Cora Harrison

Cora Harrison

Mullaghmore mountain on the Burren, County Clare, Ireland

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Jackie Wallace writes from USA
Hi Cora:

Is your newest book finished and if so, where can I get a copy? I can hardly wait.


Tue Sep 28 16:28:32 2010

from Ch. guestbook
Hi Cora

Just finished reading My Lady Judge. On p. 135, it mentions a MacWilliam. Did this have any basis? Was there MacWilliam's in Ireland to your knowledge?

Sorry, Lisa, for the delay. I meant to look up my notes and forgot until now.

Yes, the name Mac William came originally from the Burkes - an anglo norman family. They split into two clans - The Mac William (son of William) and ClanRickarde (sons of Rickarde or Richard). Both clans were very powerful in the west of Ireland at that time.

Hope this helps.

Sat Sep 25 15:34:58 2010

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Hope you have a lovely trip and that the weather is good. It makes such a difference to the Burren when the sun shines and the limestone sparkles. When it rains everything looks dismal - though I rather like it in fog when the landscape looks mysterious.

Sun Aug 29 21:43:44 2010

Danise writes from USA
Dear Ms. Harrison,
I am currently reading the second Mara book and am so enjoying it, and have ordered the rest. I couldn't believe my luck to find a mystery series, I read dozens of series, set in my favorite place in the world. On my first trip to Ireland, I headed straight for the Burren, not knowing anything about it, just having read it on a map. I was so captured by the magic of the place and have never travelled to Ireland without staying there a few days at least. Your books are a salve to my longing heart when I can not be there in person, along with a lively's like eating cake for fun. I am so excited to be planning my 8th trip there in a few days, and will be bringing Mara along for company. Thanks so much and best wishes from Wisconsin.

Fri Aug 27 23:36:26 2010

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Ali: the map I mentioned is done by Tim Robinson - it's a really excellent map if you want to explore the Burren - he has also done one for the island of Aran - and Connemara, I think, though I haven'et seen that one.
My sixth book will probably come out in Amazon uk first. I hope you like it -it's rather fun continuing the story of Mara alongside the murder mystery. She's quite a real character to me - rather like a friend, in fact.

Susan: Good luck with your novel. Times are so difficult now in publishing that I think every author needs luck! Yes, I've read about - and actually seen the excavations at Caherconnell - very exciting. And there is a still a Davren living there at Caherconnell!

Sun Aug 15 11:36:36 2010

Susan Brody writes from U.S.
Hello, Cora! I've been doing research on the burren for several months, and I've been lucky enough to come across your Mara O'Davoren series. I've read three so far and am looking forward to reading the rest. I am a lawyer, like Mara, but also write young-adult novels (none published as yet), and my next one, which I've just begun, is set in the burren in the mid-17th century. I only ever spent one day in the area, but I've never forgotten how magical it is. In any event, I came across an article I knew you'd want to see, if you haven't already. The website contains a link to a fascinating article about excavations at Caherconnell, just published this past April in the Journal of the Royal Irish Academy. I hope you enjoy it! Susan

Thu Aug 12 17:17:02 2010

Ali writes from Australia
Hello hello,
I am so interested in the Burren region and your splendid books that I have just finished booking myself a brief holiday focusing on the south and west of Ireland.
Somewhere on your website you mentioned the map, or author of a map that you use in your writing of the Burren.
I am afraid I can no longer find the name, might you mention it again so I can google it like mad and plan a very detailed visit to the area?
I am eagerly awaiting the release of your sixth book - is it likely to be available on Amazon or first?
Many regards,

Wed Aug 11 12:04:19 2010

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Lois: I meant to say that agents usually like to have three chapters to read before looking at the whole typescript, so it's important to have those three chapters really outstanding.

Paula: It's one hundred per cent suitable - and this is from a retired primary school teacher - just a gentle, old-fashioned romance and girly talk. Hopefully, it might lead your daughter on to reading Jane Austen herself.

Mon Aug 9 19:42:14 2010

Hi Cora,
Just wondering, is "I was Jane Austens Best Friend" a suitable book for my 11 year old daughter?
Many Thanks!

