Saturday 24 April 2021

A-Z Blogging Challenge - U is for Uncle

Not the easiest letter, mainly because I can’t find any names or places beginning with U in my novels. However, with a bit of lateral thinking, I finally found a sub-plot concerning an uncle and nephew!

In Irish Shadows, all Rose Finlay knows is that her great-grandfather fell out with his cousins because of something that happened during the Irish Civil War in the 1920s.

Seemingly unconnected (to begin with) is a family story told by Tom Keating (see yesterday’s post) about how his grandfather Michael Keating and another man planned to blow up a railway bridge not far from Clifden in 1922. However, a few hours before the intended act of sabotage, Michael was arrested, and later claimed he had been betrayed by someone called Joe.

Rose discovers her great-grandfather was Joseph O’Malley, and is shocked to discover from a report dating from November 1922 that “Captain Edward Andrews said he had received information from Private Joseph O’Malley, which implicated Michael Keating in a plot to blow up the railway bridge at Athry Lough on the night of the 20th.”

More research shows her that Joseph O’Malley was, in fact, the son of Michael Keating’s sister. In other words, Joseph had betrayed his own uncle, who as a result was jailed in Galway for six months.

In the words of one of the Keating family: “The rest of the family never forgave Joe O’Malley for squealing to the authorities about his Uncle Michael.” Another member of the family also says: “If anyone showed up now saying they were related to Joseph O’Malley, I doubt they’d get a very friendly reception from us.”

But did Joe O’Malley betray his uncle – or did he save his life?

You’ll have to read Irish Shadows to find out! 

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  1. Very clever use of the letter U! It was intricate sub-plot so well written. I'm sure families are still divided.

    1. Yes, old betrayals/grudges can take a long time to heal :-(