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Founded on Fear

Founded On Fear: Letterfrack Industrial School, War And Exile


This is a memoir of Peter Tyrrell's seven years in Letterfrack Industrial School in the 1920s and early 30s. It recounts his impoverished upbringing and the abuse that he and others suffered at the hands of the Christian Brothers. It gives an impression of the day-to-day life of the inmates in Letterfrack and the misery of their lives. In the final three chapters it also tells us what happened in his life after Letterfrack, his entry into the British Army, his time in a POW camp in World War Two Germany and his subsequent years spent travelling around England as a tailor to trade with his fellow Irish emigrants. The book is written in a fluid and often very childish style, but it is vivid and deeply moving. It engages the reader in its descriptions of the harsh regime at the school, the pen portraits of the children, staff and locals and the picture of life in Mayo and Galway in the 1920s. In addition to the story of Peter Tyrrell's life, the book is important for the story of the manuscript and its place in Irish history. Peter Tyrrell contacted Senator Owen Sheehy Skeffington in 1959 as a result of the high-profile condemnation by Sheehy Skeffington of Ireland's educational system, and its pathological reliance on punishment. Tyrrell wrote to him about his experiences in Letterfrack and he was encouraged to put it down on paper. The correspondence had tailed off by 1968 when Skeffington received a letter from Scotland Yard asking him to identify a half-torn card addressed to him in Tyrrell's hand. The card had been found next to the charred remains of an unidentified corpse of a man who had apparently burned himself alive on Hampstead Heath the previous year. This scrap of paper was the only means of identifying Tyrrell's body. His manuscript was never published and it remained in Skeffington's private papers until Diarmuid Whelan discovered it in 2004 when archiving the Sheehy Skeffington collection for the National Library of Ireland. ?



  • Condition: --
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
    • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
    • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Paperback
  • Sold by: --
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Irish Academic Pr
  • ISBN-13: 9780716534037
  • ISBN: 0716534037
  • Publication Year: 2006
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HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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