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Five Famous Dogs of Ireland -Great grandmother pens new children's novel

Posted by Sean O'Halloran on January 27, 2019 at 7:20 PM Comments comments (101)

The Down Recorder - 5 December 2018

A CLOUGH woman has just published her third children’s book in a series cleverly written to capture the imagination of young readers.

Eighty six year-old Maureen Donnelly’a book, Five Famous Dogs of Ireland, which is illustrated by Ulster artist Susan Hughes, looks at the wealth of legends and rich folklore which has almost been forgotten today.

Mrs Donnelly, whose late husband, the Rev James Donnelly, was rector of Saul and Inch Parish Churches, says she got her inspiration from a picture of her great grandson, one year-old Rory Donnelly, holding on to a fluffy teddy bear in one hand and patting the family’s pet dog with the other.

She said: “It struck me when I saw the photo how well children and animals get along. Sadly, children are growing up in a society that is saturated with technology and it appears to be hindering their development in reading and understanding.”

Five Famous Dogs of Ireland brings to life the best loved of all the Irish hounds in history since Finn McCool and his favourite dog, Bran, strolled these parts.

They include the much loved best friend of Manus O’Kane, an ancient chieftain from the Glens. His wolfhound was called Bawn and was known to be the best jumping dog in all of Ireland and could scare off the meanest of enemies.

Mrs Donnelly said: “I had the privilege to grow up with stories such as Bran. I loved the story so much I wrote it down back then. And I’m really glad I did. I came to write all the ones I could recall back then too. These tales will be sure to ignite again the imaginations of every child who reads them.”

No book would be complete without the tale of Setanta, the young boy who grew up to be a brave warrior. He was renowned for tackling a fierce hound with his bare hands. But feeling so bad after killing the hound, he asked the dog’s owner for a pup and promised he would train him up to be as good as his father.

Setanta became known from that day on as Cu Chulainn — the Hound of Cullen.

Mrs Donnelly has been instrumental in setting up a number of historical societies around Co Down.

She adds: “The books are aids to help parents hand down our wealth of Irish folklore and the great legends of Ulster to another generation. So much of our heritage and culture is being lost on our young generation.

“This series of books is a way for me to rescue those stories. This generation is seeing a lot more children who are hyper active but a book in hand can be a slowing down tool to enjoy in a park or curled up on the sofa.”

Five Famous Dogs of Ireland would make a great Christmas gift for any child or adult. It can be purchased for £7.99 from a number of local outlets, including the St Patrick Centre, Down County Museum and Smyth’s Newsagents in Newcastle.



Maureen Donnelly - Famous Dogs of Ireland

Posted by Sean O'Halloran on January 27, 2019 at 5:40 PM Comments comments (1)

Maureen Donnelly has made a name for herself as a fine writer of local histories and childrens stories. Over a period of 21 years she was a regular writer for B.B.C. Schools, providing scripts for subjects that included history and nature.

Her sensitivity to historic context is evident in her latest book for children, . These stories are set in various historical periods and introduce the child reader to the life and times of different periods in Ireland's history. And of course they are about dogs - famous dogs.

Few stories are more popular with children than animal stories. It is often through such stories that children explore their emotional life. These stories deal with courage and grief, devotion and loyalty, affection and fear, victory and defeat; all dealt with through simple storylines a child can relate to. There are fun activities for the children too. They are challenged to find things out for themselves.

A map is included of the places mentioned, another learning challenge. The book is suitable for the age range of upper primary, about 8-12+.

Other children's books by the same author are:

Three Tales of Moyle, for 8-12 year olds

Patrick, Brigid and Columcille, for teenagers.

Adult books by the same author include:

The Nine Glens, Downpatrick and Lecale, Inch Abbey and Parish. Pamphlets include: Places of Historical Interest around Newcastle, Finn MacCool. Who was Saint Patrick?

