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The book tells the story of the intertwining lives of the following families: the Larkins and O'Neills, Catholic hill farmers from the fictional town of Ballyutogue in County Donegal; the Macleods, Protestant shipyard workers from Belfast; and the Hubbles. The book describes a number of historical events; from the Great Famine up until the Easter Rising in 1916.
The story opens with the funeral of Kilty Larkin, father of Tomas and grandfather of Conor. Amidst the ancient Irish Catholic mourning process, Conor has a vision of the town storyteller who tells Conor of the history of the Fenians, a rebel group from the early 19th century. This stirs the fire of rebellion in the now 12 year old Conor Larkin, and sets him onto the path for freedom for his Irish people.
Soon after this, Seamus O'Neill, Conor's best friend, began school in town under a Protestant named Mr. Ingram. Conor, needed at home, helped his father in the fields, until he became an apprentice at a black smith shop. As the years passed the boys became friends with Mr. Ingram, who taught them of the power of books and the history of their Irish forefathers.
Seamus goes to college in Belfast, and Conor heads to Derry, in the province of Ulster. (NOTE: Conor was born and raised in the "province of Ulster", for County Donegal is one of its nine counties!) Here he moves into Bogside and witnesses the extent of the disaster that has befallen the Irish people. Bogside is in tatters and in a state of despair that has stricken them since before the potato famine in 1845 and 1852. Held down by the Protestant reign in Derry's labor unions, the Catholics are dying slowly without hope.
It is here in Derry where Conor discovers other like-minded Irish tired of the oppression of the Catholics by the British and Protestants. This small group, with the support of the few Irish politicians, will become the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the roots of Sinn Féin, and the whisper of freedom throughout Ireland.
Uris, Leon (1976). Trinity: A Novel of Ireland. Doubleday.
The sequel, Redemption, completes many loose ends in the saga.
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