Angela's Ashes

McCourt Family

Frank's Birth


Frank McCourt is born in Brooklyn, New York

First Brother


Frank's first brother Malachy born

Twin Brothers are born


Frank's twin brothers Oliver and Eugene are born; Malachy Sr gets a job

Margaret's death


Frank's sister Margaret dies at 8 weeks old; Angela suffers from depression and Malachy Sr continues drinking to cope; Family picks up and moves to Limerick, Ireland

Tragedy Strikes


Family suffers from bad poverty; Almost a year after Margaret's death, Frank's brother Oliver dies

Frank Starting School


Frank and brother Malachy start at Leamy's National School



Frank has his first communion, a big step in the catholic faith. This was important to Angela that the children learn and are familiar with their faith.

Eugene Dies


Eugene dies; Malachy Sr continues to drink heavily to deal with everything. This is accompanied by continued depression for Angela and stress from poverty. The family is too saddened by the reminder of the children's deaths that they pack up and move to Roden Lane.

Continued Struggles


McCourt family has little food and clothes and lose their home.

Frank's Illness


At age 11 Frank is diagnosed with Typhoid fever after he gets a nosebleed at his confirmation. He is hospitalized for two weeks.

Malachy Sr looks for work


Frank's father left Limerick to find work in the factories in Coventry, England. He rarely sends money back to the family who are severely stricken with poverty.

Frank ejected from school


Frank is ejected from school at 13 by the Irish Christian Brothers even though he had top class writing skills

Frank goes to work


Frank begins work as a telegram boy. Also begins stealing food so he and his family can survive.

Frank makes a discovery


Frank is asked by Mrs. Finucane who he delivered telegrams to to write bullying letters to people who owed her money. He realizes his skill in writing can be useful in making money for he and his family.

Back to America


Frank McCourt travels back to America using money saved from working at the post office to live and work in New York at the age of 19. He would send back some of his wages to Limerick to help his mother.

Events in history

Great Depression in America

1929 - 1934

America is going through the great depression which greatly affected the McCourts while in New York

Constitution of Eire


Constitution of Eire. This recognized the Catholic Church as the main church/majority religion, although it wasn't ‘established’. This was a compromise after great pressure from the Catholic church; Irish nationalism, despite the creed laid out by Wolfe Tone, is in practice tied in with Catholicism. The state was named ‘Eire’ and claimed sovereignty over the whole island. The only reason Eire was not referred to as a Republic in the constitution was because this would have made the Northern Ireland problem harder to resolve. The British Crown was now only a ‘symbol of co-operation’ between Britain, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand etc. The British government accepted this.

Constitution of Ireland


The Constitution of Ireland is adopted by referendum, establishing a parliamentary government. Office would have a directly elected president.

End of "Economic war"


Britain gave up rights to Treaty ports and ended the ‘economic war’.

Unfairness in Northern Ireland


In Northern Ireland, 87% of rural houses had no running water. 45% of deaths in the 15 – 25 age range were down to TB. There was discrimination against Catholics, although the Unionist politicians denied it. Londonderry was the worst. Its population was 60% Catholic/Nationalist, but the Corporation of Londonderry was only 40% Catholic/Nationalist. Jobs were also allocated unfairly.



Second world war begins. Britain declared war on Nazi Germany. The Republic of Ireland, remaining neutral, declared an Emergency.

German Bombing


Belfast and Derry both suffered from German bombing, incurring 900 casualties.

End of WWII


End of second world war

Irish Free State


The Irish Free State officially becomes the Republic of Ireland. This act cut the remaining connections to the Crown and to the British Commonwealth.

Republic of Ireland Act


Republic of Ireland Act came into effect officially on Easter Day 1949.