Interview: Author Patrick O’Sullivan Greene and unravelling Princess Grace’s Irish roots

Discover the captivating journey of Princess Grace’s Irish heritage in our interview with Patrick O’Sullivan Greene, as he prepares to unveil the intertwined tales of Irish American resilience and royalty in his upcoming lecture at the Princess Grace Irish Library.

Patrick O’Sullivan Greene is a distinguished Irish author and historian, renowned for his insightful research and publications on Irish American history and cultural identity. He offered to Monaco Life a compelling preview of his upcoming talk, ‘From Revolution to Royalty: The Making of an Irish American Princess’. The insightful discussion sets the stage for what promises to be a revealing exploration of an iconic figure’s roots and the broader narrative of Irish American achievement.

The legacy of resilience

Grace Patricia Kelly, a name resonating with deep Irish lineage, was born into a family where Irish roots were a proud legacy. Her father, Jack Kelly, was a son of Irish immigrants and instilled in her a narrative of resilience and hard work. O’Sullivan Greene explains, “His parents, Grace Kelly’s grandparents, would’ve immigrated in difficult circumstances out of Ireland where the country was going through a famine.” This history of overcoming adversity deeply impacted the Kelly family, fostering a spirit of determination and commitment.

These Irish roots were instrumental in shaping Princess Grace’s identity. O’Sullivan Greene highlights the socio-economic ascent of Irish Americans, crucial to her foray into the arts. “Two of Jack Kelly’s brothers, Princess Grace’s uncles, were successful in the arts and cultural sphere… enabling Princess Grace to even think about that type of profession,” he remarks. This progress epitomizes the diligent nature of the Irish immigrant community, paving the way for her achievements.

Patrick O’Sullivan Greene

The story of Jack Kelly, Grace’s father, from bricklayer to Olympian and millionaire, epitomises the Irish American dream. O’Sullivan Greene reflects on Jack Kelly’s accomplishments, “His sporting success was another step along the socio-economic ladder for the Irish people in America.” Despite these achievements, the Kelly family confronted societal barriers, indicative of the struggles faced by Irish Americans.

“The culmination of the Irish American dream”

O’Sullivan Greene’s book, ‘Revolution at the Waldorf: America and the Irish War of Independence’, intertwines with this larger narrative. It uncovers the intricate relationship between Irish Americans and their homeland, illustrating their fight for equality in America. “It’s almost a conflict between the diaspora and the motherland,” he notes, revealing the complexities of Irish American identity.

He delves into the historical backdrop of the Irish American experience, from the influence of various revolutions to the catastrophic Great Famine. These events shaped Irish American history. O’Sullivan Greene emphasises, “That post famine diaspora created the hard working first generation Irish Americans… leading us right into the second and third generation… They are successful but still carrying the generational legacy of being fully involved in gaining equal access to American politics and society.”

Grace Kelly’s marriage to Prince Rainier III of Monaco is viewed by O’Sullivan Greene as the apex of this journey. “The marriage of an Irish American girl to a Prince of Monaco is almost the culmination of the Irish American journey,” he states, symbolising the ultimate realisation of the American dream.

The Princess Grace Irish Library: a symbol of Irish American heritage

Patrick O’Sullivan Greene has a personal connection with the Princess Grace Irish Library in Monaco, which plays a significant role in preserving Irish culture and history. Reflecting on his journey, he shares, “I first visited the library in 2002, never imagining I’d be giving a talk here 22 years later.”

Through O’Sullivan Greene’s lens, Princess Grace’s story continues to inspire, weaving together the enduring threads of Irish heritage with timeless elegance.

The lecture will take place on 24th January starting at 7pm at the Princess Grace Irish Library, located at 9 rue Princess Marie-de-Lorraine. Online tickets are available now at: Lecture by Patrick O’Sullivan Greene – Irish author (in-person event) ( Normal ticket price is 10 euros and 5 euros for students.


Princess Grace Irish Library to host lecture by Patrick O’Sullivan Greene on Irish American legacy

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