She holds a B.A. from Queens University which included modules on Irish history. Maureen Donnelly,

Dan Masterson writes of Maire Liberace's 'Lament in a Minor Key' '''

Posted by Sean O'Halloran on October 16, 2018 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Dan Masterson (the first Poet Laureate of NY State's Rockland County, and Poet Emeritus at SUNY Rockland CC) writes: 'What a solid, embracing collection. "Valley Forge" & "Veterans Cemetery" are fine additions,.. They remind us of Maire's strict choices of verbs: the thrust they inflict and the immediate and lasting images they carry. We are also reminded of her strict/ and demanding use of adjectives: never cosmetic - always expansive. Among the array of gifts she gives her readers is interesting use of punctuation, -and the smooth or startling line-breaks that have us assume a change or resume the storyline.'

Clachan Celebrates its Fiftieth Publication

Posted by Sean O'Halloran on August 9, 2018 at 6:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Mike Turner introducing his debut children’s novel, 'Zarafina, Princess of Kendoria'. In the story Mike's granddaughter discovers she has another life as Princess Zarafina in the Kingdom of Kendoria were she is needed to destroy a loomong evil.

The real Molly was at hand to read passages from the book, along with Mike and the support of her mother.

The successful event was part of Clachan Publications celebration of its 50th publication, and took place in the Harbour Gallery, Ballycastle. This proved to be a most welcoming and supportive venue.

Thanks Katie!!

Sarah Fox launches "one Man's Poison".

Posted by Sean O'Halloran on January 10, 2018 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Paul Clements' local history review in the Irish Times

Posted by Sean O'Halloran on January 3, 2018 at 6:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Great to see Paul Clements' local history review of Clachan's recent publications 'The Genealogy of the House of O'Reilly', in the Irish Times." target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://

Nikolaus Grüger the discoverer of the manuscript

Posted by Sean O'Halloran on May 15, 2017 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

In 2008, an 18th century Irish manuscript was discovered at a rare books auction in Munich by Professor Nikolaus Grüger, The item was a genealogy of the Irish O’Reilly clan from the Kingdom of Breifne – modern County Cavan today.’

His first contact with Ireland was after the Second World War in 1946. His two older sisters received an invitation to stay with an Irish family in Dublin. He received letters from them in which they described the countryside, culture and music of this far distant land. But his love-affair with Ireland began with reading peregrinatio of the German author and later Nobel Prize winner Heinrich Boll, Irisches Tagebuch. It inspired him with the idea of getting to know the country, rich in cultural history. As a musician and performer of the French horn and Cello, inter alia, who was born and living in Berlin, with five musical brothers and sisters, they formed their own family string quartet. In the nineteen sixties, he founded the Rheinisches Blaser-Sextet (Rhenish Wind-Sextet) and organised a concert tour in 1969 throughout Ireland. Further concerts followed in Ireland under the new name Consortium Classicum, recording a total of thirty albums over a twenty-five year period. In that time they undertook three world concert tours. Nikolaus was teaching as a visiting music Professor in the State University of Manila in the Philippines in the nineteen seventies and later was appointed as Head of three Departments: Woodwind, Brass and Percussion in the Academy of Music in Munich. His love affair with Ireland continued with his marriage to Belfast Soprano, Angela Feeney - the renowned International Opera Singer. He was always on the lookout for Irish literature and is a lifelong member of the Linen Hall Library in Belfast. He discovered and purchased this Lost Manuscript in 2008 at a Munich book auction, without knowing its provenance.

The Light of Other Days by Denis Rogers

Posted by Sean O'Halloran on April 10, 2017 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (30)


In this story we hear again echoing voices from a forgotten past. In the late 1600s in the dying light of Gaelic Ireland, Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone, led the northern chieftains in a last brave struggle for faith and fatherland; to rid Ireland of an encroaching English influence, and to retain her ancient Celtic way of life. At the time of the Tyrone Rebellion the northern part of Ireland, together with the Western Isles and Highlands of Scotland were the last remnants of a 1500 year old Celtic culture. The western isles furnished a cadre of elite mercenary warriors who fought for these northern chieftains.

The author was born in the north west of Ireland, in the area central to his story, and in his early years walked among relics of that forgotten past. As a child he stood with his parents on the old bridge at Ballyhannon to gaze at the falls of Assaroe and the site of the nearby fifteenth century O’Donnell castle. The Falls no longer exist, replaced in the 1950’s by a hydro electric dam. A market yard now stands on the site of the castle.

