'An tOcras Mór' The Great Hunger.

Subtitle

Forums

Post Reply
Forum Home > Poems & Songs Of "The Great Hunger" > The first page (almost) of a novel I'm trying to write

Ryan
Member
Posts: 2

Hey folks.


This is the first page of a novel I'm attempting to get off the ground, a piece of historical fiction centered around An Gorta Mór. I have a number of things working against me in terms of preventing me from having a really good grasp of the history and culture of this period - I don't live in Ireland, and I'm not Catholic (I'm a Presbyterian. Yes, I cringe at the fact that that murderous bastard Cromwell was also a Presbyterian, but I digress). I'm also confused as to a few little details, as to for instance, whether a person who had died of typhus during this period would have been waked, due to the sheer numbers of deaths, and due to the worries about infection of the living.


Anyway, this is my attempt. Any comments about style, grammar, or flow are also appreciated, as well as content issues.


I apologize for how some of the words have run together. I guess that's an occupational hazard of copying from OpenOffice!


Also, does anyone know a good keening or lament song in Irish? (Thuigim beagán Gaeilann, ach nil mo Gaeilainn go maith, go bronach!)

-------------------------------------------------


Górta –Hunger


 

 

A novel project by Rían Líam Ó Laithimh


 

 

To the honour and memory of the millions of souls who perished in Ireland during the 'famine'of 1845-1850.


 

   

She jolted awake. Hunger pangs gnawed at her, as a ravenous beast threatening to devour herbody, as she tried to move, tried to muster the strength to make herbody obey her mind. But her strength was in short supply thatmorning, as it was often. She tried to move again, twitching afinger, then moving her hand...then her arm. With great effort shepushed herself up, the weight of her body seeming as a ton of bricksto her then. She sat up. Dizziness and nausea immediately overcameher. She retched, but her stomach was empty.


 

 

She had had arestless night. The searing pangs of hunger ravaged her, ate at herlike she wished to God, Mary, and the angels that she could eat evena loaf of stale bread (but she had not managed to find even that muchin nearly two weeks) – keeping her awake and in constant pain. Herhead ached. Her mouth was dry. She took a few deep breaths and askedSt. Gobnait for the strength to stand up and do what needed to bedone that day. She would survive. Up she stood, and the dizzinesspassed, at least momentarily. She went to the basket containing hermeager clothes, and changed, dressing, she thought, as dignified asshe could under the circumstances, in a plain dress, brown, herrambling mind conceived, brown like the Irish dirt that presentlybore fruit for England's sons and daughters while Gaels starved likedogs on their own land, in their own country. She dismissed suchthoughts. She had other matters to attend to. Vengeance belonged tothe Lord alone. Or so Father O'Rafferty said...


 

 

She went throughher morning routine – waking up her four younger siblings. Eilís,Pól, Mairtín, and Máire - of which, especially the last, couldsleep through the Second Coming (she mused to herself, thinking whata difference it was from when Máire was a babe. Good Lord, was itseven years now?), and set them off to tasks around the house. Thechildren set to making themselves ready for a day at work on herfamily's small homestead. Eilis, the eldest besides herself atfourteen, took Máire along with her to tend to milking the loneheifer the family owned. But even she was beginning to run dry, andbesides, all their milk was made into butter and had to be sold atmarket to pay their rent. The boys, sturdy lads even at twelve andten, she took with her to market presently.

 

 


Aoife NiLaoghaire, or Eva O'Leary, as she was known to her Landlord, Mr.Archibald Smith – was eighteen years old. She was the eldest offive children born to Séamus and Caoimhe Uí Laoghaire, and wascompetent in most matters to do with the running of a household. Mostdays, at least. Her mother had gone to Jesus' breast only the yearbefore, typhus having claimed her life in the thick of the winter.Her body had been unable to fight the infection half-starved, and shehad succumbed. Aoife had grieved, she had sat at her mother's wakewith friends, family (for Aoife's uncle, Seosamh, lived nearby inCobh, easily within a half a day's journey from their home on theoutskirts of Cork City), and the old priest at her parish church, St.Patrick's, had grieved with her. She remembered it as if it wereyesterday. She'd sung a keening song, the melody then returned toher, and a tear came to her eye as she began to sing it again...

