Mary Doherty

Carndonagh, County Donegal, Ireland history comes alive in new Doherty book

Family is everything to Mary “Hudie” Doherty and she tells her life story through that prism with grace, humor, and love.  Author Eva Doherty Gremmert captures the post-famine rural Irish life of Mary in her new book, A Cottage in Donegal: Mary Doherty’s Story.

Deep wounds of emigration are just under the surface and though healing does occur, the scars are never quite gone.  It is difficult to completely grasp what this Irish mother felt as her children and grandchildren grew up thousands of miles away in Eastern Oregon, USA.  However, this sweeping view of a life well lived shows how emigration hits the family hard as all 10 children go to America and only two return to Carndonagh.  For example, Eva’s grandmother Rose, Mary “Hudie” Doherty’s daughter, emigrated to Oregon in 1911 when she was 20 years of age and never returned to Ireland.  The opposites of joy and sorrow, life and death, health and sickness, poverty and wealth are all intertwined in this magnificent work.

Sean Beattie, editor of the Donegal Historical Society Annual says, “The book is very readable and a nice length.  A good human interest story with good insight into 19th century life.  I think that it conveys an accurate description of life in the period.”  Doherty Gremmert has captured the nuances of rural life in eloquently written passages that speak to the heart.

The book includes many photographs, including family portraits taken in Derry City in 1903, as well as local landscapes taken by the author.  It also contains beautifully detailed illustrations created by Eva’s sister, Rosie Doherty Gremmert.  There is a fine glossary of terms as well as a compendium of herbal medicine that is truly fascinating.

Researched and written over  four years, this book is a historically accurate presentation of the living conditions, customs, mores, and lifestyles of the day from famine times to Mary’s death in 1932.  Doherty Gremmert made several research trips to Ireland, traveling on location, interviewing historians and the older generation who still remember the stories their grannies told them.  Readers will find heartwarming and heartrending stories taken from the Irish life that so many lived in that time and era.

Life in Ireland began to unfold for author Eva Doherty Gremmert in 1985, when she traveled to Inishowen for the first time to attend the O’Dochartaigh Clann Worldwide Reunion with her father and uncle, and her two sisters.  Since 2001, Doherty Gremmert has been the coordinator of that event.

The sights and sounds, scents and foods, brogues and laughter, music and dancing held her spellbound from the moment she set foot in Ireland.  She felt as if she had come home.

Since those wonderful first days, she has put down deep roots in the community from which her grandparents emigrated so long ago.  Innumerable trips have now come and gone.  Professionally she is a genealogist specializing in Irish research and her own family tree is filled with stories of the old times, the famine times, the ways and means by which the family endured and prospered.  Eva has collected books, periodicals, letters, photos, and keepsakes that create a tapestry of Irish life in the towns and town lands of the ancestors she holds dear. From a wealth of detailed research and family stories, comes this story of Mary “Hudie” Doherty, Eva’s great grandmother.  This is Eva’s first work of historical fiction.

The book is available for purchase online in both paperback and Kindle format.


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