Book on The Great Famine in West Waterford Republished

Originally published in 1996, the book “Desperate Haven” is the definitive study to date of the Great Famine and its effects on the towns and villages of West Waterford. This long out-of-print and much sought-after volume was the product of more than five years of research by Dungarvan Museum Society (now Waterford County Museum). Written by William Fraher, Bernadette Sheridan, Seosaimh O Loinsigh and Willie Whelan this book is now available to purchase online from Amazon.

(Left: Aerial photo of Dungarvan Workhouse (now Dungarvan Community Hospital) by Eddie Dee.)

It might seem a strange time to publish a book on one of the most depressing events in Waterford history, but as the Coronavirus Pandemic continues the similarities and differences with our great 19th-century tragedy are becoming clear. Doctors, nurses, carers and Dungarvan Community Hospital are once again at the forefront of the state’s response. What was once a workhouse is now a medical facility, still tasked with caring for the most vulnerable in society. In the pages of “Desperate Haven” there is tragedy, but also heroism, self-sacrifice, generosity and community spirit. The story of how our ancestors overcame the cataclysm deserves to be told and their names deserve to be remembered. Localities covered in the book include Dungarvan, Abbeyside, Ardmore, Grange, Kinsalebeg, Clashmore, Aglish, Whitechurch, Modeligo, Colligan, Seskinane, Kilgobnet, Kilrossanty, Fews, Stradbally, & Ballylaneen.


This paperback book is priced at circa €18.50 and the digital version is priced at €9.10 (free to Amazon Prime members) both available to buy online from or etc. Search for “desperate haven waterford”. If you cannot shop online get in touch with the museum via leaving your contact details and we can order a copy for distribution to you once the Covid 19 epidemic allows. All profits go towards supporting Waterford County Museum.

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Tags: Ancestry, Books, Family History, Genealogy


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