This is the 100th anniversary of the death of the great novelist, Canon Sheehan, and the Aubane Historical Society is celebrating it by republishing his last novel, “The Graves at Kilmorna – A Story of ’67” (296pp. ISBN 978-1-903497-78-4.)
It is a novel of the Fenian Rising of 1867 and of the subsequent decline of principled political national life in Ireland under the influence of the Home Rule Party. The central figure of the novel, a Fenian veteran, is killed by a Parliamentary mob for raising Fenian principles at an election meeting.
Canon Sheehan (1852-1913) completed the novel shortly before his death. It was published the following year, 1914, when the Home Rule Bill was being formally enacted by Parliament but was set aside in fact and the Home Rule leaders were recruiting Irish cannon fodder for the British war on Germany and Turkey, and a new Rising was being planned.
Sheehan, the author of novels of high quality, was the Parish Priest of Doneraile in North Cork. He was actively involved in social and political affairs (land reform and the All-for-Ireland-League). His first posting as a priest was to Exeter in England where, as a prison chaplain at Dartmoor, he became familiar with the conditions in which Fenian prisoners were held.
The book will be available shortly at Wordsworths for €15 and will be launched in Doneraile on Monday, 21st October by the Canon Sheehan Commemoration Committee.