I received the book Ah, Those Irish Colleens by Helen Walsh Folsom from Turner Publishing after I was contacted by Laura, Marketing Manager. She noticed my blog was Irish themed and had a few suggestions of books for me to review. Of course with irish colleens in the title how could I refuse. I accepted and enjoyed the book immensely.
Here is the books description from the publisher:
“Helen Walsh Folsom presents “Ah, Those Irish Colleens” as a collection of incredible stories describing the lives of more than a dozen Irish women of prominence or fame, including Deirdre of the Sorrows, Grace O’Malley, Marie Rue O’Brien, Mary O’Connor. Kitty O’Shea and more.
Irish women were behind the scenes of most of the great events in Irish history. Reading Folsom’s book gives you the story behind their influences, with thirteen women who, for better or worse, helped mold the country’s history.”
These stories span the time from 122BC to 1953. Here are a few examples of the women featured in the book. Most had tragic lives but all had very productive and exciting lives..
The first irish colleen in this book was about Queen Mauve (122 BC ~AD 02) who was the Queen of Connaught (inherited from her father) in the western part of Ireland. One of the legends regarding her was called “Tain bo Cuailgne, The Cattle Raid of Cooley” where she gathered her warriors and went to her rival”s (her ex-husband who divorced her) land to steal cattle to help feed the poor on her lands.
Then there is Grace O’Malley (1530~1603), also called Gráinne Ní Mháille one of my favorites along with Boudicea who is not in this book, unfortunately . Grace O’Malley was a famous lady pirate, she also inherited from her father the business of pirating. Grace and her crew would sail the seas and plunder the Spanish ships they came across. Grace gave birth on board her ship and 6 days later met with Queen Elizabeth I. They were rivals, both being Queens, but they had a grudging respect for each other.
” Both Grace O’Malley and Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603. Two queens both rulers in parallel years over their domains. Grace was buried in the abbey she built on Clare Island and lives on still awestruck legends among the people of Connaught.” quote from the book
Also in the book is the story of Maude Gonne (December 1866 – 27 April 1953) , good friend and lover of W.B. Yeats. They never married as she said that she would run his writing carreer, even though he proposed at least 4 times. She was an English born Irish revolutionary, famous actress, and feminist. She was involved in the the plight of evicted people in the Land Wars. She was also active in Home Rule activities.
There are ten more heroic women of Ireland, Kitty O’Shea and Bridget The Saint, to name a few depicted in this non-fiction book. The stories are written like they were fiction and very easy to read. I think after reading these stories I will want to read more about some of these wonderful strong women. I enjoyed the book a lot and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about Ireland and its legends and true stories of the turbulent times that all people of Ireland faced in some of the ‘darker’ times in Irish history.
This book was a complimentary copy for my enjoyment and review…