Tuesday 20 June 2017

New book: The Great Famine in Tralee and North Kerry

A new book – The Great Famine in Tralee and North Kerry, by Bryan MacMahon – has been published by Mercier Press.

The 384-page book focuses on human stories, rather than statistics, as MacMahon depicts the unprecedented events, upheavals and challenges of the famine years through the eyes of those who were there, and reveals information which has lain hidden and untapped for 170 years.

Through eyewitness accounts, this work brings to light the shocking realities of life in Tralee and North Kerry from 1845 to 1852, as the unprecedented catastrophe of the potato blight gripped the county.

These powerful testimonies, along with the author's analysis, provide a vivid sense of the crisis and the stark dilemmas faced by those who tried to alleviate the suffering, as well as the compassion and courage of those who spoke out on behalf of the destitute.

The book provides the names and inquest details of some of the dead, and poignant descriptions of life in the workhouses of Tralee and Listowel. Included are stories of scandals and possible sexual abuse in the workhouse, but also many examples of selfless humanitarian work. This work also offers insights into related issues of the time, such as emigration, “souperism” and civil unrest.

Mercier Press (€31.50), or Amazon (Hardback and Kindle formats). ISBN: 9781781174678