The Shannon family left Ireland in 1815; they were escaping from the heavy yoke which had oppressed Irish families for centuries - starvation and enslavement by a foreign power, England. They set out on an uncertain journey from Ireland to Scotland, and then to Northumberland, a journey which many Irish people had travelled since the times of the early missionaries. The Shannons' story records the hardships and prejudice that immigrants have suffered entering a new country, and the benefits which their new communities have gained from their collective efforts. The Irish have made a major contribution to the gaining of basic rights of education and safe working and living conditions. The evolution of mining and engineering power is a strand that has weaved itself through the fabric of the Shannons' lives. However nations' abusive use of power has resulted in the devastation of the lives of many innocent people, and still continues. The present use of child labour remains a scar on our civilisation.