Dr. Cian T. McMahon has written a groundbreaking work of transnational history, and offers a vibrant, fresh perspective on an often ignored but vital component of the migration experience: the journey itself.
Between 1845 and 1855, over two million people fled Ireland to escape the Great Famine and begin new lives abroad. The so-called “coffin ships” they embarked on have since become infamous icons of nineteenth-century migration. Based on archival research on three continents and written in clear, crisp prose, The Coffin Ship analyzes the emigrants’ own letters and diaries to unpack the dynamic social networks that the Irish built while voyaging overseas. At every stage of the journey - including the treacherous weeks at sea - these migrants created new threads in the worldwide web of the Irish diaspora.