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Black Lake is the first novel by Irish author Johanna Lane, the tale of a family tying to keep their “big house” and estate solvent.

Black LakeThe plot, as much as there is one, concerns the current owners of a once-grand house and large estate in remote Co. Donegal. Dulough (meaning “black lake”) was built by a Scottish industrialist in the 1800s, and initially the family had plenty of money to support it. However, over the generations, the house was willed to the member of the family most interested in living there and continuing the family legacy. Consequently, these were the family members least interested in making the vast amounts of money required to keep such a large house in good repair. Read the rest of this entry »

Paul Lynch’s ambitious debut novel, Red Sky in Morning, aims to examine the current historical moment through a mythic lens.

Red Sky in Morning by Paul Lynch (US cover: Little, Brown)

Red Sky in Morning by Paul Lynch
(US cover: Little, Brown)

Beginning in 1832, we watch as a young Irishman, Coll Coyle, tries to prevent his family from being evicted by a brutal landlord. A fight ensues, and the landlord is killed. Our young hero is forced on the run across the mountains and bogs of Donegal, to the bustling port of Derry, and thence to America. He’s pursued by Faller, the landlord’s brutal enforcer, who opts not to involve the constabulary (as he puts it), but to track down and kill Coll himself (along with almost everyone Coll comes in contact with).  Read the rest of this entry »

Belvedere House is a Georgian villa on the shores of Lough Ennell near Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. Open to the public, the estate features several striking follies, including the so-called “Jealous Wall,” which bears testimony to one of the most sordid family squabbles in Irish history.

Mary Molesworth (source:

Mary Molesworth (source:

It all started in 1936, when an ambitious aristocrat, Robert Rochfort, (later the 1st Earl of Belvedere) decided he wanted to marry a popular young woman in Dublin artistic circles, the 16-year-old Mary Molesworth. She evidently sensed he wasn’t quite the catch he appeared, as she resisted his initial advances, but her family, seduced by his power and great name, arranged the match. Read the rest of this entry »