and the Chieftain's Wife
cleansing, famine, assassination - these were the means used
to stamp out the Gaelic way of life in Ireland at the end
of the sixteenth century; and nowhere more so than in the
mountains of North Leitrim.
Here the MacClancy clan was engaged
in an unending and unequal struggle with the rapacious Bingham
brothers: George, the Sheriff of Sligo, and Sir Richard, the
Governor of Connacht. It was a war with no quarter asked for
this battle ground stumbled Captain Francisco De Cuellar,
survivor of the Spanish Armada, whose ship had been wrecked
on the nearby Sligo coast. Given sanctuary by the clan, he
was to spend three months in Rosclogher Castle, living with
and like the Irish.
He, a cultured product of the European
Renaissance, had to adjust to a way of life that had changed
little in a thousand years, where wealth was counted in cattle,
and where only the strongest could survive.
however as far as DeCuellar was concerned, was the attractiveness
of Irish women; the chieftain's wife in particular he found
"beautiful in the extreme."
author weaves a tale of romance, heroism, betrayal and murder
around the known historical facts, using his imagination to
fill in the gaps in DeCuellar's own narrative.
is a microcosm of Ireland's condition at this dark time, a
time heralding the build up to the Nine years War, the Flight
of The Earls, and - eventually - the ending of the old Gaelic
author, whose grandfather was from Glenade, County Leitrim,
was born in Belfast, and, apart from four years spent variously
in Australia, London and Dublin, has lived there all his life.
He has written for stage and radio, with many radio plays
produced by BBC and RTE. A first novel Bottling it Up - a
black comedy set in Belfast - was published by Blackstaff
Press in 2003.