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  • Location: Dublin

The Pull of the Stars

The Pull of the Stars

Why a Booktrail?

1918: The old world dying on its feet, a new one struggling to be born . . .


  • ISBN: 978-1529046151
  • Genre: Historical

What you need to know before your trail

Dublin, 1918. In a country doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city centre, where expectant mothers who have come down with an unfamiliar flu are quarantined together. Into Julia’s regimented world step two outsiders: Doctor Kathleen Lynn, on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney.

In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over the course of three days, these women change each other’s lives in unexpected ways. They lose patients to this baffling pandemic, but they also shepherd new life into a fearful world. With tireless tenderness and humanity, carers and mothers alike somehow do their impossible work.

Travel Guide

Visit Dublin with Emma Donoghue

The author writes:

The Influenza pandemic of 1918 killed more people than the first world war – an estimated 3 to 6% of the human race. This novel is a fiction pulled together with facts. Almost all details of Bridie Sweeney’s life are drawn from the rather less harrowing testimonies in the 2009 Ryan report on Irish residential institutions.

Julia Power and the other character are invented with the exception of Doctor Kathleen Lynn (1874 – 1955). In 1918, Lynn was arrested as Vice President of Sinn Fein’s Executive and their Director of Public Health. the major of Dublin had here released however so she could keep combating the flu epidemic she had set up in Charlemont Street. She later went on to found the children’s hospital of St Ultan’s.

Influenza viruses were only identified from 1933 with the help of new technology and the first of the flu vaccine which help people today was developed in 1938.

BookTrail Boarding Pass: The Pull of the Stars

Destination/location: Dublin   Author/guide: Emma Donoghue Departure Time: 1918

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