Even the Heather Bled
On the morning of Wednesday September 20th 1922 - the closing months of the Irish Civil War - six anti-Treaty Volunteers were shot dead atop Sligo’s Benbulben Mountain. How did it come about? That Irishmen, former comrades, after together winning a bloody war against the British Empire, killed fellow Irishmen on a lonely Sligo hillside with a ferocity unseen since the Black and Tan times? Richly illustrated with images of the period, Even the Heather Bled sets out to answer this question. To explain the historical context the story begins with the invasion by Strongbow’s forces in August 1170. It tracks Ireland’s crucible of conquest, colonisation and survival from that Norman invasion to the birth pains of the Irish Nation in the 20th century: Penal Times, the Great Hunger of Black ’47, Davitt and the Land League, the Celtic Renaissance, the Easter Rising, War of Independence, Civil War, and Sligo’s part in that journey, are all detailed here.
If there is just one book you want on your bookshelf to cover Ireland’s tumultuous history, and Sligo’s part in it, this is it!’
300 Pages with 40 pages of colour photographs.€16.95 Plus €5.00 P&P Ireland Only.
€16.95 Plus €9.95 P&P Rest of the World
“The stories in Sligo Folk Tales are a delightful blend of age-old legends and fantastical myths. Do fairies exist? Banshees? A selection of the best are investigated and explained here also. Included also are amusing anecdotes and cautionary tales making this book a heady mix of the bloodthirsty, funny and passionate. In these pages you will find little-known anecdotes of the traditional ways of Sligo’s people, their customs and superstitions; you will find stories of epic battles and heroic deeds; and you will also hear the fantastical accounts of mythical creatures, fairies, witches, haunted houses and the ghosts of Connacht itself.”
Available now from Sligo bookshops or: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sligo-Folk-Tales-Paperback/dp/1845888367
'Set against the dramatic landscape of Ireland's Wild Atlantic coast Joe Mc Gowan's stories in The Hidden People examine and illuminate the complexities and passions of family life, communities and the human heart. Ranging from the intricacies of village life in Cold War in Killawaddy to the thrilling climax of the story of an Irish emigrant in Vietnam, these tales reveal a sometimes whimsical, sometimes tragic, and always unequalled, insight into village life and the Irish character. Joe McGowan is already renowned for his brilliantly researched books on folk history in the West of Ireland. In this collection he brings another dimension to his historical writing with a powerful and engaging perspective on life in rural Ireland.'
What the critics say: “The Co. Sligo author Joe Mc Gowan is best known as a chronicler of his home place, as folklorist and local historian, especially of Inishmurray Island, that fascinating Atlantic island of pre-history. Over the years he has produced several books in this genre but for the first time he now publishes a collection of fiction and reminiscence, a challenge to his talents.
A Bitter Wind
This book takes us on a journey into the secret heart of Irish country life in the 20th century. Beginning with an account of the villagers’ death-defying efforts to recover wreckage from an unforgiving ocean, A Bitter Wind is an intriguing ramble through an Ireland that no longer exists. Unfolded here are the beliefs of ordinary people, their superstitions, customs, fears and joys, their struggle to extract a living from the ruthless extremes of Nature on land, sea and shore. Here we re-live the adventures of ordinary individuals who, in snatching a livelihood from the elements, lived extraordinary lives.
This book details the history, and folklore, of Co. Sligo with particular reference to North Sligo . It covers the period from the first Neolithic settlements to 1798 through the War of Independence to the assassination of Lord Louis Mountbatten off the Mullaghmore coast in 1979. For those doing genealogical research tracts of the Griffiths Valuation are reproduced.
Literary critics have described the book as, '…a true labour of love … a treasure trove of fact, anecdote, folklore and legend. … a magnificent volume of research … packed with facts, figures, maps, photographs, stories, legends and history.'
Aeolus Publications, 334 pages with
illustrations and maps. Available in paperback €15.00 Plus €4.00 P&P
Constance Markievicz: The People’s Countess
This book traces Constance Markievicz’s journey from a pampered childhood in a Sligo landlord’s mansion to her participation in Ireland ’s literary and political Renaissance. The little-known story of her daughter Maeve and her son in law, Stanislaw, is told here. Paintings by Constance, produced while in solitary confinement in Holloway Jail, are reproduced in this book for the first time ever.
