The Rare Auld Times a new novel by Joe Rogers, tells of oppression and resistance throughout the centuries in Ireland from the time King McMurrough gave his daughter, Aoife, and the then stronghold of Dunamase to Strongbow, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, right up to modern times.
The arrival of the Normans, the Plantation of Laois and Offally, Cromwell and his New Model Army and on through the Irish Famine of the 1840s - the years of An Gorta Mor - the Great Hunger, when the coffin ships, The Ganges out of Liverpool; The Larch out of Sligo; Naparima out of Dublin;Sir Henry Pottinger out of Cork sailed for Canada and America and of the 399 passengers on the Sir Henry Pottinger, for example, 98 died on passage and 112 were ill on arrival. Worst of all the ill-fated and doomed Pomano out of Sligo, with over 100 families, dispossessed from their homes in the notorious Sligo Clearances, all drowned when the ship foundered.
But the The Rare Auld Times tells of triumphs also. Among the hardships and sufferings of emigrants to the New World – not least on the 3 week Atlantic crossing – of the 44 American Presidents to date, 22 of them claim to be of Irish descent.