Monagan, David

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Monagan, David


Born in Waterbury, CT; married; wife's name Jamie; children: Laura, Harris, Owen. Education: Attended Trinity College Dublin, 1973 and 1974.


Home—Cork, Ireland.


Writer and journalist.


Jaywalking with the Irish, Lonely Planet Publications, 2004.

(With David O. Williams, medical editor) Journey into the Heart: A Tale of Pioneering Doctors and Their Race to Transform Cardiovascular Medicine, Gotham Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor to magazines, including Forbes FYI, Times (London, England), San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Vancouver Sun, Irish Times, Irish Independent, Dubliner, New York Times, Boston Globe, Discover, and Reader's Digest.


Born in Connecticut to an Irish-American family, David Monagan has had a lifelong interest in his ancestral home of Ireland. The writer spent a few years studying literature at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and took several trips back there before finally packing up and moving his wife and three children to Cork, Ireland, in 2000—where he has been living as an expatriate ever since. Monagan has written extensively about his adopted country for a multitude of magazines, and his family's adjustment to life in Ireland is also the subject of his first book, Jaywalking with the Irish, published in 2004.

In Jaywalking with the Irish, Monagan "gives an outsider's view of the quirks and the anomalies of much that passes for normal life in Ireland," according to an Emigrant Online contributor. Monagan was first introduced to his ancestral homeland when he became a student at Trinity College in Dublin in the 1970s. It was during this time that he met Bun Wilkinson, "who showed him the side to Ireland that everyone would wish for, the unquestioned acceptance, the casual attitude to hospitality combined with a deep love and knowledge of his country," as the Emigrant Online contributor put it. In 2000, Monagan finds himself in a modern-day Ireland that very much differs from the more idealistic Ireland of his past. In the book, "readers share with Monagan bar friendships; the serendipities of meeting people all over the country with connections to others that he knew in past visits and to friends of his American relatives," according to BookLoons Web site reviewer Hilary Williamson. Although readily accepted by many of their neighbors in Cork, the Monagan family encountered numerous stumbling blocks adjusting to life in their adopted country, including their children being bullied, the bank refusing to give them an account, Monagan's wife's struggle to find work, and their encounters with a small group of teenage boys who terrorized them for awhile. "His book is an honest, heartfelt, penetrating portrait of a contemporary Ireland," noted a critic for the Nation. A Publishers Weekly critic felt that Monagan's writing in Jaywalking with the Irish is "frequently mellifluous," and also noted that it offers "a glimpse into some of Eire's still-existent magic" and delves "into the slippery questions of identity that confront most travelers."

Monagan teamed up with David O. Williams, who is head of interventional cardiology at Brown/Rhode Island Hospital, to pen 2007's Journey into the Heart: A Tale of Pioneering Doctors and Their Race to Transform Cardiovascular Medicine. In what a Publishers Weekly critic called an "engrossing if overwritten account," Journey into the Heart tells the story of three doctors responsible for groundbreaking medical breakthroughs in cardiovascular medicine in the twentieth century. One of those men was Werner Forssmann, who in February, 1929, disobeyed his superiors and performed the world's first heart catheterization on himself at a provincial Red Cross Hospital in Germany. The second doctor, Mason Sones, was a pediatric cardiologist at a Cleveland, Ohio, clinic. In October, 1958, Sones mistakenly discovered that dye could be injected safely into a coronary artery, thus discovering coronary angiography. The last doctor discussed was Andreas Gruentzig, an East German-born doctor who in May, 1977, discovered balloon angioplasty when he threaded what looked like a little balloon into an insurance salesman's coronary artery, removing a blockage. The majority of this "well-researched story" is dedicated to Gruentzig's achievement, according to a Publishers Weekly critic. "No gripping details are left out in this account of the good, the bad, the ugly, and the truly shocking process of making medical breakthroughs," remarked a Saturday Evening Post reviewer.



Nation (Bangkok, Thailand), July 7, 2007, review of Jaywalking with the Irish.

Publishers Weekly, September 13, 2004, review of Jaywalking with the Irish, p. 69; October 30, 2006, review of Journey into the Heart: A Tale of Pioneering Doctors and Their Race to Transform Cardiovascular Medicine, p. 45.

Saturday Evening Post, November 1, 2006, review of Journey into the Heart, p. 28.


BookLoons, (December 1, 2007), Hilary Williamson, review of Jaywalking with the Irish.

Emigrant Online, (December 1, 2007), review of Jaywalking with the Irish.

Lonely Planet Home Page, (November 17, 2004), review of Jaywalking with the Irish.