New book on Famine times in Boyle

A new book by well known Boyle man and author Barry Feely will be launched in King House on Friday November 16th at 8pm.

The launch will be performed by Dr, Jason King, Irish Heritage Trust and all are welcome.

Titled ‘We are the Survivors’, the 137 page publication tells the story of Boyle Workhouse and emigration in Famine times.

With accompanying illustrations by Boyle native scenic artist Michelle Simon, the book is a record of the period 1803 to 1880 and how the Famine affected those from Boyle.

In his foreword Barry talks about the horror and stigma of the Workhouse that still lingers in some people’s minds.

“After 160 years, the history of Boyle Workhouse is not widely known, but the basic prejudice remains. In my research for this book, I experienced two stories that illustrate this point”.

“The late Dr. Martin Fallon with his wife Mary and children arrived in Boyle in 1973 to take up his appointment as dispensary doctor. Mary recently told me an anecdote that occurred shortly after they arrived. They lived in a fine two-storey house built in the Workhouse grounds. Their neighbours across the road were Maud Tuite and her sister Alice Callaghan who ran a small pub. A few days after their arrival, Alice left a box of vegetables outside the door. (This was an old custom of welcome). After some time when the Fallons had settled in their new home, Mary started her own garden which included strawberries. The first punnet she picked she brought it over to Alice. Going into their kitchen she presented the fruit to the Callaghans. Alice blessed herself and said: In the name of the Father, son and Holy Ghost take it away child. We wouldn’t touch anything that came out of the workhouse grounds”. 

“This is a good example of the prejudice that still lingered long after the Workhouse had ceased to exist. Another was when I interviewed a man in his eighties who lived with his parents over the then District Hospital (remaining part of the original Workhouse) in rooms let out by Roscommon County Council. He later phoned me to say, don’t mention my name as my adult children would not like it to be said that their family lived in the Workhouse”.

All are welcome to the launch on Friday November 16th.



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