Her meeting and marriage to the aristocratic Count Dunin Markievicz at art school in Paris is detailed also. It describes how on their return to Dublin she threw her lot in with the poor, running soup kitchens during the workers strikes and Dublin Lockout of 1913.
Her political awakening led to her championing women’s rights and her eventual command of a company of Irish Citizen Army during the Easter Rebellion. Sentenced to death and incarcerated in a British prison, she became, not just the first woman ever elected to the British Parliament, but as Minister for Labour, the first woman Cabinet Minister in Europe . The story of her heroic endurance during several prison terms and her correspondence with her sister Eva is also here.
Aeolus Publications, 136 pages with colour section. Available in paperback: €12.00 Plus €4.00 P&P>> Currency converter
The men and women of Inishmurray,
Co. Sligo , left their island home in 1948. The Great Blasket was
evacuated five years later. The Blaskets had Tomás O’Crohan
and Maurice O’Sullivan to bear witness to a lost way of life.
Here, Joe Mc Gowan sets down the life and times of another ancient people.
Inishmurray’s presence looms large beyond his native fields and
in the tales told him by the last of the island residents
Beginning with rituals observed on the Celtic festival of Samhain (“Oul’ Hallow-eve”), Joe Mc Gowan tells with love and humour the story of the life led by the common people, the customs they practised and the stories they told, not alone in the heartland’s of Donegal, Sligo, Fermanagh and Leitrim, but throughout Ireland. Long hours of recorded conversations augmented by meticulous archival research casts new light on ancient traditions and beliefs.
Echoes of a Savage Land is a magical doorway into lost worlds, a journey through a way of life unchanged for centuries, but now on the edge of extinction:
Aeolus Publications , 400 pages with 16 pages of photographs. Available in paperback €15.95 Plus €4.00 P&P
While there is much information available on Sligo’s history, heritage and archaeology this publication makes the knowledge available, for the first time, in an attractive package for the average reader. For Sligonians, and all those interested in the landscapes that inspired the poet, W.B.Yeats, ‘ Sligo: Land of Destiny’ draws readers for the first time into a whole new world of accessible history and art relating to Sligo, town and county
The watercolours, inspired by scenes from all over the town and county, are by Anne Osborne, a Sligonian and self taught artist whose passion for watercolours has found expression in her soft, subtle impressions of mountain, plain and sea. Anne spent a number of years living in Conemara where her work in the arts expressed itself in Celtic decoration and graphic design.
Cottage Publications, 95 pages, 30 watercolours, Available in hardback only (€25.00 plus p&p)>> Currency converter
A Fairy Wind (CD)
Fairy Wind contents:
All stories told by Joe Mc Gowan, your web host.
Literary critics comments about the above publications:
‘Enthralling… The writing is poetically descriptive flowing along enthusiastically from the laptop of a talented researcher, and chronicler, about a life unchanged for centuries and then, suddenly gone… A valuable addition to a genre whose formidable icons have been Kevin Danaher and Robin Flower.’
‘Sligo native, Joe Mc Gowan, has written a fascinating account of country customs… Through scrupulous research and many interviews, he’s recreated an almost vanished world of superstition and magic.’
‘Linking the ways of Ireland with ancient Greece, the Aztecs of South America and with the Dyaks of Borneo and illustrating his points with quotations from Chaucer and Shakespeare as well as Yeats and Manley Hopkins, McGowan has produced a book that is more than the usual chronicle of country life. In Echoes of a Savage Land he has produced a work of depth which presents a picture of Ireland in the twentieth century with both affection and a gifted use of language.’
"... What you are doing is a great service . . . it records things that will, in time, be lost forever, even such small things as the names of fields, old sayings, methods of work, etc, etc, etc, There's lots of outsiders living (or rather just commuting and sleeping) in big houses in rural areas who know little about the rich heritage that surrounds them. Before long, there will be no knowledge of that . . . except in books and recordings such as yours...":
Available: The Spanish Armada 1588
Contents: Preface; Life aboard ship; Food; Hygiene; Health; The Armada Campaign; Captain Cuellar's letter; An interpretation of same; The squadron of Levant; The Streedagh wrecks; La Girona; La Trinidad Valencera
Price: €15.00 To order click HERE
Recently published by Caoillte: Na Fianna Eireann and the Irish Revolution 1909 to 1923 Available from bookshops and Caoillte Books, also Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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