Tuesday, 30 April 2019

The Much-Maligned Mary Pike and Other Stories

Recently published, The Much-Maligned Mary Pike: The Rebel County and '98 by Kieran Groeger will feature at two events, in Waterford and in Cork, over the coming fortnight.

The Much-Maligned Mary Pike by Kieran Groeger (The Rebel County and '98)
The Much-Maligned Mary Pike
by Kieran Groeger
Mary Pike was a wealthy, young Quaker heiress who was kidnapped in July 1797 by a widowed knight, Sir Henry Brown Hayes, intent on forcing her into marriage and getting his hands on her fortune. She was rescued from his house, Vernon Mount, in Cork city.

He fled the country but, then deciding that public opinion was in his favour, he challenged her to face him in court. He was shocked when Mary Pike won the case and he was soon sentenced to transportation for life in Australia, where the governor was a certain Captain Bligh, lately of the Bounty.

Sadly, the history books tell us that the subsequent ordeal was too much for Mary Pike – she suffered a nervous breakdown and died in a mental hospital.

The author, Dr Kieran Groeger, delights in stripping away the layers of documentation, analysing legends, old newspaper accounts, piecing together the clues to reveal a truly astonishing story.

The 1798 Rebellion of the United Irishmen features as backdrop to these events. It may surprise people who ask, 'did nothing happen in Cork?' to learn that quite a lot took place during this period, as the city is brought to life in this much anticipated volume.

Kieran will be among the line-up for this coming Sunday, 5 May at Dromana House and Gardens, where where a day long programme on the theme of "In Pursuit of the Heiress" will be held. The event runs from 10.30am to 4pm, with breaks for lunch and afternoon tea. Other talks will be provided by Julian Walton, Judy Brittain and Dr. Dagmar O’Riain-Raedel. Enquires and bookings can be made through Dromana House and Gardens website.

On the following Friday, 10 May, the formal launch of The Much-Maligned Mary Pike will take place at the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, starting 12.30am, where originals of illustrations featured in the book are on display. The event is hosted by Friends of Crawford Art Gallery and all are welcome to attend.

The Much-Maligned Mary Pike: The Rebel County and '98 by Kieran Groeger is published by The Manuscript Publisher and on sale now. It is available to buy online as well as in all good bookshops. RRP €14.99.

Kieran Groeger, author of The Trial and Execution of James Cotter, the Little Book of Youghal, along with other books and articles on Irish and local history, is a retired teacher, avid Francophile and regular cyclist.

Monday, 18 February 2019

The Compendium by Brian Corvin: something a little different

The Compendium is author, Brian Corvin's third published work. Where his first two – The Dream Journey (2010) and The Unity Project (2016) – were collections of poetry and verse, the present volume offers "something a little different".
The Compendium by Brian Corvin – front cover

The opening section contains of a selection of neohaikus and social verse while, the second introduces the reader to some quirky short stories, taking on tales of the macabre, turning up some strange and unexpected twists. This is followed by a trilogy of related one-act plays that deal with the issue of clerical child abuse, probing the question of whether forgiveness of the kind that can lead to redemption is ever really possible in such a context.

The volume finishes with an autobiographical fragment (Towards a New World Order), in which he describes how he became a Baha'i, while living in Devon, England back in the 1960s.
"I am still a Bahai though, these days, I sometimes describe myself as a Neo-Bahai. I have never regretted my move to Bahai though, when writing about it, I sometimes feel that I can see similarities to Graham Greene's sardonically tinged attitude to Catholic beliefs and practices. I still believe that Bahai offers an unmatched vision for the future of the species, though we seldom live up to its aspirations and, I certainly feel that it is worth considering in this confusing, pessimistic and negative transitionary period."
The author, Brian Corvin, was born in Dublin, Ireland eighty years ago but, he sees himself as a world citizen. He has been inspired by Bahaullah, the prophet of globalisation but, feels that his writing should be grounded in the here and now of the world that he finds around him.

He achieves this quite admirably and with keen insight. His true talent, it might be said, rests in an ability to faithfully convey the views held by those of a particular mindset, irrespective of whether one might share those views or, even sympathise with them. It comes across in his writing whether he is talking about the European refugee crisis, politics in the era of Trump, the motives that drive people to commit desperate acts.

The Compendium by Brian Corvin is published by The Manuscript Publisher. It is on sale now and available to buy online as well as from certain bookshops. RRP €9.99.

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