Launch of Cold is the Dawn by Charles Egan

Charles Egan at his book signing with his wife Carmel and sister in law Patricia Murray


A great night was had by all in the Greystones Library, when I launched my new book Cold is the Dawn. This book is the third in the trilogy of the Great Irish Famine in Co Mayo. Below is an extract from the Bray People who came along on the night.

Charles Egan’s new novel ‘Cold is the Dawn’ had its launch recently at Greystones Library.

Local historian Charles Egan and his wife Carmel live in Greystones.

Cold is the Dawn is the concluding book in his historical fiction trilogy.

Hunger deepened in Ireland in 1848 as the potato crop failed again.

In London, the government, alarmed by austerity in England and revolution in Europe, refused to re-open the soup kitchens in Ireland. But, worse still, they refused to halt food exports from the starving country.

Emigration quickened as many were evicted, and many more fled from a wasted land. They worked the waterfronts and coal mine of America and the railways and building sites of England. But hunger still stalked them. The book follows on from ‘The Killing Snows’ and ‘The Exile Breed’ and is based on the Great Irish Famine.

It follows the stories of a group of characters fighting for survival – both those eking out an existence in Ireland and those forced to flee to England and America where hunger still stalked them as they worked on the waterfronts and coal mines of America and the railways and building sites of England.

Guests at the launch enjoyed a short talk by Charles on the history of the Great Famine in Wicklow in particular, as well as a reading from the book. Charles also signed books for those who had come along to the event.

Bray People


  1. I read all three of the famine books in this series. So phenomenal! My family endured the famine and emigrated to the U,S., so I have an abiding interest in the circumstances which drove them to seek a better life or starve. Compelling reading!

  2. Thank you for writing these books. It makes me very sad and grateful for the suffering my ancestors endured so that we could live! My great grandfather and his brother came to America as young teenage boys. I’ll never be able to imagine the suffering their parents must have experienced to send their children off and never see them again. And it’s amazing that the Irish could prevail through so much misery.
    I am looking forward to any future books you will write to continue the story of the Ryan family.

    1. Hi Rita, and thanks for your kind comments. It’s a story I felt had to be told, though it was very difficult at times. Many people find the strong characters help to bring them through the harder parts of the story, esp. combined with love stories that were actually true (Luke & Winnie. Pat & Sarah). Now excuse me for sending you a semi-standardised response here (I’ve sent it so often), but I’d really appreciate if you could tell everyone – text, share on FB (and tell them to share), and perhaps leave a review on Amazon. I think you’ll agree – this is a story that the whole world should know. Charles.

  3. I have just finished Cold Is The Dawn and I feel like I have lost a part of my family !! Although these books were difficult to read at times, because of the gripping description you gave us of the starvation years, I enjoyed them so much. My own family comes from Clare, Antrim and Cork and I have always had a deep interest in Irish history. I thought I knew about the famine years, but you have brought the true story to life. Thank-you so much.

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