I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Home Uncategorized Making a History of the Homeplace

Making a History of the Homeplace

Breandán Mac Suibhne
Beagh is two miles from the two-street town of Ardara, south-west Donegal. It lies west of three hills, Tullycleave, Tullymore, and Tullybeg, that in spring rise green above rust coloured caorán, lake-dotted bog and heath, which stretches four miles from the Owenea to a fertile swathe in Kilclooney. Beagh also rises, but it scarcely forms a hill and its scraps of arable amount to little beside the best land in the Tullies. At the centre of Beagh is a thatched building, twelve feet wide and twenty-two feet long. Erected in 1845, it was the local national school until its replacement in 1894; it is still “the Old School”. Here, in 1856, the schoolmaster was 24-year-old Patrick McGlynn, and that summer he turned informer on the Molly Maguires, a secret society behind a wave of “outrage” that had begun in the years of the Famine. The result was the arrest of over two dozen men, most from around Ardara, but some from Dungloe, Fintown, Glenties, Carrick, Killybegs, and Mountcharles. One of several reasons given by the schoolmaster for informing was a concern to protect a tenant farmer, James Gallagher of Beagh, who the Mollies had targeted. Gallagher had acquired land in sordid circumstances from three neighbours. The first neighbour was a man named Mulhern. In return for his land, Gallagher paid his passage to America in “the time of the Famine”. The others were an indebted widow, Nancy Sweeney, whose debts he cleared for half of her holding, and a hard-drinker, Pat Kennedy, who had “mortgaged” land to him for whiskey; Kennedy was left with a third of his land. But it was not Gallagher’s acquisition of land that riled the Mollies. Rather it was what he proposed to do with it: specifically, Gallagher had resolved to evict four families of subtenants (three of whom were landless) from his expanded holding. Breandán Mac Suibhne’s The End of Outrage is a story of betrayal in a small community. It touches the gold rush towns of Australia in the 1850s, the mine patches of north-eastern Pennsylvania in the 1870s, and Oakland, California in the 1910s. But it returns, time and again, to west Donegal, the town of Ardara, and the townland of Beagh, and it ends in our own time. EPILOGUE OWEN … a man long dead, long forgotten, his name ‘eroded’ beyond recognition, whose trivial little story nobody in the parish remembers. YOLLAND Except…

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