‘Children and the Great Hunger in Ireland’ Book Launch


‘Children and the Great Hunger in Ireland’ Book Launch

I was very happy to help launch ‘Children and the Great Hunger in Ireland’ at the opening of this year’s Famine Summer School in Stokestown.

The book is edited by famine experts Christine Kinealy, Jason King and Gerard Moran and examines all aspects of children’s lives during and after the Great Irish Famine. I was honoured to be asked by Prof Christine Kinealy to write the foreword for the book which looks at a topic very close to my heart. It is great to see academics, historians and famine experts turn their attention and provide new insights and research into these forgotten children.  It is published by The Great Hunger Institute at Quinipiac University Press.

Roscommon TD Eugene Murphy warmly welcomed everyone to Roscommon and Canadian Ambassador to Ireland Kevin Vickers officially opened this year’s Famine Summer School which is held in Strokestown Park House, the National Famine Museum in Roscommon. He spoke of the huge Irish emigrant population that are part of Canada and of our shared history.

The scale of this emigration was highlighted by Mark McGowan of Toronto University and in a powerful documentary film made by Kevin Moynihan The Famine Irish and Canada’s First Responders

IMG_2755The next day before leaving I strolled around the large walled gardens of Strokestown House, which are well worth a visit.  An outdoor sculpture exhibition by pupils of local schools is currently on display there.






Brilliant Readers in Strabane


Brilliant Readers in Strabane!

I had a wonderful visit to Strabane in Northern Ireland, where I got to meet lots of brilliant readers from a number of local schools at St Catherine’s P.S in the town and afterwards at St Mary’s P.S in Cloughcor.

Special thanks are due to Bridget Wilders the principal of St Catherine’s School and to all the other teachers who arranged this very special Multi -School visit.

I just couldn’t resist these three figures from the special Under the Hawthorn Tree display in St Catherine’s .



Listowel Writer’s Festival

I am just back from a trip to Kerry to the famous Listowel Writer’s Festival. It is one of Ireland’s most popular arts festivals and it is held in the home town of the renowned writer, playwright and raconteur John B Keane, with the Keane Family still involved.


Deh8GnkWsAABDBHThe sun was shining and The Listowel Arm’s Hotel was packed to the gills for the busy opening night celebrations and awards ceremony with writer Edna O’Brien receiving a life time achievement award for her work, and Paul Lynch winning the Kerry Group Fiction book of the year award for his novel ‘Grace’.

This year’s Children’s Programme had a sea theme inspired by the art work of Steve McCarthy, and Listowel Park and Community Centre were transformed by the work of local artists groups. DehA3zCXcAABQpm

I talked  to a big group of local schools and  later that day took part in  a very interesting  ‘Bold Girls’ event  chatting with authors Sarah Webb and Sheena Wilkinson about the women and girls in history and books and all around us that inspire and encourage us to be bold , brave and strong…