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Halloween Literary Offerings

Halloween, Hauntings, Ghosts, Vampires and Other Literary Fare

The festival that is Halloween has become so pervasive and ubiquitous to the extent that its origins have been somewhat obscured. The traditions associated with it, however, are rooted in the ancient Gaelic harvest festival of Samhain, giving it pre-Christian and pagan origins. It transitioned into the Christian milieu as All Hallow’s Eve (the day that precedes All Saints’ Day in the Christian liturgy). Irish and Scottish migrants, most likely, carried the traditions with them to the New World until, by the 20th century, it gained a worldwide following, aided no doubt by the growth of new media with vaster, more global reach – including literature but also in the form of cinema, TV, etc.

Bram Stoker and the Irishness of Dracula

Dressing up in costumes that invoke legendary characters – such as Count Dracula, for example – is just one part of the Halloween fare. Much like Halloween itself, however, the lore that surrounds the figure of Dracula has gained a life of its own – one that has come to surpass its origins which, in fact, have nothing to do with Halloween at all although, they are Irish.

Author, Dennis McIntyre in his book, Bram Stoker and the Irishness of Dracula brings it all back home as far as the world’s most enduring, much imitated but never emulated vampire story is concerned.

Once in a while, a book comes along that is definitive in its subject matter – this is one such book

Bram Stoker and the Irishness of Dracula by Dennis McIntyre is published under the imprint of The Shara Press and is available to buy online.

From the Pen of Susan R. Murphy

Susan R. Murphy reckons that she has been “addicted to horror” since an early age. “While other children played with the Ken and Barbie dolls, I played Vampires with mine!”

Over the years, her interest in horror, science fiction and mythology grew. One day, in 1993, she sat down and wrote a series of short stories on these subjects. The Immortals: Thrills, Chills, Tales of the Macabre is a collection of “truly terrifying tales”, containing a blend of ancient Greek mythology, American Gothic horror, UFO abductions, Halloween scares and campfire tales. In much the same vein is The Ghost in My House, a short story on a haunted house theme.

These and other books by Susan R. Murphy are available to buy online, in print and e-book editions.

Stories on Irish Mythological Themes

The Battle for Coman’s Wood by Mario Corrigan is a fast-paced, action-packed adventure story, told on the back of Irish mythological themes that will leave you gasping!

An American family have come to Ireland in time for Halloween, for the ancient Festival of Samhain. Their journey becomes a quest to thwart the evil plans of Queen Medbh and The Morrigan, as terrible, evil creatures issue forth from beneath the earth. Our brave heroes must face the might of these supernatural forces, in an epic showdown in Coman’s Wood in County Roscommon (the name, Roscommon deriving from the Irish Ros Comáin, meaning ‘Saint Coman’s wood’).

The Battle for Coman’s Wood by Mario Corrigan (with illustrations by David Butler) is suitable for all ages. It is published under the imprint of Do Fish Wear Pyjamas Publications and is available to buy online, in print and e-book editions.

The GhostÉire Investigates Series

Finally, for those who like to ‘keep it real’ where horror and ghostly hauntings are concerned, the GhostÉire Investigates series attempts to do just that.

GhostÉire are an Irish-based group of paranormal researchers, whose quest to find spiritual and scientific explanations for the paranormal, the supernatural and similarly unexplained phenomena take them to many locations, the length and breadth of Ireland. In their reports on their investigations into possible hauntings, they offer personal insight and suggest rational thinking towards any strange phenomena that has been observed.

These investigations have been recorded and documented in two volumes to date, comprising written and audio-visual accounts. The Rising of Haunted Ireland, published in 2016, has been followed by the publication, earlier this year, of Drowned-Out Voices, which takes up where the previous volume leaves off (an investigation into Ireland’s famous Blarney Castle).

Both The Rising of Haunted Ireland and Drowned-Out Voices by GhostÉire are published under the imprint of The Manuscript Publisher and available to buy online, in print (both paperback and hardback) and e-book editions, fully illustrated and accompanied with video footage (DVD and online video formats).

