The Paradise Tree

The Paradise Tree: A Novel - Elena Maria Vidal

The Paradise Tree by Elena Maria Vidal is a story inspired by the author's great-great-great grandfather Daniel O'Connor. He is a young man who immigrated from Ireland in 1821. A very sad time I think for those left behind, even though I am sure most of the families wished the people good luck with the hopes that the person who immigrated sends for them. Doesn't always happen that way though. Daniel does not know if he will ever see his siblings and mother again. Daniel immigrated to Ontario, Canada and worked hard and saved what he earned so he could purchase land to start a homestead. After a few years, when he felt that he is established enough to marry, he meets a 16 year old Irish girl, Brigit Trainor. Of Catholic faith, there is no escaping the persecution of Catholics by Protestants, Daniel sticks to what he believes in and raises his family of 11 children to also stay true to their faith. The enforcement of the Penal Code to the Irish, in Ireland and in Canada was a terrible thing but the Irish persevered and learned to love and respect the land they had and lived their lives as such according to their faith.


This is a story full of love, laughter and sadness. This is a  telling of a great Irish stories of a virtuous man who became the patriarch of the O'Connors. I love to read any stories of Irish immigrants, I often wish I knew more about mine, and this story was no exception. This is not only the story of the O'Connor family but of every person, man, woman or child that immigrated in these tough times.


Did you know that 

  • Under the Penal Laws the Irish Catholic was forbidden the exercise of their religion.  It.....
  •   was forbidden to receive education.
  •   was forbidden to enter a profession.
  •   was forbidden to hold public office.
  •   was forbidden to engage in trade or commerce.
  •   was forbidden to live in a corporate town or within five miles thereof.
  •   was forbidden to own a horse of greater value than five pounds.
  •   was forbidden to own land.
  •   was forbidden to lease land.
  •   was forbidden to accept a mortgage on land in security for a loan.
  •   was forbidden to vote.
  •   was forbidden to keep any arms for his protection.
  •   was forbidden to hold a life annuity.
  •   was forbidden to buy land from a Protestant.
  •   was forbidden to receive a gift of land from a Protestant.
  •   was forbidden to inherit land from a Protestant.
  •   was forbidden to inherit anything from a Protestant.
  •   was forbidden to rent any land that was worth more than 30 shillings a year.
  •   was forbidden to reap from his land any profit exceeding a third of the rent.
  •   could not be guardian to a child.
  •   could not, when dying, leave his infant children under Catholic guardianship.
  •   could not attend Catholic worship.
  •   was compelled by law to attend Protestant worship.
  •   could not himself educate his child.
  •   could not send his child to a Catholic teacher.
  •   could not employ a Catholic teacher to come to his child.
  •   could not send his child abroad to receive education. ..source.. Irish Memorial Stones

Wow, what a terrible way to have to live because of your faith. I think that Elena Maria Vidal in doing the amount of research that she did into her families background, and end up telling the story with the grace and respect that she did is truly the mark of a great storyteller. Give this awesome book a read!