Brian Gallagher
Across the Divide

When Liam, a poor eleven-year-old boy, and Nora, a rich ten-year-old girl meet at a Feis Ceol, an unlikely bond is formed - a bond that leads to a friendship spanning the deeply divided city that was Dublin in 1913.

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240 pages
196x130 mm

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What Happens When Your Best Friend ought to be Your Enemy?

Liam and Nora form an unlikely friendship when he lends her a helping hand during a music competition. Liam's father, a mechanic, is a proud trade union member, while Nora's father is a prosperous wine importer. When Jim Larkin takes on the might of the employers in 1913, resulting in strikes, riots and lockouts, Liam and Nora's friendship is challenged and their loyalties torn.

Caught up in events that they don't fully understand, the two come face to face with hardship and danger, but also find humour and generosity as they set out on an adventure that may make or break their friendship, but will definitely change their lives forever.

The historical events of the Dublin 1913 Lockout vividly portrayed through the lives of two young friends.

BRIAN GALLAGHER was born in Dublin. He is a full-time writer whose plays and short stories have been produced in Ireland, Britain and Canada. He has worked extensively in radio and television, writing many dramas and documentaries.

Brian is the author of four adult novels, and his other books of historical fiction for young readers are One Good Turn and Friend or Foe – both set in Dublin in 1916; Stormclouds, which takes place in Northern Ireland during the turbulent summer of 1969; Secrets and Shadows, a spy novel that begins with the North Strand bombings during the Second World War; Taking Sides, about the Irish Civil War; Across the Divide, set during the 1913 Lockout, Arrivals, a time-slip novel set between modern and early-twentieth-century Ontario, and Pawns, set during Ireland’s War of Independence. Brian lives with his family in Dublin.

Find out more about Brian's books at

vividly brings history to life for its readers … a hugely involving tale

Mad About Books

'provides a good historical account of a still topical subject in a style that will have young readers eagerly turning the pages to see what happens next ... Highly recommended'


'the atmosphere of a troubled Dublin city awash with tension and poverty is excellently captured'

Irish Examiner

'an interesting blend of fiction and history in a tale set against the backdrop of Jim Larkin’s labour movement and the 1913 Lockout'

Irish Examiner

'written in a nice simple style and is suitable for fourth, fifth or sixth classes ... could also be used as a teaching aid in history, art or geography'


'interesting and very realistic'


'Gallagher manages to deal with the historical issues of the day like social injustice, industrial unrest and women’s suffrage in a story that is exciting, gripping and occasionally humourous'

Books Ireland

'an imaginative take on one of the most famous events in Dublin history ... Gallagher weaves an engaging plot'

Books Ireland

'I liked the book because it was a really good story. Why can't two people be friends no matter what the backround? I think their friendship was really good'


'In a fairy story, Liam and Nora might have stayed together and lived happily ever after, but rightly enough, Brian Gallagher brings their eight-month friendship to a more realistic and consequently a more satisfying conclusion.'

Books Ireland

'Across the Divide is an intelligent look at a particularly turbulent piece of Irish history from a young person’s viewpoint.'

Books Ireland

'a very good read ... The book deals with a number of historical issues and raises questions of values.'

Teachers Union of Ireland News

'a compelling historical novel set against the backdrop of the Dublin Lockout of 1913 ... The author breathes life into characters who in lesser hands could become stereotypes ... well researched ... a skilful, satisfying read ...should appeal to boys and girls in the 10-12 age group and older'

Inis Magazine

'brought the turbulence of the 1913 lockout alive for young readers'

Sunday Independent


Reader Reviews

Absolutely amazing! A great book and a must have read for anyone that loves a forbidden friendship. A capturing tale of a rich girl and a young boy from the slums in Dublin. When their paths collide at a choir practice, both their lives are changed forev

Joanne on 14th November 2011

Probably the best book I've ever read

Jayesh on 14th April 2011

I liked the book because it was a really good story. Why can't two people be friends no matter what the backround? I think their friendship was really good

Kieran on 14th April 2011

I really enjoyed this book. How the fiction of the characters mixed with non-fiction of the backround is really orignal. I live in Dublin too, and I learned about the 1916 lockout myself. I really liked learning about it and my favourite books are fictio

Jamie on 28th March 2011

It is honestly one of the best books I have ever read

Ryan on 25th March 2011

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Teaching Resources: free to view and download

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Other books by this author
  • Taking Sides
  • Secrets and Shadows
  • Stormclouds
  • Friend or Foe

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