Left Without a Handkerchief

The Irish Aesthete is delighted to announce the publication of his latest book, Left without a Handkerchief. A long time in the making, this tells the stories of ten Irish families across the centuries, leading up to the moment when each of their homes was attacked and most often burned during the troubles of the early 1920s. Whence the title? On January 10th 1923 Louise Bagwell wrote a short letter to her mother-in-law Harriet describing what had taken place during the previous night. Around 12.30am, a large number of men had arrived at Marlfield, County Tipperary, home to generations of the Bagwell family for some 230 years, and informed the occupants they had ten minutes to dress and gather up whatever items they could. Meanwhile, the intruders sprinkled petrol around the ground floor rooms and applied a match. ‘Then’, Louise Bagwell explained, ‘for an hour we had to stand and watch the darling old home burn.’ Only when the fire had done sufficient damage to the building did the men depart: afterwards its chatelaine discovered they had taken her bag and coat with them. Everything had been lost, she lamented, all the family’s possessions going back generations, leaving them with little other than the clothes they had hastily donned: ‘We hadn’t even a handkerchief.’

Photograph shows Ardfert, County Kerry, burnt on 3rd August 1922 and subsequently demolished. Left without a Handkerchief is published by Lilliput Press (please see Left Without a Handkerchief by Robert O’Byrne – The Lilliput Press


11 comments on “Left Without a Handkerchief

  1. Con Traynor says:

    Looking forward to reading this book. Well done on its publication. Is that Ardfert in Co Kerry, the Crosbie house?

  2. Congratulations … exciting day. Do you have a book tour planned?

  3. Thank you for a most interesting post, and congratulations on the new book. (Incidentally, I think the cover image info should read Ardfert Co Kerry (not Galway)

  4. Mairtin D'Alton says:

    Warmest Congratulations ! Is there a launch where i can get my copy signed ?

  5. Michael Christopher Keane says:

    Robert, glad to see that the correction has been made that the pic shows the burned house of the Talbot-Crosbies of Ardfert Abbey, Co Kerry, not Ardfert, Co Galway. Last year I published a book, ‘The Crosbies of Cork, Kerry, Laois and Leinster’, which includes a detailed account of the background to the burning of Ardfert Abbey during the Civil War. The book also discusses the long and varied history of the Crosbies, later Talbot-Crosbies. As it happens, Maurice Talbot-Crosbie originally of Ardfert Abbey was a leader of the Irish Volunteers in Cork and Kerry and later ran for election for the Irish Parliamentary Party in the December 1918 election in the Cork City constituency. However this family background did nothing to save Ardfert Abbey.

  6. Certainly a “must purchase” book! Congratulations sir.

  7. jbc625@msn.com says:

    Great work, Robert.

  8. Congratulations, Robert! I am hoping that Lilliput Press ships to the US!

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