Tag Archives: Declan O’Rourke Mary Kate

Declan O’Rourke Mary Kate

Declan O’Rourke Mary Kate

As much as we listeners might want to skirt the pain and however gently O’Rourke  presents “Mary Kate” to us, it is an arrow to the heart.


Harp dominates. Acoustic guitar accompanies. O’Rouke’s voice holds us by the hand but be forewarned.


Declan O’Rourke Mary Kate

There is hope, but the unnamed sister is at a crossroads. Children should not have to make such decisions. Children should not have to be in a position to make such decisions. No sister, no orphaned sister, should have to leave behind her sister. 

Declan O’Rourke Mary Kate

With Britain’s deliberate inefficient policy to deal with the Great Famine’s starvation, the cold choice to deport the problem became a solution. Deport the young women from the horrors of the workhouse to Australia where Britain had already deported its felons.

Declan O'Rourke Mary Kate
by Unknown photographer,photograph,1860s

Henry Grey, the British Secretary of State for the Colonies came up with the idea that these young women could settle with these felons and make a good wife or a good servant (likely both).

Declan O’Rourke Mary Kate

Records hardly exist about these young women, but we know that the policy,  in reality, forced many of these women into prostitution or abusive relationships merely to survive a different famine.  A famine of hopelessness in an unknown land as far from home as one could possibly be.


And whether any sister ever saw her sister Kate again or earned the money to send for his sister Kate is a story for which you can write the ending.


Declan O'Rourke Mary Kate


 

And Too-ria my Mary Kate

Forever now seet Mary Kate

you won’t see Australia

And we won’t meet in this life again.


Declan O’Rourke Mary Kate

There are those today who are trying to memorialize these young women, trying to have history remember them. (Irish Times article)



 

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