Mon Aug 9 17:14:48 2010

Thanks Cora, will do:)

Mon Aug 9 17:12:36 2010

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland

It really doesn't work for one writer to comment on the work of another. I find that I end up giving advice that would work for me but not for another. If I were you, I'd write the whole book and then go back and make the first three chapters as outstandingly fast-paced and exciting as you can.

Sheila: Many thanks for your praise. I've just finished book 6 which is all about herbal medicines and poisons and I hope you might read when it comes out at the end of the year and tell me what you think of it.

Thu Aug 5 08:41:41 2010

Doctor sheila nazerali writes from canada
As a retired family doctor and keen reader of historical mysteries I have just finished your third Burrens book.They are a total delight on many levels and I want you to know I have recommended tham to all my friends, my book clubs and my family! I shall look forward to more and congratulations on a superb series!

Wed Aug 4 21:33:34 2010

Dear Cora,
I would like your opinion on the first chapter of a childrens book i have begun to write. Is there a place I can post it for you to view?

Mon Aug 2 14:45:18 2010

Jan Swain writes from USA
Dear Ms. Harrison, Just found "The Sting of Justice" at our public library. Entranced. I am now a fan...and plan on waiting to read this until I can procure the others in the series.

I am a retired speciall needs an active writer of historical myteries. One I am just finishing takes place at TRINITY COLLEGE with Ebenezer Prout (composer) as the dectective. I am hoping for a publish next year.

The other I have just started to research. Have you ever heart of the ghost story called "The Bridal Barge of Aran Roe" which takes place off SLigo ROck? I am returning to Ireland for the 6th time in September to do the research for this book. I am especially interested in the story because my great-grandparents from CO Sligo immigrated to the U.S.

Thank you for reading this.

Mon Jul 26 21:19:02 2010

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Yes, ‘craic’ is a Gaelic word which means, a combination of fun, laughter, good conversation and a few other things also. It is pronounced ‘crack’. I tend not to over-explain Gaelic words and hope they can be understood from the context.
Re Brehon law there are a lot of books published about this, but it was wonderful to see the actual manuscript (written in medieval Gaelic).
Yes, I did understand your ironic use of the word ‘civilized’. It is extraordinary to me to read the abuse which was aimed at Brehon law and to find out for myself how very civilized it actually was.
MacNamara was a great name here in County Clare and still is.
My husband’s family, the Harrisons, were from Sligo originally.
Hope you enjoyed ‘Eye of the Law’.

Wed Jul 21 20:47:17 2010

marilyn miller writes from toms river, nj, united states
cora, i promise this will b the last message 4 2day!. i may have put the cart b4 the horse. i opened up the site wherein u write about brehon law & explained about how u bcame interested in it. when i put quotation marks around the word civilized in my 1st message it was bcause the irish were accused by some people of being barbarians & heathens & the brehon legal system was neither. the american judicial system could benefit by incorporating some of the brehon laws. amen

Wed Jul 21 17:42:19 2010

marilyn miller writes from toms river, nj, united states
whoops, it looks like it would have been helpful 2 read ur bio 1st. ur farm cottage is so blessed to have ur family preserving it. & to think u r living in kilfenora. i can finally dance the kilfenora with prompting from my instructor or partner. i didn't mention i have a link 2 a mac namara. my grandfather's brother married a mac namara from clare. thank u so much 4 sharing ur talent with the world. the fotos were beautiful. i remember hearing about a former priest from connemarra who shared a passion for the burren. enuf, i could chat 4 a long time. marilyn, again

Wed Jul 21 17:21:47 2010

marilyn miller writes from toms river, nj, united states
cora, i've just finished "eye of the law" & meant to write down a word i saw. i blieve it was spelled craic & thought of nuala duffy of shanagarry b&b in limerick. i think that may have been the word she used once while i was staying there. i meant to ask her what it meant but didn't. i blieve i heard the same word on national public radio & it sounded like crack. is this the same word? also, if u just recently saw a brehon manuscript how did u research ur stories? finally, my grandparents came from monagea, limerick & doonane, clare. i don't like 2 fly but am coming back 2 ireland this september. plus my deceased mother-in-law's maiden name was harrison & 16 yrs ago she still had a cousin living somewhere north of galway. finally, isn't it amazing that ireland was so "civilized" in 1510? that's a bit of my american sarcasm.