 

 

 


June 29, 2010 at 7:22 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

I like it d fair play to you , you really express things well with you're wording , look forward to reading the rest of it 

--

 

WHEN GENOCIDE BECAME "FAMINE" : IRELAND, 1845 - 1850

This petition seeks your support for a campaign to:

* Persuade relevant authors, editors and website content providers to stop using the word ‘Famine’ for what took place in Ireland between 1845 and 1850, and start using terms such as, "The Great Hunger" or 'An tOcras Mór

PETITION LINK- TO CHANGE THE WORD FAMINE http://www.petitions24.com/when_famine_became_genocide_ireland_1845_-_1850


June 29, 2010 at 7:52 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy T.
Member
Posts: 121

Very good, I like it so far....Excellent use of descriptive words for visualization...but you have to do some editing...you have quite a few words that are together. Do a bit of word separation. ;0)


And as far as folks being waked during the holocaust, well? no one had money...most died and were buried along the roadsides where they dropped, mass graves without coffins, much like the pits the Nazis used, or landlords agents, etc. would simply have the cabins torn down right on top of the dead inside. No dignity, no remembrances...just bodies thrown into holes in the ground without a proper send off.

And on the Coffin Ships they merely threw them overboard into the sea. 

--

Photobucket

June 29, 2010 at 9:43 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Ryan
Member
Posts: 2

The word separation thing is a side effect of copypasta-ing from Open Office into the forum. It doesn't look this weird in OpenOffice!

June 30, 2010 at 3:11 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy T.
Member
Posts: 121

Oh, okay!  I don't use open office, I usually use word pad. I can understand that, these programs sometimes don't copy well. :0)

But keep going...so far it is really, really good! Excellent work!


And if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

--

Photobucket

June 30, 2010 at 6:51 AM Flag Quote & Reply

markc
Member
Posts: 2

It's way too early to be looking for thoughts about your novel when you have only written the first page, not least because as the novel develops this page will probably change radically. Have you got the rest of the book mapped out yet?


Also, the description is a bit obvious for me, going on and on. It's what I'd expect my students to write (as teenagers) - it seems more full of woe than empathy, sadness for the sake of sadness (though it might be unfair of me to say this, since I haven't read the rest of the book).


For a great novel on the famine, read Star of the Sea by Joseph O'Connor.

September 21, 2010 at 5:15 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Damien Kerr

Posts: 34

Ryan at June 29, 2010 at 7:22 AM

Hey folks.


This is the first page of a novel I'm attempting to get off the ground, a piece of historical fiction centered around An Gorta Mór. I have a number of things working against me in terms of preventing me from having a really good grasp of the history and culture of this period - I don't live in Ireland, and I'm not Catholic (I'm a Presbyterian. Yes, I cringe at the fact that that murderous bastard Cromwell was also a Presbyterian, but I digress). I'm also confused as to a few little details, as to for instance, whether a person who had died of typhus during this period would have been waked, due to the sheer numbers of deaths, and due to the worries about infection of the living.


Anyway, this is my attempt. Any comments about style, grammar, or flow are also appreciated, as well as content issues.


I apologize for how some of the words have run together. I guess that's an occupational hazard of copying from OpenOffice!


Also, does anyone know a good keening or lament song in Irish? (Thuigim beagán Gaeilann, ach nil mo Gaeilainn go maith, go bronach!)

-------------------------------------------------


Górta –Hunger


 

 

A novel project by Rían Líam Ó Laithimh


 

 

To the honour and memory of the millions of souls who perished in Ireland during the 'famine'of 1845-1850.


 

   

She jolted awake. Hunger pangs gnawed at her, as a ravenous beast threatening to devour herbody, as she tried to move, tried to muster the strength to make herbody obey her mind. But her strength was in short supply thatmorning, as it was often. She tried to move again, twitching afinger, then moving her hand...then her arm. With great effort shepushed herself up, the weight of her body seeming as a ton of bricksto her then. She sat up. Dizziness and nausea immediately overcameher. She retched, but her stomach was empty.


