A NEW book that unravels the mysteries of ‘The Colleen Bawn’ murder will be launched by author, Limerick man Patrick T Fitzgerald at the Woodlands House Hotel Adare.
The seeds of an idea for this research stemmed from childhood memories of hearing different myths, songs, operas and stories told about the event, and curiosity was re-ignited in 2010 when Patrick took a Colleen Bawn tour given by friend Patrick C Fitzgerald.
“The story appears to me to have been largely lost to this generation. People have always wanted to know, the full details and the local background of the story that spawned so many adaptations and myths.
“It is the aim of this book, the first in over sixty years on the Colleen Bawn, to present the true story insofar as it can be established and determined, as well as preserving and passing on the many variations, myths and legends,” said Patrick.
Following eight years of research, and with the bi-centenary of the murder approaching in 2020 Patrick said, “I’ve picked apart the various elements that contribute to the overall story, hopefully, it will encourage future scholars of the Collen Bawn to research further and make available more material”.
According to Patrick’s research, the Colleen Bawn was a 15-year-old peasant catholic country girl Ellen Hanley from Manister who developed a forbidden love affair with John Scanlan a 28-year-old protestant squires son. He convinced her to steal her dowry elope with him, and after a short period of time got his foot servant Steven Sullivan to kill her and cover it up.
“I enjoyed doing it. I enjoyed all the people I’ve met and the support and the challenge, it was a tough project. I was amazed that there was so much secondary source material, and I was amazed at the continued level of interest, because the story in its simplicity is one of innocence and beauty being murdered by oppressive power and everybody likes to see justice done,” added Patrick.
The launch at Woodland’s House Hotel, Adare will take place on Monday, July 16 at 8pm following an introduction by Patrick C. Fitzgerald and a short presentation by the author. Copies of The Colleen Bawn can be ordered directly from the author by email [email protected]