Galway Bay

Galway Bay

Book - 2009
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Here at last is one Irish family's epic journey, capturing the tragedy and triumph of the Irish-American experience. In a rousing tale that echoes the myths and legends of Ireland herself, young Honora Keeley and Michael Kelly wed and start a family, inhabiting a hidden Ireland where fishermen and tenant farmers find solace in their ancient faith, songs, stories, and communal celebrations. Selling both their catch--and their crops--to survive, these people subsist on the potato crop--their only staple food. But when blight destroys the potatoes three times in four years, a callous government and uncaring landlords turn a natural disaster into The Great Starvation that will kill one million. Honora and Michael vow their children will live. The family joins two million other Irish refugees in one of the greatest rescues in human history: the Irish Emigration to America. Danger and hardship await them there. Honora and her unconventional sister Maire watch their seven sons as they transform Chicago from a frontier town to the "City of the Century", fight the Civil War, and enlist in the cause of Ireland's freedom. The Kelly clan is victorious. This heroic story sheds brilliant light on the ancestors of today's 44 million Irish Americans.

In the author's colorful and eclectic life, she has written and directed award-winning documentaries on Irish subjects, as well as the dramatic feature Proud. She's been an associate producer on Good Morning America and Saturday Night Live, written books on Martin Scorsese, World War II, and Bosnia, and a novel based on her experiences as a former nun - Special Intentions. She is a frequent contributor to Irish America Magazine and has a PhD in English and Irish literature.
Publisher: New York : Grand Central Pub., 2009.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780446579001
Branch Call Number: KELLY M
Characteristics: 567 pages ; 24 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

ChristchurchLib Mar 28, 2016

In 1839, 17-year-old Honora Keeley is on the verge of entering a convent when a handsome man emerges from Galway Bay and sweeps her off her feet. It's love at first sight for blacksmith Michael Kelly as well, and the couple marries and settles down to a life of farming. Then the potato blight arrives, causing widespread famine and death. Could emigrating to America save Honora and her growing family?

Aug 03, 2014

Highly recommend this book! The story kept me enthralled right to the very end.
Although a tragic story of famine, disease and war,many heart warming moments relieve the bleakness and despair of the Great Starvation.

Oct 06, 2013

This book will grip you from the beginning! It is the story of a family's struggles during the great Irish famine and how they handled all the horrors that struck them. The characters are well defined and you will feel like you know them personally. They have triumphs and tragedy through the years. You will see what family meant to them and what they were willing to do to survive.It spans several generations as they immigrate to America and what awaits them. It is a wonderful, sad, beautiful book, guaranteed to make you grateful for what you have. Highly recommend this book!

Mar 30, 2009

The idea of this book intrigued me, as my g-g-grandmother immigrated from Galway. However, I was not prepared for a 550 page long "sweeping family saga"! As one Amazon reviewer wrote: "Galway Bay is many stories - a love story, a story of the history of Ireland and the Great Starvation, a story of courage, faith, devotion, family, community and the undying spirit of a land and it's people."
The detail & history of the 'before times' & the 'great starvation' was overwhelming. I personally felt it was too much for me! Beautifully written, I would have been happier if it were broken up into a series of books rather than one large one. Especially since once they arrive in the US, there seemed to be fewer details.

It would be nice if there were a TOC, to show that there was a glossary of Irish terms at the back of the book! It would also be nice to have an appendix which listed what parts & people in the story are actually true.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at LPL

To Top