As a schoolboy he rambled through the old Maguire castle in Enniskillen, once the stronghold of Maguire chieftains, later the home of two of the oldest regiments in the British Army, and now a museum.

/With his parents he made an annual pilgrimage to the Holy Well close by Abbey Assaroe, a twelfth century Cistercian Abbey, -- and left votive offerings by the well, as had their pagan ancestors.

This book is a ramble through Irish history. It is interspersed with chapters relating to modern day events that serve to link Ireland’s past to Ireland’s present, and that will acquaint the reader with how those events of the 1600’s have had such an impact on modern day Northern Ireland.


Walking on Water - The poems of Maire Liberace

Posted by Sean O'Halloran on July 23, 2016 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Delighted to announce the launch of

Maire Liberace's first full book of poems.


SATURDAY, 6 AUGUST, FROM 6.00 T0 8.00 P.M.

Maire has previously published poetry in 'A New Ulster', Northern Ireland's newest literary and arts ezine, magazine.

The poems are a celebration of Ireland. Maire has grown up with a love and regard for its history, its legends, literature and poetry. All have been embedded in the marrow of her bones and this is reflected in a deep love for the country she grew up in.

Now resident in the United States, and with a grown up family, she is still immersed in the stories, people and experiences that shaped her early years and which have given her sustenance, succour and structure throughout her life.

She remains a frequent visitor to Ireland, returning to the North Antrim coast every year, keeping in close contact with the extended family in Ballycastle and Carey.

And it is of these places and people that she mainly writes; especially Ballycastle and its environs. These are the places that have brought everything together for Maire. The people, the landscapes and, in particular the sea, have always been and still are the sources of her inspiration. Among these, Murlough Bay remains the place of her dreams and fondest memories.

Many of her poems are imbued with a deep and original reflectiveness that seems to emerge from the landscape that inspired them. She writes of herself as:


Alone yet not lonely

I am rooted in time past,

Mist settles on my face

crystal beading on my hair and jacket.


The poems you will find here are strong, yet quiet, thoughtful yet accessible, thought-provoking yet without straining to be clever. They deserve to be read and reread by all who feel the pulse of the past beat from this lovely landscape and who see the glimmer of ancient ghosts cross the features of folk and events still with us.

Just as her mother imbued Maire with the love of her childhood landscape, so Robert, her son and renowned artist and living Master, has celebrated the same setting through his art and sculpture, and some of Robert’s work graces the pages of this publication.


Thanks to Patricia Craig for reviewing our new edition of "Ulster and the City of Belfast".

Posted by Sean O'Halloran on July 1, 2015 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Patricia Craig's review in the The Times Literary Supplement (TLS) our new edition of "Ulster and the City of Belfast" by Richard Hayward.

An interesting review of "Ulster and the City of Belfast" in the Anglo Celt.

Posted by Sean O'Halloran on June 20, 2015 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (0)

The Cavan paper, the Anglo Celt has two pieces on Richard Hayward, covering a full page. The emphasis is, unsurprisingly of Hayward’s writings on Cavan.

However, of that paper Hayward wrote:

“The only bad thing I know about that paper is the execrable local pronunciation of the work ‘Celt’ with a soft C. It does violence to my ear every time a Cavan man uses such an un-Irish sound”.


This is the "Irish Examiner's" Review of "Romancing Ireland".

Posted by Sean O'Halloran on June 14, 2015 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Well, you have heard of him now, thanks to Paul Clements.

Mayo News reviews the new paperback edition of "Romancing Ireland".

Posted by Sean O'Halloran on June 12, 2015 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (125)

Maureen O'Hara reading "The Corrib Country" by Richard Hayward during the filming of "The Quiet Man".

Review of Valhalla and the Fjörd : A Spiritual Motorcycle Journey through the History of Strangford Lough

Posted by Sean O'Halloran on May 28, 2015 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Lovely piece on @RightToRide's website on #valhallaandthefjord Website here: … @ClachanBooks @ABRmagazine @MEMemagazine.

Right to Ride Magazine