• Bridget Walsh

Serendipity and historical research #amwriting #irishhistoricalnovels

Updated: Jul 11

It started with a short drive.

I was in Ireland last week to babysit my grandsons. My daughter, Fran, was going to a wedding in Rome with Con, her husband. I promised myself I'd visit TheCakeDame, @cake_dame, I follow her on Twitter, in Cheekpoint village, County Waterford, and buy some fresh bakes. This lovely village beside the River Suir is only a few miles away from my daughter's house.


Passing through Faithlegg,

we were almost there, when I spotted this road sign beside an old church and graveyard. I just glimpsed it as we drove past.

The name, Thomas Frances Meagher, caught my eye. I had written about this man, in my novel, 'Daughters of the Famine Road.' He's also got a part to play in the third novel in the trilogy.


I needed to visit the family tomb.

Later that same day I went back there, and found the family tomb of the Meagher family in the old graveyard beside Faithlegg Church.


***

Why?

My interest in Thomas Francis Meagher related to his connection with The Nation newspaper in Dublin and the Nationalist cause in mid-nineteenth-century Ireland. My character, Jane Keating, was closely involved with The Nation, its co-founder Charles Gavan Duffy, poet and writer, Speranza (Jane Elgee), and Thomas Frances Meagher.


I knew that Meagher was from Waterford, His father was the Mayor of the city and Member of Parliament.


Meagher took part in the failed Irish rebellion of 1848, was transported to Tasmania, then Van Diemen's Land, from where he later escaped to America. I had never thought about his grave, as he died in America in 1867.


Who is buried in Faithlegg?


While in Tasmania, Thomas Frances married the daughter of an ex-convict. Her name was Catherine. Sadly, she died aged just twenty-two, while living with Meagher's father's family in Waterford, while Thomas Frances was in America. You can read her name at the bottom of the granite gravestone. She left a son who was raised by the Meagher family.




*****

Thank you for your visit, while you're here, why not:


1. Read more about these fascinating characters and how I imagined their lives during the Irish Famine. Buy 'Daughters of the Famine Road,' https://rotf.lol/Famine-Road


2. Click on Buy my book at the top of the Home page to order a personalised, signed copy.


3. Look out for the next novel in the trilogy: 'Daughters in Exile' coming in July 2022.



Reference.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Francis_Meagher#Family


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