Hereafter: A striking tapestry woven of research and speculation

Poet Vona Groarke revisits her emigrant great grandmother’s life, both real and imagined, in this genre-defying narrative

Poet Vona Groarke: uses a mix of historical records, prose and poetry to both recount and imagine her great grandmother’s life

Between 1880 and 1890, almost one million people left Ireland. One of those emigrants was Ellen O’Hara. From the village of Glenavoo (Glen of Ghosts) in Co Sligo, Ellen grew up with her 11 siblings in a two-room thatched cottage. For her, the word “abroad” meant Galway. Yet in 1882, against a backdrop of poor harvests, evictions and agrarian violence, Ellen, aged 20 and travelling alone, climbed on to a ship in Queenstown and sailed ...