New book about 19th century Carnew lady:
Rising from Obscurity chronicles a rural Irish woman’s life from 1863 to 1939 as it unfolded across two continents. This book will be of particular interest to those with Irish ancestors who were her contemporaries. Indeed, details about Irish life and genealogical research are woven into the narrative.
Harriet was born in County Sligo in 1863, two years ahead of William Butler Yeats. Ireland’s emerging railroad system allowed her family to move all over Ireland as her Schoolmaster father moved from job to job. She married in Dublin the year James Joyce was born in that city. Her father and her husband’s father had served together as vestryman at their church in Shillelagh when Harriet and her future spouse were yet children.
Harriet spent the longest period of her life in County Wicklow, principally living in Shillelagh and Carnew from the ages of seven to fifty. She spent forty years raising her ten surviving children (of thirteen born) with her blind spouse (the first child, born just eleven months after her marriage, died two hours after an unattended birth). Stories survive of her reading turn-of-the-century news about the Boer War to an illiterate neighbour in Carnew, County Wicklow.
Harriet emigrated to America in 1913, the year after the Titanic sank. She died in 1939, the day the Soviets invaded Poland. Two of her grandsons participated in D-Day, while another participated in the invasion of Japan.
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