A moving story of one man’s struggle to save his family from famine

After a boyhood of tragedy and want, life begins to look brighter for Seán O’Brien as he enters manhood. As a talented musician, the doors of the rich are thrown open to him, and his initial success allows him to dare dream of saving his family from grinding poverty.

In a convulsion of history, however, his dream is to be challenged as the potato crop in Ireland succumbs to disease and hundreds of thousands face a lingering death by starvation.

Set in Skibbereen and The Mizen, this is a gripping and moving story of Ireland’s ‘Great Hunger’, when the only escape from famine for most landless families was flight to England or America.

Many abandoned their humble homes to get to harbours and quays in a bid to flee, but for countless thousands their flight ended in unmarked graves along the way.

Years of unremitting tragedy followed to change the country forever, but one year stood apart from the others, 1847. It entered the history books as Black ’47.


About the author

Laurence Power is a native of Tipperary. He has also written Oosterbeek, a novel set against the doomed airborne landings in Arnhem, Holland in 1944 and ‘the hunger winter’ that followed.