Book on Famine-Time North Kerry Highlights Powerful Testimonies

Ballyheigue native, Bryan MacMahon exploring the famime in North Kerry through a series of testimonies.
Ballyheigue native, Bryan MacMahon exploring the famime in North Kerry through a series of eye witness accounts and testimonies.

A new book with the gripping title: The Great Famine in Tralee and North Kerry will be launched at O’Mahony’s Bookshop, Tralee on Thursday, June 22nd at 5:30pm.

The guest speaker will be Jimmy Deenihan, former Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Eyewitness Accounts

With a particular focus on eyewitness accounts, the book 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.

In the course of its 380-pages the focus is on the human stories as its author, Bryan MacMahon, guides the reader through a variety of contemporary accounts of The Famine and its aftermath.

Suffering Endured

These provide a moving insight into the suffering endured by thousands in the area.

The powerful testimonies, along with MacMahon’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 also offers insights into related issues of the time, such as emigration, ‘souperism’ and civil unrest.

Published by Mercier Press, Cork, the book will be available at all the regular bookshops in the county and beyond after the Tralee launch.

About the Author

Bryan MacMahon is a native of Ballyheigue. He is a regular contributor to History Ireland, The Kerry Magazine and other publications, and the author of a number of biographies and books on local history.

He is on the organising committees of The Old Dublin Society, Kilmacud Stillorgan Local History Society, and Ballyheigue Heritage Group. Mr. Mac Mahon was a secondary school teacher for thirty-five years.

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