Dark Days at Drumshee
‘"If, by chance, Conor O’Brien were to be killed, we’d have an
easy victory," said the first voice softly.
"Wise men leave nothing to chance," said the second voice, a
strange, metallic voice.
"We must make sure that he is killed."
Alys shivered. These were dark and dangerous days…’
Cora Harrison writes:
I first got the idea for this book when I passed the ruins of Lemeanah Castle
very early on a winter’s morning. I had often passed these ruins before, but
on this particular morning the low sunlight was slanting in through the
mullioned windows and lighting up the walls inside. I knew the history of the
castle, of course, but now, suddenly, I peopled it with its last residents and
with my own invented character: Alys from Drumshee.
Conor O’Brien was a confederate officer fighting against Oliver Cromwell’s
army. He, his wife, Maire Rua and their six children lived at Lemeanah Castle
during the battles between 1642 and 1651. My book tells the story of their last
months at the castle.
The discovery of a little memorial plaque in Coad church nearby added to the
story that was growing in my mind. I had great difficulty in reading it. It was
very old and neglected and I would guess that these letters were carved by
someone who spoke no English and who was just copying words from a piece of
HERE LIES THE
BODIES OF MARY AND
SLANY NY BRIENDAUGH
TERS TO CONNOR OBRIEN
AND MARY BRIEN ALIAS
ANND OMINI 1651
Once I had managed to make out the carving on the old stone and to read the
date, the history books told me the rest of the story and now I knew why Conor O’Brien
was on Inchicronan Pass on that bleak day in 1651.
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