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Thursday 20 July 2017

Graphic novel brings 'Cromwell curse' to life

New book retells tale of tyrant's bloody Irish campaign

Historian Dermot Poyntz with the graphic novel
Historian Dermot Poyntz with the graphic novel
Scenes from 'Curse of Cromwell: The Siege'

Conor Kane

THE story of Oliver Cromwell's bloody campaign in Ireland is being retold as a graphic novel.

'Curse of Cromwell: The Siege' by Tipperary-born historian Dermot Poyntz, aims to bring to life the brutality of Oliver Cromwell's military campaign in Ireland and was launched last night in Clonmel, Co Tipperary.

Mr Poyntz set up his own publishing company and sourced a printer and binder in China to get his graphic novel onto bookshelves nationwide.

Cromwell is infamous for his nine-month campaign in Ireland between 1649 and 1650, which included sieges on a number of towns -- and the deaths of thousands of Irish people.

Mr Poyntz came up with the idea for the book following the success of the O'Brien Press title 'Blood Upon the Rose', which told the story of the 1916 Rising in graphic novel format.

A graduate of NUI Galway with a BA in English and history and an MA in literature and publishing, the author said there was a gap in the book market for such a publication.

"The graphic novel industry in Ireland is not as developed as it could be, yet this format makes history accessible to everyone, no matter what their age or level of interest in history," he said.

"I wanted to keep the publication as affordable and local as possible so I eventually found Waterford-based illustrator, Lee Grace, on the Beehance network on the web," he said.

The 33-year-old from Clonmel got help with the project from the South Tipperary Enterprise Board.

"The Siege of Clonmel was critical; it was the last stand of an army against the blotting out of Irish culture, similar to what happened to the Indians and Africans.

Revenge

"This battle was the last hope, the only way of stopping Cromwell. The story of what happened there is full of tragedy, revenge and betrayal -- all of the elements you need in a good story," he said.

Cromwell is a key figure in British history, having been central to the movement that defeated King Charles I -- which led to the establishment of the Commonwealth of England.

It was Cromwell's Irish campaign in 1649 and 1650 that has left a bitter legacy in this country, as he took on Catholics and landowners during a nine-month invasion.

The notorious siege of Drogheda, in Louth, included the killing of an estimated 3,500 natives, while other sieges took place at Wexford, Waterford, Kilkenny and Clonmel.

The latter, in 1650, saw the people of Clonmel put up fierce resistance before the Commonwealth forces won out.

After the conquest of Ireland, the public practice of Roman Catholicism was banned and all Catholic-owned land was confiscated and sold to Scottish and English planters -- with far-reaching consequences.

Irish Independent

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