Friday 1 April 2016


Reader Sarah grew up in Ireland but now lives in South Carolina, USA. She has written a heartbreaking story about the Irish famine of the 1840s, a period of time when the potato harvest failed for several years. Many Irish were almost solely dependent on the potato for food; Britain ruled Ireland at this time, and Irish grain and other crops went on being exported in spite of the famine. Roughly one million people starved to death and another million emigrated. 

Sarah's famine story takes the form of letters from a daughter (Fiona) to her mother, who has passed away, leaving Fiona to care for her four younger siblings. Fiona writes letters to her mother and leaves them under an oak tree...

Dear Mother,
Katie passed away last night. I stayed with her until the end. She looked me in the eyes and asked me to sing for her - I said yes, of course. I sang the lullaby you used to sing to me. Katie left me in the middle of the song, but I did not stop singing the lullaby for her. My throat was dry as soon as the song was over and I sobbed loudly. 

The others ran down the stairs to see what was wrong. They looked down at Katie's frail little body, and we sat around by the firelight for what felt like years, the tears pouring down our faces. The twins eventually fell asleep on the worn couch. I carried them up the stairs and tucked them in. 

I went downstairs after everyone was asleep. I spoke to Katie's little body, thanking her for all that she has done for me and telling her what a lovely, sweet person she was. I choked up halfway through and just sat there sobbing. I then just walked upstairs to my room to find Sandra asleep in my bed. I snuggled up next to her, my heart aching for Katie. We are having her burial service tomorrow. 

God save us from this dreadful famine...

Love you always,
Fiona xxx

Cathy says:
Wow... a very powerful and emotional story extract from Sarah, who is just eleven years old! Did YOU know about the Irish famine? And did you enjoy this extract from Sarah's story? 
COMMENT BELOW to have your say!


  1. I am from Ireland so I know a lot about the famine as we learn about it in school.This extract from Sarah is amazing

  2. Wow! This is heart wrenching! How amazing , Sarah you are an amazing writer x

  3. I read a book about it... Under The Hawthorn Tree.....



Reader Emily, aged ten, explains how a Cathy Cassidy book inspired her to raise money for a refugee charity... Emily says: The Cathy Cassidy...