting as adults. 

I also miss: 

  • The bleating of the sheep on the hillside, as we golfed in the shadow of the Reek 
  • The smell of turf on a drizzly day in Claremorris 
  • Children playing in pure joy in a puddle in Cong
  • Tunes and pints at Matt Molloy’s and Gilligan’s
  • Seafood chowder in Westport
  • Getting lost on a bogland back road and watching smoke from the summer solstice/Saint John’s Day bonfires rising over the bogland … a hundred signals from the same tribe saying “failte” …
  • The old regulars at a pub in Crossboyne who asked, apropos of nothing, “Did you ever think of living here?”

What you think of Home to Mayo?
I think it is wonderful idea to encourage people to visit one of the most beautiful and truly Irish of Ireland’s counties.  I agree with the sentiment of the promotional video: although I was born in the States, I feel that in some ways Mayo is always with me.  

At least that is how I console myself when I suffer the terrible heartache of having to leave physically.  

Plans to come home?

As soon as possible!  Hopefully, within the next year.  I have several new cousins to meet!  

Maybe I can bring my new play, Boann and the Well of Wisdom, home to Mayo!  I’m working on it …

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