Wed Jul 21 16:14:48 2010

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Dear Kelly,
It's lovely to know that you are enjoying 'Sting of Justice'.
Yes, the Burren is lovely - especially in the sun! At the moment we are having the usual very wet July and everyone is hoping for a fine August. I exercised a novelist's privilege and chose the opening years of the reign of King Henry VIII when the summers were splendidly warm and sunny.
As for the spelling of the mountain, this is minefield because any mapping of Ireland was done by the English who wrote the names of places as they sounded - different maps have different spelling. I stick to one map, Tim Robinson's map of the Burren, as he did a lot of research, and spell according to that one.
Michigan sounds lovely and I hope you enjoy your job. I always did, but my retirement occupation is proving fairly enthralling also. I do so enjoy writing about my fictional school - I wish I had made them all a bit younger - with my book 5 I am faced with having to part from Enda who is a favourite of mine!

Sun Jul 18 09:32:19 2010

Kelly writes from United States
Dear Cora,

I'm halfway through "The Sting of Justice"- and have truly enjoyed learning about Ireland as I read this very entertaining mystery story! I've also been inspired to bake a few oatcakes, and to search the internet for pictures of the areas you've described in your book. I see now that I should have gone to your site first - you have so many lovely pictures! I was wondering why, when I look for the mountain of Cappanabhaile, I can only find Cappabhaile as a reference on google. Was Cappanabhaile the medieval spelling of the mountain? Ireland is such a unique and beautiful place - there really is no other like it in the world. I live in a similarly unusual location - Michigan - surrounded by the 5 great freshwater lakes. While reading your guestbook I was not surprised to find that you were a teacher. I can "feel" the teachers touch in your writing! I am a teacher (for almost 25 years now) in the public school system - 4th graders (9 - 10 year olds). I intend to search out the rest of your books as soon as I finish this one! I also want to read the children's books. Congratulations on a successful series!

Sun Jul 18 03:47:49 2010

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Thank you, Paul, that is very high praise and I feel a bit overwhelmed by it
I am so enthusiastic about Brehon law that sometimes I fear that I might overdo it - it's reassuring to know that you think I get the balance right.

I think that my best mystery is either 'Michaelmas Tribute' or, in America, 'A Secret & Unlawful Killing' or 'Writ in Stone' but the most interesting from the point of view of the Brehon law - and a favourite of mine - is 'Eye of the Law'

Good luck with the cooking, Jean.

Sat Jul 10 08:52:11 2010

Jean at The Delightful Repast writes from USA
Hello Cora, I came to your website by way of your comment at Your comment painted such a picture of rural Ireland, I was moved to investigate! I'm the person who contributed the poundcake and trifle recipes for the Supper at the Netherfield Ball (Pride and Prejudice) post you were commenting on.

Like many others, I tend to romanticize the era and choose to not think about the unpleasant things like the lack of modern dentistry and indoor plumbing! And I suppose cooking (my main hobby as well as what I write about and blog about) is a bit easier on a gas stove with temperature regulation.

Looking forward to visiting your site again in a day or two when I'll have plenty of time to enjoy it.

All the best,
Jean at

Tue Jul 6 22:42:38 2010

Paul Schoaff writes from USA - Florida
I have seldom experienced such a sure-handed rendition of historical fiction. The balance you exhibit, between educating us of the special place and time you chose and the intricate but comprehensible plot, is masterful.

Congratulations, you have a new fan. I can't wait to find the rest of your books about the Burren. (or is it just "Burren", not "the Burren"?)

Mon Jul 5 22:59:45 2010

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
I walked around Poulnabrone the other day - just checking on the wild flowers that are in bloom in late June as the book I am writing now is set around midsummer.
It's amazing to see how many people from every country, every continent of the world were gathered there. The Burren is no longer a the best-kept secret in Ireland.
I grew up in Ireland, but never heard of it - and yet it is as beautiful in its own way as Killarney and Connemara.

Mon Jun 28 10:08:59 2010

Sue writes from Channel Islands
Dear Mrs Harrison

Just wanted to add my thanks and appreciation for your lovely series about Mara, which I found quite by accident when looking for books about the Burren on Amazon, one day!

I've visited the Burren several times and have fallen head over heels in love with this magical place. I'll be returning this summer with my children, and will be searching out more places mentioned in your books.

I am really looking forward to your next book.



Mon Jun 28 10:00:00 2010

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