Sunday, 24 June 2018

Irish Shadows

IRISH SHADOWS, the fifth of my Mist Na Mara contemporary novels, will be released this week, so here’s a reminder of the beautiful part of Ireland where it is set.

Connemara, on the west coast of Ireland, is a wild area of County Galway. Its name comes from Conmhacne Mara, meaning “descendants of Con Mhac of the Sea”. It is a broad peninsula, surrounded on three sides by the Atlantic Ocean, and stretching from Killary Harbour in the north to Galway Bay in the south.

Connemara is renowned for its inspiring scenery, ranging from the Twelve Bens to Roundstone Bog. The coastline is broken by many small inlets and narrow peninsulas, and there are numerous small islands off the coast.

The Twelve Bens or Twelve Pins is a range of sharp peaked mountains, none of them higher than about 3,400 feet, but still stark and dramatic. Hundreds of streams run down the steep mountain sides, joining up with other streams to form large and small loughs (pronounced like the ‘lochs’ in Scotland) in the valley.

Clifden, on the west coast, is the ‘capital’ of Connemara. The town was founded by John D’Arcy who inherited the estate at the beginning of the 19th century (and built a castle overlooking Clifden Bay). At the time the area was inhabited mainly by fishermen and farmers, until D’Arcy decided to establish a town and also a road to Galway (now the N59).

By 1839 the town had grown to 185 dwellings, most of them three-floored, two churches, two hotels, three schools, a police barracks, courthouse, a gaol, a distillery and 23 pubs(!), and it had a population of about 1,000. It suffered during the Potato Famine in the 1840s and didn’t recover until the end of the 19th century when a railway was built to link it to Galway.

In the second half of the 20th century, Clifden has become a thriving tourist destination. Its population of about 2,500 is swelled by tourists, hikers, cyclists, and water sports enthusiasts during the summer months. For the less energetic, there is a variety of shops from sweater shops and boutiques to antiques and art, and of course the tourist souvenir shops. Needless to say, there are also plenty of pubs, some genuinely ‘old’ Irish and others more trendy. In many of them, there is live music most evenings.

IRISH SHADOWS is released on 27 June, and is available at a special price of 99c/99pence for a limited time. Like the other books in the series, it is a stand-alone story, with a ‘new’ hero and heroine.

Will Liam and Rose be able to resolve all the shadows from the past in order to find a future together?
After a heart-breaking experience, Rose Finlay has vowed never to give another man a chance to hurt her – until Liam McKenna arrives at Mist Na Mara Arts Centre to organise an anniversary celebration event. Liam has his own reasons for not wanting to embark on a new relationship, and both fight the mutual magnetic attraction.
Shocks await them when Liam meets the boy his sister gave up for adoption twenty years earlier, and Rose’s ‘ex’ makes contact with her thirteen-year-old son. Rose also discovers a betrayal which has divided her family since the Irish Civil War in the 1920s.