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 mines of America and the railways and building sites of England. But hunger still stalked them. 'Cold is the Dawn' follows these men and women and their bitter fight for survival in Ireland, England and America.
Charles Egan was born in Nottingham, England, of Irish parents. When he was five, the family returned to Ireland, as his father had been appointed Resident Medical Superintendent of St. Luke's, a psychiatric hospital in Clonmel, in County Tipperary. Every summer they visited his father's family's farm, outside Kiltimagh in County Mayo for a month, where his grandmother and uncles spent many evenings, talking about family and local history. The family subsequently moved to County Wicklow, where he initially attended the De La Salle Brothers School in Wicklow town. He then went to the Jesuits' Clongowes Wood College (James Joyce's alma mater), and subsequently studied Commerce in University College Dublin, graduating in 1973. After an initial career in the private sector, including Marubeni Dublin, (where he met his future wife, Carmel), he joined the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) in Dublin. After a few years, the desire to be his own boss, led him to resign and set up his own business, which ran for 30 years. Apart from business, his main interests are history, film and worldwide travel.