Only The Stones Never Die by Padraig McLoughlin
A novel telling the love story of Kate Grealis and Eoin Gallagher, two Achill tattie-hokers, set against the backdrop of the Clew Bay Drowning Disaster of 1894.
From the back cover:
A tiny seed potato is the catalyst for official government harassment of the Achill people. Their homes are raided and anything of value is seized in payment for the seed potato loan. In 1894, the number of tattie-hokers leaving for Scotland is the largest yet. Their desperation to ensure their families survive fills one hooker, built to carry thirty, with one hundred and twenty-six passengers. Thirty-two on this hooker drown. In Scotland, the Achill tattie-hokers are exposed to health risks, racism and sexual abuse.
“I acclimate myself to everything, to the cesspits, to the work, to the muck, to the bleeding fingers, to the lack of hot water, to the damp clothes, to the diarrhoea, to the coughs, pains and aches. No matter what befalls me, fear, abuse, anti-Irish curses, I continue because I am desperate because mother is desperate.” – Eoin Gallagher
“The drama is caused by the tattie-hokers themselves. Young women giving birth after a day’s work in the field. Young girls discovering they are pregnant and not knowing why it happened. Abortions. Infanticide. Abuse and violence from other tattie-hoker tramps, vagrants, gaffers, anti-Irish abuse, roaring and shouting from alcohol and acts of kindness in all this misery.” – Kate Grealis