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The Veiled Woman of Achill

The Veiled Woman of Achill

Patricia Byrne

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This is the story of an atrocity on Achill Island in the west of Ireland in 1894. An English landowner, Agnes McDonnell, was brutally attacked and her home, Valley House, burnt.

Agnes McDonnell, living in the Valley House on Achill Island in 1894. She survived a physical attack but was so disfigured that she wore a veil in public for the rest of her life. The island's wild man, James Lynchehaun, was convicted of the crime and sentenced to life imprisonment. However, he escaped twice and won a groundbreaking legal case in the United States, successfully resisting extradition.

A Franciscan monk in Achill, Brother Paul Carney, had befriended and assisted Lynchehaun, and wrote up the fugitive's story. Lynchehaun became a folk hero. John Millington Synge visited Mayo in 1904/1905 and decided to locate his drama, The Playboy of the Western World, in north Mayo. Lynchehaun was one of Synge's influences in constructing the character of Christy Mahon.

Agnes McDonnell lived on in Achill and in 1923 was found dead with a wine glass at her feet. James Lynchehaun became a destitute figure and died in Scotland in 1937. The crime, the trial and escapes, and the island tensions are unraveled in this gripping account.

Additional Information

Author Patricia Byrne
Publisher The Collins Press
Publication date 14 Apr 2012
Format Paperback
ISBN/EAN 9781848891470

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