Irish Graphic novel launched at Quinnipiac University

Irish Graphic novel launched at Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac University history professor Christine Kinealy co-authors graphic novel, ‘The Bad Times: An Drochshaol’

Christine Kinealy, founding director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University, and John A. Walsh, illustrator and graphic novelist, have co-authored the graphic novel, “The Bad Times: An Drochshaol.”

“The Bad Times” tells the tale of the Great Hunger, from the point of view of three teenagers and their dog, Cú, from Kilkee, County Clare in the west of Ireland.

The graphic novel’s official launch was Jan. 20 at the office of Barbara Jones, consul general of Ireland in New York. It is available at

The Great Hunger refers to a tragic period in Irish history when more than one million people died of famine or famine-related diseases. Many Irish speakers simply referred to this calamity as “an drochshaol,” which roughly translates as “the bad times.”

Irish Graphic novel launched at Quinnipiac University
Bad Times authors Christine Kinealy and John A. Walsh

“One of our aims was to bring the story of the Great Hunger to a younger generation,” said Kinealy, who also is a professor of history at Quinnipiac. “It does deal with famine and there is death in it, but we have created something that is very visual and historically accurate. It tells the story of this pivotal event in Irish history in a way that is accessible, attractive and authentic.”

Quinnipiac Press published the novel in collaboration with Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute.

Anne Dichele, professor of education and director of Master of Arts in teaching program at the university, has created a curriculum for middle school students to accompany the graphic novel.

“We think it has a very strong educational dimension,” Kinealy said. “It is a great teaching resource.”

Kinealy is the author of many books on the Irish Famine, including “This Great Calamity: The Irish Famine 1845-52” and “Charity and the Great Hunger in Ireland: The Kindness of Strangers.” She has a PhD from Trinity College in Dublin. She and her children, Siobhán and Ciarán, and puppy, Cú, now live in the United States.

Walsh is the creator of “Go Home Paddy,” a graphic novel that is being serialized online. He lives in Boston with his wife, Rachel, and daughter, Fiona Maeve.

“It is historical fiction, but, most importantly, we tell a good story and from that story there are elements about people who actually existed and places and settings that are real,” Walsh said. “I think we have done a good job of balancing the real and the fictional.”

Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute is a scholarly resource for the study of the Great Hunger. Through a strategic program of lectures, conferences, course offerings and publications, the institute fosters a deeper understanding of this tragedy and its causes and consequences. To encourage original scholarship and meaningful engagement, the institute develops and makes available the Great Hunger Collection, a unique array of primary, secondary and cultural sources, to students and scholars.


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