 

 

She had had arestless night. The searing pangs of hunger ravaged her, ate at herlike she wished to God, Mary, and the angels that she could eat evena loaf of stale bread (but she had not managed to find even that muchin nearly two weeks) – keeping her awake and in constant pain. Herhead ached. Her mouth was dry. She took a few deep breaths and askedSt. Gobnait for the strength to stand up and do what needed to bedone that day. She would survive. Up she stood, and the dizzinesspassed, at least momentarily. She went to the basket containing hermeager clothes, and changed, dressing, she thought, as dignified asshe could under the circumstances, in a plain dress, brown, herrambling mind conceived, brown like the Irish dirt that presentlybore fruit for England's sons and daughters while Gaels starved likedogs on their own land, in their own country. She dismissed suchthoughts. She had other matters to attend to. Vengeance belonged tothe Lord alone. Or so Father O'Rafferty said...


 

 

She went throughher morning routine – waking up her four younger siblings. Eilís,Pól, Mairtín, and Máire - of which, especially the last, couldsleep through the Second Coming (she mused to herself, thinking whata difference it was from when Máire was a babe. Good Lord, was itseven years now?), and set them off to tasks around the house. Thechildren set to making themselves ready for a day at work on herfamily's small homestead. Eilis, the eldest besides herself atfourteen, took Máire along with her to tend to milking the loneheifer the family owned. But even she was beginning to run dry, andbesides, all their milk was made into butter and had to be sold atmarket to pay their rent. The boys, sturdy lads even at twelve andten, she took with her to market presently.

 

 


Aoife NiLaoghaire, or Eva O'Leary, as she was known to her Landlord, Mr.Archibald Smith – was eighteen years old. She was the eldest offive children born to Séamus and Caoimhe Uí Laoghaire, and wascompetent in most matters to do with the running of a household. Mostdays, at least. Her mother had gone to Jesus' breast only the yearbefore, typhus having claimed her life in the thick of the winter.Her body had been unable to fight the infection half-starved, and shehad succumbed. Aoife had grieved, she had sat at her mother's wakewith friends, family (for Aoife's uncle, Seosamh, lived nearby inCobh, easily within a half a day's journey from their home on theoutskirts of Cork City), and the old priest at her parish church, St.Patrick's, had grieved with her. She remembered it as if it wereyesterday. She'd sung a keening song, the melody then returned toher, and a tear came to her eye as she began to sing it again...

 

 

 


Hi Ryan,

 

I hope to post an account of Lurgan during the Famine today; more personalized, more detailed.   I think I know enough about writing history and literature to help.  I can try.  Have to go shopping now but will get back to you shortly.  d

--

Damien Kerr

September 22, 2010 at 6:40 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Damien Kerr

Posts: 34

I can only endorse the advice of markc (above).  I will supply you with any material you ask for but I believe you are not ready to write a novel about the Great Famine.  You may  be able to write a truely great novel but read yourself into the topic before attempting to create a novel about it.

--

Damien Kerr

September 23, 2010 at 4:04 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Damien Kerr

Posts: 34

This is not my work. I made no appeal for assistance. I cannot endorse the sentiment or content. I wish the actual author every success but would prefer my name did not appear as the author of this material, d

--

Damien Kerr

September 25, 2010 at 12:24 PM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

Damien you do not have to worry you're not down as the author , you have just replied to it , the original post tells who posted it , so dont worry its all ok 

--

 

WHEN GENOCIDE BECAME "FAMINE" : IRELAND, 1845 - 1850

This petition seeks your support for a campaign to:

* Persuade relevant authors, editors and website content providers to stop using the word ‘Famine’ for what took place in Ireland between 1845 and 1850, and start using terms such as, "The Great Hunger" or 'An tOcras Mór

PETITION LINK- TO CHANGE THE WORD FAMINE http://www.petitions24.com/when_famine_became_genocide_ireland_1845_-_1850


September 26, 2010 at 5:13 AM Flag Quote & Reply

You must login to post.