Drumshee series Cora Harrison, Children's Author Dragonfly books

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Secret Spy from Drumshee

Secret Spy from DrumsheeDaniel O’Connell is in deadly danger and you must be the secret spy from Drumshee,’ says Mary Ann to her brother Ronan. ‘You don’t talk much, so no one will notice you.’

Sharp-eyed and intelligent, Ronan watches and listens.

But Mary Ann doesn’t realise that the task she has given her crippled and almost wordless brother will put his life in deadly danger.

Plunge into the dark events of 1828. Daniel O’Connell is fighting for a new way of life for the Irish people, but there are enemies on every side. Can Ronan save this Irish hero from an evil assassin?

Cora Harrison writes:

Cora Harrison‘Ever since I read of how Daniel O’Connell was elected at Ennis after a week of counting and re-counting of votes, I have wanted to write the story of that dramatic week in July 1828.

Ennis is my shopping town and every time that I go there I can just imagine that time in 1828 when its narrow medieval streets were crowded with townspeople, country people, Irish, English, Anglo-Irish, protestants and Catholics, soldiers and farmers. 

Among these people were the names from history books: Daniel O’Connell, Father Murphy of Corofin (and his dramatic sermon the day before voting day), Father Coffey, Daniel O’Connell’s friends: Gorman Mc Mahon, John Steele, the landlords: Mr Vandeleur and Vesey Fitzgerald; the part they played in that week is all well-documented and I have tried to keep to what is known as faithfully as possible.

During that week of vote-casting in Ennis, when all the Catholics were barred by their priests from taking even a single drink, rumours were flying. Death threats had been issued to Daniel O’Connell and there was an ugly rumour that he was to be killed if he succeeded. This threat forms the basis of my story.

Daniel O’Connell, one of my favourite characters in the history of Ireland, was a great letter writer so we know a lot about his private life, not just about the role he played in getting tenant rights and Catholic Emancipation for Ireland. We know, for instance, how much money he spent on various items like his sons’ schooling at Clongowes Wood College, his doctor’s bill, presents to poor relations in Kerry, and even how much he spent on a piano for his daughter.

The McMahon family, are of course, fictitious. Nevertheless, as I wrote about kind gentle Michael who had lost his wife following the birth of the twins, and who had cared for his daughter and his severely disabled son ever since; about Mary Ann – a bit giddy, in her own words, but still with her father’s sweetness of nature; and about Ronan, full of courage, humour and sharp-eyed intelligence – these three became more real to me than any historical figure. I hope that they will live in the reader’s imagination also.’

Click here to read the first chapter of the book

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Dark Days at Drumshee (book 12)


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