O'HOULIHAN'S JEST by Rohan O'Grady


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A macabre jest- indeed- as it is told at O'Houlihan's wake by his friend and lieutenant, Mick, who renders tribute to O'Houlihan, the last of a race of kings, the last of seven sons who had fought and died for Ireland against the British. This is the story of how O'Houlihan came back to avenge the last brother's death at the hands of ""The Man"", the leader of the British forces so hated by the Hunted Irish- and feared, that they will not give The Man a name. O'Houlihan too is almost a myth- leading his small band of men in hedgerow skirmishes against The Man, falling in love with fey Molly Bawn (who is not quite right in her mind). It is the murder of a little piglet (the piglet crying like a child) which sets off a whole series of murders and betrayals, until O'Houlihan, lacking the guns for a direct attack, stages his own wake to trap The Man, lets himself be shot, perhaps mortally, and rises, wrapped in his cerements, to waltz with The Man and drive him mad. This is the jest- and a myth too. And the book's mixture of wrath, poetry and magic, is thoroughly Irish and bitterly moving.

Pub Date: March 13th, 1961
Publisher: Macmillan