It is amazing what develops out of the exercise of writing a novel. Things you never thought about come to mind. If you had been watching TV or at the gym instead of secluding your thoughts into your story, it simply would not happen. In writing “Dos Gringos” I quickly realized that the story was a peek into a history of much grander happenings that just the lives of these two unlikely partners in the midst of the bloody Mexican Revolution. One of these is the historic relationship of Mexico and Ireland.
In the story, the relationship of the red-headed Catholic Irishman Flaherty with the idealistic young peasant revolutionary boy with a tall gun evokes memories of the famous “San Patricio Battalion” of Irish who fought with Mexico against the Americans in the Mexican-American War of 1846. What made this largely Irish outfit exceptional was that it was composed almost entirely of deserters from the United States Army who, after defecting, fought on the Mexican side in five major battles and with great heroism.
These men, fleeing the Irish Potato Famine were often pulled of the boat in New York and sent into the army to fight in the Mexican war. Killing other Catholics was not exactly why these starving men had fled Ireland, hence, that religious loyalty, along with mistreatment by their army superiors, prompted their desertion. They were appalled by the American troops treatment of the priests and nuns. After the war, these Irishmen were tortured and executed by hanging.
Yes, it’s amazing what you learn when writing a novel.
Read more about Mexican history. Buy a copy of “Dos Gringos” here.