Breaking the Mauser Rifle
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As everyone knows, this country had been under British rule for close on 1,000 years. On many occasions during that time the Irish fought against them or with them. To put it in a nutshell, this was a complex and sometimes very tough period.
To get a better understanding of what it was like for the people of the country and their families, Gerald O’Hara, after conducting family interviews and primary sources over a very long number of years, has finally launched this incredible book, which is a memoir about his family and the west of Ireland.
“It is a sweeping family epic and history of Ireland that stretches from four west of Ireland counties across Europe and around the globe. It contains stories of old clans like the O’Haras and the Cawleys, among others, and the centuries-old struggle for Irish freedom,” said Gerald.
He continued: “My grandparents and their siblings and cousins were active during the 1916 period and were participants in the War of Independence, the Civil War, World War I and World War II.
“The narrative winds its way through towns and villages of Ballaghaderreen, Ballina and Shrule, as well as Whitegate, Co. Clare. They all joined or supported the fledging Sinn Fein party and the Volunteers in the fight for independence, with each paying a price for their patriotism.
“Essentially, this is the story of the ordinary people of Ireland, the forgotten fighters and activists and the women who supported them. Now, 100 years later, as the beneficiaries of a free and prosperous republic, it is our duty to remember their sacrifice.”
At the beginning it was never Gerald’s intention to write a book. He was merely interested in recording stories from his grandparents, and this is what he did prior to departing his native shores for America way back in 1985.
After recording many of these stories, it was only then that he decided they needed to be put in book form and so the foundation for this magnificent publication was born.
Speaking at the launch on Saturday last, Gerald said: “Before going to America I decided to record stories from my grandparents. It was only after settling in America that I decided to put pen to paper and write these stories up.
“After years and years of research and communicating with family members and friends on the other side of the Atlantic, the end product – which we are launching today – is ready to hit the shelves.
“There are so many people who have been a great help to me, none better than my mother, Evelyn O’Hora, who is with us today. The amount of work she helped me out with for this book was remarkable, to say the least.
“They are many others who helped a long the way, including our MC today, local Councillor Gerry Murray. When you are writing a book of this magnitude you need an editor. Luckily, I was fortunate to have such an editor in Georgina Byrne, who has travelled from Dublin to launch this book. She certainly went above and beyond the call of duty with the amount of work she did for me.
“Finally, I want to thank my nephew, Eoin Kelly, who was responsible for doing the layout and photo editing for the cover of this book. Also, to Anthony and my sister Ann Kelly, of Riverside Restaurant, Charlestown, for providing all the refreshments for this book launch.”
Gerald, who now resides in New York, comes from a renowned and distinguished family from Church Street, Charlestown. He is son of Evelyn and the late Eamon O’Hara, and brother of Richie (Athlone), Noel (England), Carol O’Gorman (Charlestown), Ann Kelly (Charlestown) and Claire (England).
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