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Author's Comment's

Dearbháil's Lament

Ireland is a magical land whose origins are lost in the mists of mythology but nevertheless is still intertwined with it even today. There are fairies and leprechauns still to be found walking along the boreens at night or hiding in hazel thickets and ring forts by day if you know where to look. And the wise man knows to leave a jar of poitín out for the little folk. While they are shy, they can be mischievous if not placated.

Ireland is indeed a heroic land, where great warriors once roamed the verdant green hills doing battle with invaders intent on despoiling the land. And even today, there are seanchaithe telling the legends of Cú Chulainn, Lugh Lámthota and Fionn mac Cumhaill around the turf fires in the west of Ireland.

Sadly, Ireland is also a tragic land, too much of it self-inflicted. 'Tis a land of tears and sorrow, of lost love and unfulfilled potential. And even today, this tragedy continues as two irreconcilable forces clash against each other, mindlessly destroying all that they touch.

This last point was driven home most brutally when in late November, 1998, I walked along Lower Market Street in Omagh, County Tyrone and viewed the devastation caused by a car bomb that on 15 August had killed 29 totally innocent people and injured hundreds of more.

What struck me most was not the shattered buildings or the large hole in the street that the bomb had caused, but the total lack of Christmas decorations. It was Yuletide in Ireland, and while all the rest of the land was festooned in Christmas decorations and lights, there were none at all in Omagh. I felt sorriest for the children for the time of year that should have been filled with happiness and joy had been stolen away from them by a mindless act.

Although it would be several years before I could express my feelings, one day while working on Dearbháils Song I realized that she could help me to finally do so. And so I began Dearbháil's Lament. Set in 1924 just at the end of the first Troubles, this is a story of two young lovers, caught between those opposing forces, but still in Ireland, a land of mythology, heroes and tragedy.

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