All History is Local by Séamus McNally | Member Blog

Copy of Seamus McNally Front Cover (1)

Séamus McNally

When my great grandmother died in 1956, at the grand old age of 108, she was the last survivor of the Gorta Mór (Great Famine).

Ireland had lost millions of people to a devastating famine in the late 1840’s. How did a small country rise off its knees, within seventy years, to win a war against the might of the British Empire? This is the question that inspired me to learn more about the real events and lives that shaped this time in history.

According to one of our leading poet, W.B. Yeats:
“ The history of a nation is not written in parliaments, and battlefields but in what the people say to each other on fair days, and high days, and how how they farm, and quarrel, and go on pilgrimage.”
From meticulous research and drawing on my insight as a local, “The Heart of the West: A Journey of Hope after the Famine” brings new life to nearly forgotten Irish stories from a neglected corner of the country. This work of fiction, based closely on true events, follows the ordinary lives of diverse families (1850’s to 1950’s), from the local peasants to the privileged occupier, and the ties that bind them.

The detailed historical background, with historical pictures etc. is available on my website:

(c) Séamus McNally

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