Based on a true story, this is a heart-rending and poignant tale of crushing loss and enduring love, a homage to one man’s struggle against overwhelming injustice.

Tucked away in the mountains in a corner of Ireland Michael Sweeney thought he was safe from the forces that raged beyond the quiet confines of his life. The inequalities of a class-ridden society, a country hurtling headlong towards civil war and a continent ripping itself apart were nothing to do with him. Though he asked little of the world it came crashing down upon him, hissing and snarling, to claim all he held dear. There is a limit to the loss that a heart can endure but its capacity for love is infinite, and that can never be taken away.


It was only when I moved to Ireland that I discovered a family history I had been unaware of. Michael Sweeney was my great-grandfather, a simple man who fell prey to a series of extraordinary events at a turbulent time in history, whose destiny was shaped by the ambition and bigotry of others. The narrative of his life is at times harrowing and there is a pervading sense of loss, but there is also an underlying warmth; the suffering is tempered by humour and there is love and joy amidst the hatred and pain. It is a tale that needed to be told.

I grew up in Birmingham, U.K., the son of Irish parents, and after a career in the public sector I moved to Ballingeary, County Cork, Ireland, the village that my grandfather came from. It was here that I discovered a family history that I was unaware of, secrets that had never been shared and an event so shocking that even to this day people are reluctant to discuss it. It was a story that I felt needed to be told.