Saturday, October 29, 2011

New edition of Beara to Brefine now available

Dear friends of Beara,

I just received the following announcement of availability. Please address any inquiries, as directed, to

========== Begin Announcement =============

Advance book reprint notice.

The second edition of 'The Great Retreat' as published in 1987,
re-edited and re-published in 2002, as 'Beara to Brefine' has been out
of print for some years. We are pleased to announce that a new and
revised edition is now ready to go to press.

Beara to Brefine details the Elizabethan wars of the late 1500's, The
Battle Of Kinsale, The Munster Resistance, the last stand of Donal
Cam, Chief of the Beara O'Sullivan and his indomitable Fighting
Retreat in the depth of a harsh winter as he led his refugee peoples
Northwards to hoped for safety in the Lands of Brefine.

The last of the Elizabethan Wars had momentous consequences for Gaelic
Ireland in that the wars were responsible for the fall of the Old
Gaelic Aristocracy, the Flight Of The Earls, the exile of other
Chieftains and Clans such as O'Keeffe, McAulliffe and Donal O'Sullivan
Beara. From there on Plantation, dispossession, cultural and other
genocide prevailed.

The Penal Laws and other oppressions became a constant for the Irish
Race until the rise of O'Connell and Catholic Emancipation in 1829
when the Roman Catholic, Nationalist majority began the slow,
systematic return to ownership of their own Lands and Rule of their
Own Country. The Book is a must read for all interested in this
significant, historical period in general and for Sullivans or person
with O'Sullivan blood or relations in particular.

This third edition is again revised and expanded by Donal
O'Siodhachain who took part in the 1987 march route recreation with
Donnacha O'Douling and other local Historians. He also took part in
the 400 year centennial march commemoration. He has also lectured and
given talks on O'Sullivan Beara and the Munster Wars. The inclusion of
large scale maps of the route will be especially welcome to readers.
The book is A5 size 15CM X 21CM (6" X 8.5" ) trimmed, full color card
cover, ( with a specially comissioned potrait of Donal Cam set against
Beara seashore) 90gms High Grade paper, 100 + pages fill, perfect
bound and trimmed.

This edition will be available by direct internet postal sales only
from Clo Duanaire / Irish and Celtic Publications. As the Distribution
Companies and chain stores are now taking 60% of the cover price and
with production costs running to another 30%, conventional sales
through book shops at a reasonable or affordable cost to the reader
are no longer possible for small publishers. This decision is
regrettable for the smaller bookshops with whom we have had a good
working and mutually beneficial relationship over past decades, but it
is also inevitable if we are to continue in book publication as we
intend do do.

All prices include post and packaging.

Zone 1 postal area, Ireland €15,
Zone 2 postal area, UK, £15,
Zone 3 postal area, remaining European area € 20 and
Zone 4, $ 25 US dollars or equivalent.

Note ; rather than incur additional credit card costs etc, prices are
intended for two or three local currency notes enclosed with orders.
All orders dispatched immediately or if not, at latest within a
fourteen day period.

Anyone interested in purchasing the book, please contact the editor,
at to place provisional order for copy or copies,or
for any additional details that may be required

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Seige of Dunboy

This drawing, depicting the Seige of Dunboy, was kindly provided by Donal O'Siodhachain. A good online summary of the seige is available at the Beara Historical Society website.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Man of Beara -- a poem by Donal O'Siodhachain

Man Of Beara

(Do mo chara cleite uasal, Riobard)

Solid as the hills that surround him

and sometimes just as contrary too

But mostly bright as an Ahaillies sunset

Or Lauragh’s fields in morning dew

This wise man has a knowledge

But not from the Cloistered Hall

Where mind manacles were forged

To hold our people in their thrall

Seek in the winding mountain path

Leading to the hidden valley, stream

Where Poet and Hedge School Master

Held alive the burning Aisling dream

In such secluded, lonely places

A wolf’s price on their hoary head

While they lived Eire would rise and

The planter slept uneasy in his bed

Theirs were the eyes that see a spailpin-

Not just a laborer with his spade

But the generations back to the hand

Of the white sal when Chiefs were made

For him no lofty halls or roasted boar

Nor now no horses, cups or rings

Yet he knows in other times, his

Honor seat with prince and kings

Content to glean a nickname

Gone long years to Pert or Butte

Around it trace a vanished family

Even plot their emigration route

Cloak of learning lightly worn

Now that twilight years are there,

With such as O’Curry and O’Donovan

In their bright script, he too will share

(Do mo chara cleite uasal Riobard)...

Dedicated to my noble friend of the quill, Robert !

aisling : vision (of the future, usually in poetic form )

A wolf’s price on their hoary head ! Queen Elizabeth (1st) paid

the same bounty on the head of a poets as she did a wolf's head !

spailpin- : an unpropertied person selling their labor by the day or week.

White Sal ( sally... willow ) A white wand over a foot long and made from a bark peeled sally rod was among the symbols of kingship given to a Gaelic Chieftain at their coronation.

For him no lofty halls or roasted boar

Nor now no horses, cups or rings......

Roast Pork at the feast and horses, valuable jeweled drinking cups, rings etc among the gifts given to those involved in reciting the genealogy of kings, princes and other nobility.

O’Curry and O’Donovan : two great scholars, translators, compilers of genealogy etc from the Celtic Revival era in the 19th cent.

--- End contributed material ---

Editor's note: Riobard O'Dwyer really is a man deserving of the poet's recognition. A National Teacher for many years, he has also made it his life's work to preserve the genealogical history of the Beara peninsula. Through Riobard's efforts I came to know more about my own Beara ancestors than I ever would have known otherwise. Since I also have ancestors from other parts of Ireland, I know just how rare and wonderful a treasure we have in Riobard. He continues to build on the great legacy of O'Dwyer scholars, teachers, and historians who've contributed so much to the Beara communities over the centuries.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

First post

This is a place for all those with an interest in the history and people of Ireland's Beara peninsula. I will sometimes post original content of my own creation, but more often I intend to solicit guest articles from others.

So please make yourself welcome. Participate in the discussions, if you're so minded; and if you have an article you'd like to contribute, please let me know.

Bill Gawne