Book launch to coincide with celebration of Tyrrellspass women

The launch of a book featuring a series of short stories and poems by Tyrrellspass woman Nora Feehan (1876-1956) is to be launched in conjunction with a special celebration of historically remarkable women from Tyrrellspass, due to take place next month.

Over 90 years ago, Nora Feehan, a writer, teacher and artist from Tyrrellspass, penned a series of short stories and poems capturing the essence of simpler times of people from rural Ireland from the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Handwritten in old school notebooks, some were written under her name and others under her father’s name ‘Francis Ó Fiachran’. It was believed she did this hoping to get published.

Nora passed away in 1956 and her quaint and charming stories and poems remained hidden till their recent discovery. They reflect innocence and mischief, deep religious convictions, and the prevalent superstition at the time. Finally, Nora’s work is being published with little changed from the original works to keep it authentic to the original writings.

In addition to sharing Nora’s short stories and poetry for the first time, the publication also contains old photographs and sketches found amongst Nora’s notes and stories, snapshots of her handwritten notes along with other old photos from the area dating back to the early 1900s.

To celebrate the publication and launch of Nora’s work under the title Among the Hills of Ardnaree by Orla Kelly Publishing, this historic event, it is being launched to coincide with the commemoration honouring other historic and remarkable women from Tyrrellspass who have played a significant role in the history of the village over the last 200 years.

This will take place on Saturday November 13 between 11am and 1pm at Browne’s On The Green and Gonoud’s, Tyrrellspass. As well as Nora Feehan, among the other women who will be highlighted during the event are Jane Rochfort, Countess Belvedere – who willed £6,000 for the development of the Belvedere Orphanage and School – and Kitty O’Doherty, the Tyrrellspass native and Sinn Féin activist who campaigned for Irish independence in the United States (1920-23).

During this historic cultural event, Mullingar actor Mary Hughes will read and act out an excerpt of one of the stories.

Nora Feehan’s book is available for order from Orla Kelly Publishing and also online via Book Depository and Amazon from November 15.