Writing Ireland’s History – Historical Fiction

With Niamh Boyce, Patricia O’Reilly, Eibhear Walshe BOOKED OUT

In Conversation with Nessa O’Mahony

Friday 15 November

Time: 1.00pm – 2.00pm

Venue: National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street

Free Entry Booking advised


Nessa O’Mahony, poet and author of The Branchman (Arlen House), is joined by authors Patricia O’Reilly, Eibhear Walshe and Niamh Boyce in a captivating conversation about the Irish historical-fiction novel. Veteran historical-fiction writer, Patricia O’Reilly, has published such titles as Time and Destiny and A Time of Beauty. Her most recent publication is The First Rose of Tralee (Poolbeg Press), an engaging story of romance amidst political upheaval in the life of Mary O’Connor, the inspiration for the Rose of Tralee festival. Eibhear Walshe is a Cork-based lecturer and author and has recently published his novel, The Trumpet Shall Sound (Sommerville Press), a fascinating account of the life of composer George Handel, whose most famous work, the oratorio Messiah, was first performed on Fishamble Street in 1742. Award-winning author of The Herbalist, Niamh Boyce, presents her second novel Her Kind (Penguin) – an imagined retelling of Alice Kytler and her personal connection with her maid, Petronella of Meath. Set in 14th century Kilkenny, the story of this relationship is at once familiar and startlingly revealing.



Niamh Boyce was named Newcomer of the Year at the 2013 Irish Book Awards for The Herbalist, her first novel (‘The most entertaining yet substantial historical novel since Joseph O’Connor’s Star of the Sea’ Irish Times) which was also a Number One bestseller. She won the 2012 Hennesssy XO New Irish Writer Of The Year Award and Emerging Poetry Award for her poem ‘Kitty’. Her short fiction has been widely published in anthologies. Her Kind is her second novel.

Patricia O’Reilly has written 12 books, fiction and non-fiction. Her historical fiction includes The First Rose of Tralee, the story of the servant girl who inspired the annual Rose of Tralee International Festival; The Interview, what occurred between Irish Designer Eileen Gray and Bruce Chatwin, golden boy of Fleet Street when he interviewed her in 1972; A Type of Beauty, the story of Kathleen Newton, mistress and muse to French artist Jacques Tissot.

She has come the route of freelance feature writing; and radio plays, documentaries, and teaches the writing of Fiction in UCD and at Literary Festivals.

Eibhear Walshe is a writer who lives in Cork, Ireland, where he lectures in the School of English at University College Cork and is Director of Creative Writing. He has published in the area of memoir, literary criticism and biography, and his books include Kate O’Brien: A Writing Life, (2006), Oscar’s Shadow: Wilde and Ireland, (2012), and A Different Story: the Writings if Colm Tóibín, (2013). His childhood memoir, Cissie’s Abbatoir, (2009) was broadcast on RTÉ’s ‘Book on One’. His novel, The Diary of Mary Travers, (2014), was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Novel of the Year Award in 2015 and longlisted for the 2016 International Dublin Literary Award. He was associate editor, with Catherine Marshall, of Modern Ireland in 100 Artworks, (2016), edited by Fintan O’Toole and shortlisted for the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards. His new novel, The Trumpet Shall Sound was published in 2019.

Nessa O’Mahony is a Dublin-born writer. She has published five books of poetry, the most recent being The Hollow Woman on the Island (Salmon 2019). She published her debut historic crime novel, The Branchman, with Arlen House in 2018.