By Denis Rogers, Paperback, 422 Pages
In this story we hear echoing voices from a forgotten past. In the late 1500s 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 2,000 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 attending the harvest fair in Ballyshannon, he stood with his parents on the old bridge that spanned the Erne and looked up river to the site of the fifteenth century O’Donnell castle by the falls of Assaroe. A new bridge now spans the river. A market yard now stands on the site of the castle. The falls no longer exist, replaced in the 1950s by a hydro electric dam. .
As a schoolboy he wandered through the old Maguire castle in Enniskillen, once the stronghold of Maguire chieftains, later the home of two of the oldest and most famous regiments in the British Army, and now a museum.
With his parents he made the annual pilgrimage to the holy well close by Abbey Assaroe, a twelfth century Cistercian Abbey, -- and left votive offerings by the well, as had his pagan ancestors two thousand years before him.
This book is a ramble through Irish history, which closely follows actual historical events. It is interspersed with chapters relating to more modern times that serve to link Ireland’s past to Ireland’s present, and that will acquaint the reader with how those events of the sixteenth century have had such an impact on modern day Northern Ireland.