Cora Harrison

Cora Harrison

Mullaghmore mountain on the Burren, County Clare, Ireland

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There was a small movement of anti-British poets, writers and idealists who decided to form an army which struck in Dublin in 1916 but was crushed after one week of fighting. This has gone down in history as the ‘Easter Rising’. The overwhelming initial view of the Irish population at the time was condemnatory. However, the decision by the British to execute the leaders created martyrs, and numerous poems and songs were written glorifying the dead, including the famous ‘Easter 1916’ poem by W.B. Yeats.Three months later in July 1916 the British initiated the terrible Battle of the Somme in which tens of thousands of Irish were killed, producing thousands of a telegrams to an already disillusioned population.

Sun May 28 22:35:05 2017

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
During the period between 1900 and the commencement of the First World War (1914) there was agitation in Ireland for Home Rule which was the transfer of some powers of government, not independence. At the outbreak of the war 200,000 Irishmen volunteered to join the British Army which, out of a total population of four million, was a considerable slice of the population. Conscription (in America ‘the draft’) was never introduced in Ireland and by the end of the war it is estimated that by the end of the war, 50,000 or one quarter of all the volunteers were killed, and an unknown number wounded. The continuous arrival of telegrams to the villages and cities informing of the death of family members had a disquieting effect

Sun May 28 22:29:33 2017

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Dear Claire,

I am flattered and so appreciative to be chosen by you as worthy of study.

Let me think about it - I have been imersed in Tudor England with my latest series, The Cardinal's Court, and need to switch my mind back.

I'll get back to you about the same time tomorrow.

Many thanks - what a wonderful idea!


Sat May 27 23:57:45 2017

Claire Altheuser writes from USA
Dear Ms. Harrison,

The History Through Mystery class of the Chico, California OLLI (Osher Life Ling Learning Institute) chapter is to be "A Shameful Murder". I chose this book because of its exposure of the Irish Revolution, which we here in America hardly understand. Another reason for my choice is the fact that "My Lady Judge" is one of the favorite books among the four sections of this class from all that we have read in the past four years. Most of us have read the series in full.

Is there any aspect of the revolution (which I think is still ongoing) that you would care to expand on for us? Perhaps you could explain some of the problems still to be resolved and if you see any resolution soon. Any information that you could send that would add to our appreciation of the novel would be greatly appreciated.

You are an excellent writer, and I thank you for providing us with these books. When the last section of the class is over, I would be pleased to let you know about the comments made.

Best wishes for your continued success,

Claire Altheuser
Class leader

Fri May 26 21:15:10 2017

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
It's interesting - and this is something that I know from my father who was a newly qualified solicitor at the time - but when Ireland got its freedom from England there was a certain debate among lawyers as to whether they would try to use Brehon law in the country. Unfortunately, it seemed like too much work to bring the laws up-to-date and so Ireland went on using English law, basically, just a few changes.

It's a shame because Brehon law was so community based and so humanitarian, and so very modern! I like the fact that disabled people were protected against misuse and it was offence to mock them and they had to be cared for by their relatives and by the community.

I'm afraid I don't know of any tour operators, but there are people here who do guided walks. The Burren is quite a small place - only 100 square miles, ten miles by ten miles, and a good guide book would allow you to see what interests you.

If you do come, please get in touch and I'll suggest some interesting places.

Fri May 19 20:31:18 2017

Myra Jerome writes from Canada
Dear Cora, I've only just discovered your Mara of the Burren books. As a retired lawyer & Small Claims Court judge from Nova Scotia, Canada, I can definitely relate to Mara. How I wish we had her Brehon system of justice! I'm contemplating a trip to western Ireland to visit the Burren & Galway. Are you able to refer me to any sanctioned guided tour operators? Thank you ever so much, Myra Jerome

Fri May 19 19:37:44 2017

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Thank you for your suggestion, Jean.

I never thought about reading aloud, before, and as a great advocate of reading aloud, I do see your point.
I will do my best to get publishers to see the point of this!

Thank you for your praise. I am very touched by it.

Mon May 8 18:11:16 2017

Jean Semrau writes from United States
Thank you for the marvelous Burren series! I wonder if in a future book you might include a note about pronunciation of some of the often-used Gaelic help to those of us who'd like to read your stories aloud.

Now I look forward to beginning the Reverend Mother series. Thank you again for bringing such pleasure into my life.

Mon May 8 06:20:20 2017

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
You don't know how heart-warming it is to get a message like that, Fiona!

I'm absolutely delighted that you liked the Hampton Court Mystery. A new venture for me, but I so enjoyed writing it.

Sat Apr 29 21:41:19 2017

Fiona writes from England
It's always a pleasure to know that a new Cora Harrison book is due out but this week there have been two - how good is that!

A Reverend Mother book and The Cardinal's Court, featuring Hugh Mac Egan.

Being the first in a new series, I had to read The Cardinal's Court first -
and Hugh Mac Egan is set to become one of my favourite characters along with Mara and The Reverend Mother. I hope he will have many more outings?

Thank you for creating such interesting characters and stories. If I had a time machine I think I'd like to go and visit Mara!

I'm off to catch up with The Reverend Mother now.

Sat Apr 29 12:29:36 2017

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Well, if you do come over, Sonia, you must take a boat trip from Doolin and go on a sea trip beneath the cliffs of Moher, it's a fantastic and awe-inspiring experience! And, of course, visit the water spout on top of the cliffs, also.