Parental Advisory: The books in the GhostÉire Investigates series are suitable for age 16 and over only. They contain strong language and possibly disturbing themes.

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Centenary of the Death of Michael Collins (1890-1922)

Photo of Michael Collins (1890-1922), in uniform, as a young recruit

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Michael Collins (1890-1922): Irish Revolutionary Leader and Statesman

The centenary of the death of Michael Collins is being marked today. A key figure in Ireland’s War of Independence, chief negotiator (with Arthur Griffith) of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, Michael Colllins was killed in an ambush at Béal na Bláth, in his native county of Cork, on this day (22 August) in 1922. It brought to an end a short life but one that left behind an legacy of immense significance for Ireland and the Irish people.

No single volume could completely encapsulate the life of such an extraordinary figure and the times in which he lived. A whole series of books would be required and still questions would remain. That said, three books published under the imprint of The Manuscript Publisher and available to buy online, highlight and illustrate the diverse range of views, regard and appreciation that surround Michael Collins, his life, his role in shaping Irish history.


Native Freeborn Irishman

Native Freeborn Irishman represents the author, Seán O’Donoghue’s testimony to “how a deep-sea diver was influenced by the actions of General Michael Collins and others, from tales told to him at his father’s fireside.”

This is not a book that is in any way ‘about’ Michael Collins but it does represents testimony to how he has come to be regarded, by some at least, of the generations that followed and who inherited his legacy. What it does contain is a rich seam of personal reflections from an author who lived an adventurous and colourful life of his own though not without personal cost. Read about his travels to Malaysia, Egypt, the North Sea to work as a deep-sea diver; the tragedies he witnessed as part of the rescue mission following the Piper Alpha oil rig disaster of July 1988; his lives and loves, the friends that he made along the way are all chronicled in lucid and vivid poetry and in prose.

Sadly, Seán passed away in 2019 but he too has left behind a rich legacy in the form of his writings, contained in the book, Native Freeborn Irishman, published under the imprint of The Manuscript Publisher, and available to buy online.

The Truth about the Irish Civil War

Author and historian, Jack Kiernan offers a somewhat different view, not just of Collins but of the Irish Civil War (1922-1923), which will come across as radically at variance and even at odds with what many people would like to believe to be the case.

His book Why Did They Lie? The Irish Civil War, the Truth, Where and When it All Began, delves into hitherto unknown aspects of Ireland’s Civil War, including Michael Collins, who gets a chapter to himself. His is a candid assessment, not exactly flattering but a welcome one for the manner in which it ignites debate about certain troubled, murky aspects of Irish history that remain unanswered or unresolved to this day.

Why Did They Lie? The Irish Civil War, the Truth, Where and When it All Began by Jack Kiernan is published under the imprint of The Manuscript Publisher and available to buy online, in print and e-book editions.

The Dawning of the Day

Last but not least, The Dawning of the Day by Liam Nevin is a sweeping epic of interweaving tales following the lives, loves, trials and tribulations of three families, set against the backdrop of a turbulent decade in Irish history (the Decade of Centenaries, commencing with the 1913 Lockout and concluding with the Irish Civil War and the establishment of an Irish Free State) and one of great upheaval the world over.

In the following passage, taken from the Foreword to the book, the author describes what motivated and prompted him to undertake what is his most ambitious work to date:

I never remembered being taught much about that time when I was at school in the sixties. It was probably too painful or too embarrassing for those who lived through it. Most history books went only as far as the Anglo-Irish War, when Ireland had ‘won her freedom’. I remember the enmity that existed between neighbours when I was growing up in the fifties and sixties. I struggled to understand why some families were for and others against the Treaty of 1921. My research would lead me to the answer.

The Dawning of the Day by Liam Nevin is published under the imprint of The Manuscript Publisher and available to buy online, in print and e-book editions.