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  • Published: 1 September 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407036410
  • Imprint: Transworld Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 352

Founded on Fear




Tragic and deeply moving account of one man's experience of institutional abuse at the hands of the Christian Brothers.

I warn society against the child who has been hurt
Peter Tyrrell

A tormented childhood in Letterfrack industrial school with the Christian Brothers left an enduring mark on Peter Tyrrell. Ignored by the authorities and distressed by his memories, he later burned himself to death on Hampstead Heath in London. His story of horrific abuse is told with childlike simplicity, penned in a series of letters to Senator Owen Sheehy Skeffington. Bringing to life, with touching sincerity, a shocking reality where beatings of children as young as five were commonplace, this startling account may have gone unpublished if not for its chance discovery amongst Skeffington's papers. At last, Peter Tyrrell has been given a voice.

Tyrrell never recovered from the abuse that he suffered, yet was determined that his story should be heard. His memoir makes for harrowing yet extraordinarily compelling reading. It is impossible not to be touched.

  • Published: 1 September 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407036410
  • Imprint: Transworld Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 352

About the authors

Peter Tyrrell

Peter Tyrrell was born in 1916 into an impoverished family in the west of Ireland. Sent at the age of eight into the care of the Christian Brothers at Letterfrack Industrial School, he suffered appallingly from the brutality of the school's regime. This was to be the defining period of his life and informed everything that followed. His account of his time in Letterfrack and his later life was originally told in a series of letters to the sympathetic senator, Owen Sheehy Skeffington. Having never fully escaped the horrors of his childhood, Tyrrell tragically ended his own life in 1967.
His compelling memoir, Founded on Fear, was edited by Dr Diarmuid Whelan.

Diarmuid Whelan

Diarmuid Whelan discovered Peter Tyrrell's writings in 2003 while working in the archives of the National Library of Ireland and the results formed the basis of Tyrrell's subsequent memoir, Founded on Fear. He was a lecturer in International Politics in the Department of History, University College Cork, where he taught on terrorism, international relations and decolonization. He wrote The Coldest Eye a study of Conor Cruise O'Brien.

Praise for Founded on Fear

He has articulated the grief and fear of something like 30,000 men and woman who will never forget the experiences they had. They have badly needed this unforgettable testimony. But we should all welcome it, and read it.

Irish Independent

Vivid and deeply moving...one man's personal journey from an unforgiving past to an uncertain future

Dr Michael Kennedy, RIA, Executive Editor, Documents on Irish Foreign Policy

The authenticity and simple eloquence of this work makes it compelling, if dark, reading. The text cries out to Heaven! It holds up a mirror to official Ireland, the Irish state and the Catholic Church...Read it, and weep.

Professor Dermot Keogh

This harrowingly honest book could never have been published in Tyrrell's lifetime. The least we owe to his memory is not to ignore it now.

Dermot Bolger, Sunday Business post

A remarkable book

Mary Raftery, The Irish Times

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