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Item : No Fighting Chance
CAD $ 9.99

In the early spring of 1833, two hundred Irish emigrants boarded a Canadian-bound brig hoping to start life afresh in North America. They understood they would be confronting great challenges when they arrived-finding employment, settling into a congenial community-and these thoughts occupied their collective discussions in the weeks leading up to their voyage.

Their immediate apprehension though, was the safe passage in a fragile-looking sailing ship across the formidable North Atlantic. Although they expected the experience to be unfamiliar and uncomfortable, the assumption was they would be safely delivered to their destination seven to eight weeks later. That was not to be and most would perish.


 No Fighting Chance, Ireland’s Lady of the Lake Disaster of 1833
retells the story of the "Little Titanic" because of its similar encounter with an iceberg in the area where both ships rest today.  However what distinguishes the Lady of the Lake disaster are the actions of the Scottish commander, Captain Grant. His intoxication at that time of the collision and his ill treatment of survivors in the days therafter (including the possible murdered of some) lend a more sinister aspect to the event. 

But the book is not solely about the shipwreck itself. It describes the circumstances of the 1830's that forced these emigrants to pull up roots from their humble villages and towns- a decade before the Great Famine. Their collective stories are retold through period correspondence, newspaper accounts and other reference materials. Their hopes, fears, aspirations and challenges are presented in many of the chapters.

For over 180 years the names of the victims have been lost to time. However, through my research I was able to discover the names of all of the passengers and to merge this information with other sources.  In doing so, I believe I have created the only accurate listing of the Irish families who were aboard the ship, information which would be invaluable to the larger genealogical community. Although their names of the victims have been discovered their individual stories have not yet been found.

As for the format of the book, it is not typical for reporting a shipwreck and the passengers aboard.

Each chapter of No Fighting Chance leads off with a one page excerpt from the namesake narrative poem- Lady of the Lake- which was written by Sir Walter Scott twenty years prior to the disaster.  The chapter passages selected in the book appear to foreshadow the tragedy at sea in 1833.

The book also adds a short but interesting dimension at the end of each chapter. In the spring of 1833, another significant Irish tragedy occurred but this time not at sea. It resulted from the longest recorded professional prizefight in boxing history-lasting 99 rounds and stretching over three hours -where the Irish champion would lose his bare-fisted bout to a Scot. The loss was bad enough, but Simon Byrne would die from "mortification" two days later.


The poem excerpts and the round by round descriptions were added to provide a deeper sense of loss Ireland experienced at that time.

Finally, my sincere hope is that No Fighting Chance will provide the impetus for learning about the individuals and families that were lost in the tragedy. I invite readers to share the stories of the heroes, villains, and the innocent passengers aboard the Lady of the Lake and complete their genealogical and biographical backgrounds.  An interactive website that has been created for this purpose. I believe it is important that those lost in 1833 be honored today and not lost to time...pgs 209  (Surname List)