The story of the Jeanie Johnston unfolds during a tragic period in Irish history - the Great Famine of 1845 - 1849. Sweeping through Ireland it decimated the population, killing over a million people and forcing twice that number to emigrate to Britain, North America and other parts of the world in sailing ships like the Jeanie Johnston. Constructed in Quebec in 1847 the ship made 16 voyages from Tralee across the North Atlantic, conveying over 2,500 Irish emigrants to the United States and Canada without a single loss of life. Commemorating the Famine, the replica was built in Kerry and launched in May 2000. From 2002 to 2008 she sailed around Ireland, to Britain, France, Spain and to the USA and Canada. The author's striking photographs are enhanced by a comprehensive historical background written by Helen O'Carroll, Curator of Kerry County Museum and the original researcher for the project. Fred Walker, the ship's architect, writes about the design and construction of the vessel while Captain Michael Coleman writes about sailing a Tall Ship in the modern era. The ship is now a moored, floating museum on the River Liffey in Dublin.
The Jeanie Johnston replica has become one of the most visible icons of the Great Famine and the book will resonate with all who have sailed on her, know of her role in Ireland's history and have a general interest in maritime affairs.
Michael English was born in Liverpool and first became interested in photography when given a used Zeiss Icon Nettar camera. He studied art in Cork before completing a BA course in graphic design in Liverpool. Returning to Ireland, he worked in Dublin in advertising and design for several years before setting up his own company, Black Mountain Design. He keeps an active interest in photography and in 2005 sailed on the Jeanie Johnston for the first time and documented what happened as a personal record.