One fateful morning in August 1846, Patrick Feeney surveyed his ruined potato crop - and for the first time knew despair. With a delicate wife and their unborn child, he had no choice but to leave that wild and beautiful corner of Ireland and set out for England in search of work. But from the moment Patrick and Mary set foot in Liverpool, they are beset by new trials. After tramping the long, weary miles to York, they are forced to settle in the nightmarish slums of Walmgate, where disease and death are rife. Yet the very poverty and hopelessness of their surroundings bind the small community together in a stubborn determination to survive through tragedy and win for themselves a better life.