As Eire Wept is
the story of the Kelly family from the small town of Nenagh in Co. Tipperary.
Anne, Kathleen, Michael and Elizabeth grow up in the latter half of the 19th
century, a time of political unrest and poverty after the Famine has left
thousands starving and in poorhouses. In
search of a better life, Anne and Kathleen leave for New York City, a place in
which anything is possible and jobs are plentiful…or so they think. Michael and Elizabeth are left to find their
places in a turbulent young Ireland and while doing so are tested in how far
they will go to see their homeland free.
Join Michael as he struggles to distinguish freedom fighting
from terrorism and balance it with his Catholic roots. Watch Anne and Kathleen fight to keep the
Irish identities that they are asked to sacrifice in order to become Americans. Follow Elizabeth in her journey to find a
young woman’s place in a volatile Ireland.
The story of the Kelly family is told through a mix of
letters, historical examination, and dialogue-filled narrative.
Why is this so important?
This story is not only
important because the events are real, but because they affect so many
people. In the US alone, nearly 40
million people claim some sort of Irish heritage. That’s the population of California, double
the population of all of New York State, and more impressively, seven times the
population of Ireland itself. All of
this information comes from the US Census Bureau.
scholarly sources tell us about the events, the politics and the social
implications, but rarely do we hear about the individuals. This project was inspired by genealogical
research for my own family. As I
progressed, I was struck by the struggles of my ancestors. Though I had always heard about the Famine
and Bloody Sunday, the animosity the Irish found when they arrived in America
and the miserable living conditions they endured before they left were unknown
to me. The Fenians and the IRB (Irish
Republican Brotherhood) were never mentioned.
With the rising popularity of shows
such as “Who Do You Think You Are?” it is becoming more and more obvious that
people want to know more about themselves through knowing their ancestors. This story will allow many people to
understand the struggles of their predecessors and perhaps make them appreciate
the measures to which they went in the search for a better life.
Unfortunately, the longer I wait to
write this story, the fewer people there will be who have information and
stories about these times and the people who lived during them. Each year, more and more information is lost
What will the funds pay for?
fiction of this sort requires tremendous research. I have already gathered enough information to
write a quarter of the book, but unfortunately many of the records that I am
missing are not available online.
The funds donated here
will allow me to spend three weeks researching in Ireland. In Dublin I will be searching through the
National Archives and National Library for information, most of which will be on microfilm. From there I will travel to Nenagh, Co. Tipperary,
where I will be listening to stories and collecting local histories. I also plan to arrange a meeting with a professor of Irish Studies at
the University of Limerick to discuss the socioeconomic condition of small-town
working class Irish during this time. My
last stop in Ireland will be a day in Cobh (then known as Queenstown), the port
from which many Irish emigrated.
I will then leave Ireland for New York City via
Southampton. At Southampton, I will
board a Cunard liner for the transatlantic voyage—the closest experience
possible to that of many of the Irish who emigrated. In New
York City, I will spend four days searching through the New York Public Library
Archives, church records and researching at Ellis Island.
If you have any questions regarding the story, pledge rewards,
or anything else, please do not hesitate to contact me.