Horrors of the Great Famine recalled in Australian’s novel

Carrick-on-Suir based writer Veronica Geoghegan-Sweeney marked the publication of her novel set in the rural Ireland before and during the Great Famine with a launch party in Brewery Lane Theatre last Sunday.

Carrick-on-Suir based writer Veronica Geoghegan-Sweeney marked the publication of her novel set in the rural Ireland before and during the Great Famine with a launch party in Brewery Lane Theatre last Sunday.

“The Big House”, the first book in the author’s” Emancipation” trilogy, is a detailed account of Ireland’s sufferings under the English and is a well-researched gripping story of the life of Irish farmers before and during the Great Famine.

The story occasionally resembles a nightmare that one cannot escape from and it captures the horrors experienced by people in rural Ireland in the 1840s. .

Veronica Geoghegan was born in Paddington, New South Wales. She originally came to Ireland in the 1980s and lived in Killaloe, County Clare.

She later went back to Australia where she met and married the Australian actor John Benjamin.

Veronica returned to Ireland in 2006 to care for her mother, who died in 2010, following which she settled in Carrick on Suir and joined the Brewery Lane Theatre Group.

Brewery Lane Theatre Group member Walter Dunphy opened the launch party by welcoming everybody, especially Seamus Healy TD and local writer and historian Michael Coady.

Walter said Veronica had enriched the Brewery Lane Theatre Group since she joined, and speaking of the book, Walter said it described vividly the links between Ireland and Australia

Before formally launching the book, Seamus Healy TD recalled his first acquaintance with her when she was seeking Irish citizenship.

He said he was privileged to be asked to launch the book and described it as brilliant read. He referred to John Cunningham< a lecturer in NUI Galway, who has done much work on the Great Famine and how it affected Irish towns including Carrick on Suir.

Walter Dunphy and Veronica Sweeney read excerpts from the book and Veronica thanked all for attending and also the Brewery Lane Ladies committee for providing refreshments.

She paid a special tribute to Stephanie Carroll from Creative Visual Solutions for completing the graphics for her novel.

Stephanie is a native of Clonmel now operating from Cork.

Before the official book signing, the author expressed the view that everybody has a story to tell, and she encouraged people even to tell their own life story for the benefit of their children, grandchildren and future generations.