Launch of Making the Right Connections book

Thursday, 18th April, 2019 11:25am

Launch of Making the Right Connections book

Michael Larkin and Mayo Person of the Year and chairman of Portwest, Cathal Hughes, holding a framed copy of Thomas Larkin’s American passport. Photo: Conor McKeown

A FASCINATING new book, aptly entitled Making the Right Connections, is due to be launched in the coming weeks.

The book, published by Bookhub Publishing, written and compiled by local author Michael Larkin, vividly describes significant milestones in the evolution of telecommunications, predictions made regarding Alexander G. Bell's new invention, Irish emigration, transatlantic connectivity and an outline of the journey undertaken by Thomas Larkin, one of the early telephone pioneers of America.

Following the invention of the telephone by Bell in 1876, most of the American people, including President Rutherford B. Hayes, remained sceptical as to the merits of Bell's new speaking telegraph.

In today's world of instantaneous connectivity, it's interesting to note that it was as recent as 1983 before the cellular or mobile phone became commercially available for the first time.

The first delivery of mail 'by air' between North America and Ireland occurred on June 15, 1919, when John Alcock and Arthur W. Brown made the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, crash-landing in a bog near Clifden.

Making the Right Connections has received endorsements from a number of respected Irish and Irish American academics, including author, historian and 2019 Meitheal Mhuigheo recipient Terry Reilly who stated: “Here is a terrific story about a young man from a rural village in Co. Mayo, who, like so many of his friends, emigrated to the USA, simply to find employment. As a distinguished member of the Bell Telephone Company in Pennsylvania, he made a significant contribution to the telephone industry in the early 1900s.”

Thomas Larkin, the central character in the book, was a grand-uncle of author Michael Larkin. He was born in the townland of Derrew, Ballyheane, on July 4, 1874.

Similar to thousands of other young Irishmen and women, he made that perilous voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in the hope of securing a better future in the New World. His 'American Dream' became a reality when he secured employment with the Bell Telephone Company in Pennsylvania. Having had a distinguished career as one of the early telephone pioneers of America, he received many accolades for his role in the delivery of the telephone network into the American mid-west.

Author Michael Larkin said: “It's very fitting that Making the Right Connections will be launched in advance of Mayo Day, a spectacular occasion dedicated to celebrating our culture, heritage and connectedness with our diaspora throughout the world.”

Midwest Radio's Tommy Marren will launch the book on Monday, April 29, at 7 p.m. in Mayo County Library. All are welcome. Book signings and sales will take place from 6 p.m.

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