Called to Account

At only 50,000 words it is a novella, rather than the full length novel I had hoped to create. That it is so short after such a long time is down to several factors, the main one being the difficulty of presenting the real horror of conditions in that place and time in a way that is not too depressing to read. Continue reading Called to Account

Closing Borders is not a Moral Option #WATWB

There is nothing new about refugee crises. As my followers will know, I have, over the last 2-3 years, been exploring the appalling events that took place in Ireland between 1845 and the early 1850s. These events led to an exodus of people from Ireland to North America, and Australia. Last week I was privileged to be a (minor) part of the 7th International Famine Conference which took place in Strokestown Park House, home of the Irish National Famine Museum. The event was truly international, with contributions from academics from the USA, Canada, Australia the United Kingdom and Germany. My … Continue reading Closing Borders is not a Moral Option #WATWB

Irish History Quiz – Part 1

I’m planning a live launch of A Purgatory of Misery next month. I created a Facebook event and have been putting up daily posts about Irish history. I was going to repeat them here but I hit on a better idea. A quiz! If you know the answers it won’t take you long. If you don’t, you will find them over on the event’s FB page. Unfortunately it’s not interactive. I’ve researched several quiz widgets but WP requires me to upgrade to the business version in order to install them. Here are your questions. You can enter your answers in … Continue reading Irish History Quiz – Part 1

Rhode Island Remembers the Irish Famine

https://videopress.com/embed/RgxNbiN3?hd=0&autoPlay=0&permalink=0&loop=0 A larger-than-life statue of three Irish figures sits on a round stone base, bordered by a walkway that incorporates the donor-bricks and flagstones. The walkway leads to a commemorative wall that narrates the history of the Great Hunger amid Irish immigration. The sidewalk beneath the wall incorporates an outline map depicting the coasts of America […] via The Great Hunger Memorial, Providence, Rhode Island — Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland Continue reading Rhode Island Remembers the Irish Famine

The Poor Law Inspector – Update.

I can’t believe it is 6 months since I first posted about this project of mine. If anyone is interested, here is an update on my progress since then. First of all I need to explain that this is part of a long term project which includes a non-fiction book about the Great Irish Famine, as well as the historical novel based on the activities of Capt. Arthur Kennedy and Colonel Crofton Vandeleur in Kilrush between November 1847 and 1851. I have been working hard on the non-fiction work over the summer and have what I consider to be a … Continue reading The Poor Law Inspector – Update.

Announcing The Poor Law Inspector

Reading about the famine that afflicted Ireland in the years 1845-52 is to discover story after story of the horrors that ensued. The families found naked and dead huddled together in some filthy hovel; the evictions that left other families to seek shelter in ditches and under hedges. It is also to enter the strange world of statistics. Did a million die, or more? Did a similar number emigrate? We have census figures for 1841 and 1851 which show a fall in population of around two million. Some have tried to interpolate what was the likely increase in population over … Continue reading Announcing The Poor Law Inspector

The Poor Law in Ireland

The third of my series of posts on poverty examines the transfer of poor laws from the British mainland to Ireland. The Dublin House of Industry was established in 1772 to care for vagrants and beggars. In times of more general distress, the work of this and similar institutions in other cities was supplemented by ad hoc provision by the parishes raising funds by subscription. Reading accounts of the conditions that prevailed in the early 1780s, for example, it is clear that the response to widespread food and fuel shortages that occurred consisted of a combination of fire-fighting with limited … Continue reading The Poor Law in Ireland

Evolution of Poor Laws

The second of my series of posts on poverty examines the evolution of poor laws in the British mainland. Prior to the reformation – the switch, over large parts of Europe, from Roman Catholicism to Protestantism – the poor were looked after by the monasteries. The funding for this came from the patronage the monasteries received from the land owners and from the tythes paid by farmers. Whilst the old, the sick and the disabled were provided with food, shelter and healing, the able bodied were provided with work, either in farms that formed an important part of the religious … Continue reading Evolution of Poor Laws