Author: Rich Irish Cashed in on Famine

Article excerpt

Byline: BRENDA O'NEILL

RICH Irish landlords who cashed in on the Famine have been called to account in a new novel by Irish writer Joe O'Connor.

And the popular author said he was shocked by his findings for his new book.

Written in just seven months, research for Star of the Sea took about six years.

"I found out what everyone finds out, that everything about the Famine is much more complicated than it first appears, except for the suffering of the poor, which was tragically simple," he said.

And he remembered childhood trips to Connemara where the sight of Famine graves and deserted villages would haunt him.

"Even in the 1960s and 70s, 120 years afterwards, you would see features of the landscape in Connemara that people would tell you were Famine graves, and there were deserted villages.

"The whole population just vanished in the space of six months or a year."

And the book has given him the opportunity to write a heavy tome, he admitted. …