“We Are The Survivors” by Barry Feely
King House, 16th November at 8pm: Launch of Barry’s book by Dr Jason King is Academic Coordinator of the Irish Heritage Trust and National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park.
The book is about the Workhouse in Boyle and emigration in famine times. It describes the building of and living conditions in the Workhouse. It tells the distressing tale of 52 orphan girls from the area, leaving on a Bianconi long cart and onwards on a sea voyage lasting 100 days to Australia. This was during the years 1848 to 1850, when 4114 orphan girls from Workhouses all over Ireland many as young as 14 years old were sent under the Earl Grey Irish orphans scheme to Sydney and beyond.Their passage was paid by the Australian Government as more females were required to offset the gender imbalance in the colony (8m:1F). Through correspondence with researchers (Irish Famine Memorial) based at the Hyde Park Barracks Museum, in Sydney, we have traced the early history of some local girls. Some of it makes for sad reading. They were so vulnerable.
The Book also gives details on the Rockingham and Woodbrook evictions from their estates in the Barony of Boyle and their resettlement on Sheegora, and Ballymore.
Poignant images of a famine house with its bed outshoot or ‘pristy’ bed are included.
Emigration to America, Canada and Australia including the names of the ships and some passenger lists are also covered. Many of these passages were financially assisted by the Boyle Union Board of Guardians.
Most of the information was gathered by reading the minutes of what remains of the Boyle Board of Guardians books and from local newspapers of the period.