On Our Knees, Famine in the Parishes of Killala Diocese (1845-1852), is the second volume of a comprehensive two-volume study of the Great Famine in Killala diocese – the first of which Ocras, The Great Famine in Killala Diocese (1845-52), written by Fr Brendan Hoban.
While Ocras presented a general account of what happened year by year (1845-1852) in Killala diocese, On Our Knees relates the Famine history of each of the 22 parishes.
Historians of the Great Irish Famine (1845-1852) have long lamented the lack of local research reflected in the dearth of regional studies of the most traumatic event in Irish history. Local historians, in their perceived reluctance to devote their
attention to the Famine and its complex legacy, have sometimes unintentionally confirmed an impression that the crisis was less severe in such unresearched
The reality is that, for example, the Great Famine in north Connaught – especially north Mayo and west Sligo, effectively Killala diocese – was just as severe as in places like Skibbereen. But, until now, that story has not been told.
In On Our Knees, in the detail gleaned from a generous archive, the horror of the Famine emerges in the lived experiences of the people: the conditions in which they lived; the personal, social and poverty constraints they laboured under; the horrors they experienced; the fevers they were prone to; their efforts to stay alive; the deaths they endured.
On Our Knees chronicles the agony and the anguish of the Famine years in Killala diocese in chilling detail. This was the way it was.