Sun Apr 23 08:38:43 2017

Sonia Costa writes from Australia
Hi Cora
Have just finished reading "An Unjust Judge". Enjoyed the Burren series

and one day would love to visit all the places in the photo album.

Looking forward to reading the Reverend Mother Series too.

Cheers Sonia

Sun Apr 23 08:10:57 2017

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Thank you, 3rd class St. Conaire's Shannon, Co. Clare!

I remember coming to your school, long ago, when I wasn't so old as I am now.

I remember telling the children how I got the idea for 'Nuala & Her Secret Wolf'

It was the middle of the night... not a dark, dark night, but a night full of silver moonshine. My Alsatian dog (looked a little like a wolf) wanted to go out and I took her up to the ancient iron age fort on our land.

And while we stood there, I noticed, with a shiver of fear, that my dog was growling, very quietly, almost under breath.
And that all the hairs on the back of her neck, and right down her back, all the hair was standing on end....

Fri Mar 31 14:47:53 2017

Mrs Eisenberg writes from Ireland
Hello Cora,
here in the class now with all the boys and girls looking up! We just wanted to say how much we enjoyed 'Nuala and Her Secret Wolf.' Kuba said it was the best book ever! The boys and girls loved the book and will now look out for other written by you.
Best of luck,
3rd class St. Conaire's Shannon, Co. Clare.

Fri Mar 31 13:55:34 2017

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
I was there a few days ago, Angela, at Fanore and there was a howling gale and the waves were enormous.
But the sun was out and the sea and the sand and the mountain in the background made a breathtakingly beautiful scene.
But of course all who live on the west of Ireland coast know that the Atlantic Ocean can be very unforgiving.
We've had some recent tragedies and loss of life here, this spring.

The place is outstandingly beautiful, though. I hope that you get a chance to see it some time.

Wed Mar 29 14:37:13 2017

Angela Koenig writes from USA
I just finished Condemned to Death and it was wonderful. I already admire the series but this raised the level of Mara as a character and the ending haunts me - as a good book should. Thank you.

Wed Mar 29 12:21:14 2017

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
There is something very cosy about sharing a book. I remember when we first bought the cottage where I now live, my husband, my son and I stayed in it for a week. It had no electricity so we cooked over the old kitchen fireplace (and could look at the stars through the enormous chimney) and in the evening I read aloud by candlelight from 'Bleak House'. Although I've been a Dickens fan all of my life, it was then that I appreciated him most. I still remember the chapters that I read - where Lady Dedlock disappears and Esther and Sergeant Bucket go in search of her through London.

Thank you, Gin, for sharing that experience with me and I send my very best wishes to both you and your husband.

Wed Mar 29 09:08:11 2017

Gin writes from USA
Hi Cora, I've greatly enjoyed your Mara books in the past. Due to his failing vision, my husband is no longer reading for himself so I'm now reading aloud to him and he has enjoyed the first of the Mara books. If his health and attention doesn't fail as well, we will continue. God willing, the economy will improve and libraries will order more so you can continue your excellent Mara series!

Tue Mar 28 09:56:20 2017

Thank you . I look forward to it. It opened my eyes. Didn't realise how bad it was there in the 1920's.

Wed Mar 8 10:13:44 2017

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Well, of course, Reverend Mother Aquuinas is older and sadder than Mara. And has far less power. She works in conditions that she wishes she could change. The city of Cork had terrible slums and shockingly high unemployment rates. Whereas the Burren was, and still is, very underpopulated - a lovely limestone land swept clean by Atlantic winds.

I sometimes wonder how my two characters would have got on with each other!

I'm so delighted that you like them both.

And number three of the Reverend Mother series will be out in April. It's called 'Beyond Absolution'. I hope you like it if you get a chance to read it.

Sun Mar 5 21:57:54 2017

Isabelle writes from England
I have read all your Mara books which I love.
Just finished reading a shameful murder and thought it was wonderful. Looking forward to reading the next one

Sun Mar 5 19:27:24 2017

Una writes from Berkshire
You're never too old!

I'm really looking forward to the new book. It is a great era.

Sun Mar 5 00:01:41 2017

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Thank you, Una. It was very good of you to go to so much trouble.

I suppose that I have to admit that Severn House have all the arguments on their side. Unless a series of books make an acceptable profit for them, well, then, they're not worth doing.

I've been an amateur historian for many years and now all the pieces of information churning around in my head are being filtered into stories.

Not at all like doing a Ph.D.

Something I would have loved to have attempted, but now I am too old.

Thanks again for trying.

I hope you enjoy 'The Cardinal's Court'.

I am fascinated by that era.

And by all of the unanswered questions about Anne Boleyn.

Why was she still unmarried at the late age of twenty-five?

Many thanks for your efforts.


Sat Mar 4 18:31:08 2017

Una writes from Berkshire
I put forward a strong case for continuing with the Burren Series but I didn't really get anywhere with Severn House which is such a shame. I see that you have a new series starting in April. Looking forward to that as I really enjoy the historical novels. You are a very prolific writer - I doing a PhD in Classics and wish I could write as quickly as you!

Sat Mar 4 17:50:09 2017

Cora Harrison writes from ireland
Thank you, Joe, my faithful fan!

Sun Feb 5 19:44:03 2017

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