Mayo’s Forgotten Famine Girls  – From Workhouse to Australia (1848-50) & Convict Journal – Printed hardback version


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“Finally getting around to emails, etc sent over Christmas period re Mayo’s Forgotten Famine Girls. Let me share three from overseas…”The book is wonderful…your knowledge of Ireland’s rich history and dedication to the research involved in beyond amazing!” S.H. Buffalo, New York

“Your creative mind has brought to light a period in Irish history which shows the strength of Irish character. You have made my year.” L.T., Melbourne

“0n receiving the book in the mail I sat for hours browsing through a really engrossing book. It’s so sad and yet so beautiful.” C.A, Australia

Mayo’s Forgotten Famine Girls tells the story of 137 youngsters from Mayo, the majority orphans, sent to Australia from Irish workhouses 1848-50. The girls speak and through their voices we learn of their dreadful famine experiences, workhouse life, the voyage to Australia, and what became of them. Based on fact and extensive research.

Of the book, former President Mary Robinson says: “I recall being moved by seeing the memorial to Irish orphan girls in Australia in 2002, but Terry Reilly has done more to restore their dignity and worth with a poignant account of the stark circumstances, and how these girls coped with both resilience and courage.”

Leading historian Turtle Bunbury describes the book as featuring “real people, real events from the Irish Famine and how the resilience of the orphan girls shone through in the end in far away Australia”.

One of the great experts on the orphan girls story, Australian historian and writer, Trevor McClaughlin in tribute says: “A lifetime’s labour of love that is so compelling you can relive the young women’s sadness, and their dreams.”

My Mayo’s Forgotten Famine Girls” is indebted to many people and many websites and three in particular:

Barbara Barclay’s research at

Trevor McClaughlin’s  blog at

and Trevor McClaughlin’s and Perry McIntyre’s work at

Available In local shops:

Ballina: Eason and Pastoral Centre
Foxford: Foxford Woollen Mills
Castlebar: Castle Books and Easons
Claremorris: Smyths
Swinford: Melletts
Charlestown: Knock Airport
Westport: Seamus Duffy and MacLoughlins
Belmullet: Lorraine Carey

Limited edition Hardback, all copies signed by author. 360 Pages.

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