Documentary On Newstalk presents a new documentary by producer Pavel Barter. Telling the forgotten story of how Irish immigrants built a Wild West mining town two miles high in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado in Cloud City.
This portrait of Irish diaspora, in one of America’s most ruthless settlements, explores the lives of two characters whose names live on in Leadville lore: Mart Duggan from Limerick, one of the most fearsome yet respected lawmakers in the American West; and Michael Mooney, a union leader from Dublin who fought for worker rights.
This month (September, 2023) sees the opening of a memorial to the Leadville Irish, who until now had been forgotten in unmarked graves at the town’s Evergreen Cemetery.
Cloud City will air on Newstalk on Sunday September 17th at 7am, repeated Saturday September 23rd at 9pm and will be available as a podcast, on GLoud and all major platforms.
Producer and presenter Pavel Barter visits the now-derelict mines of Allihies and charts the community’s journey in the years following the Irish Famine to Leadville (which at two miles above sea-level is three times the height of Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s tallest mountain).
Barter profiles Michael Mooney, a miner from Dublin who led a miner’s strike in Leadville and pioneered protests for workers rights in the United States.
As well as Leadville’s lawmaker, Marshal Mart Duggan: a Limerick migrant who cleaned up the Wild West town in its violent teething stages. In Duggan’s most remarkable achievement, he held back two 200-strong lynch mobs - who were threatening to break into his jail and hang prisoners held there - in the space of a week in 1879.
“Duggan did as much, if not more, than Doc Holliday or Wyatt Earp or Bat Masterson or some of these American West law officers that we know so much about,” remarks Don Lindley, a retired vice squad cop from Denver, in the documentary.
Pavel Barter: presenter and producer.
Michael Mellamphy (Red Dead Redemption 2) plays Mart Duggan and Michael Mooney.
With thanks to David Wright (research) and Wil Masisak (VO recording).
Funded by Coimisiún na Meán with the Television License Fee.