Tuesday 21 May 2019

Book tells the tale of a family divided

Bernard Browne, Máire and Lochlan Gately, Billy Sweetman and Jarlath Glynn (librarian) at the book launch
Bernard Browne, Máire and Lochlan Gately, Billy Sweetman and Jarlath Glynn (librarian) at the book launch

A fascinating tale is recounted in the pages of a new book recently launched by Glynn native and former teacher at the Wexford CBS , Billy Sweetman.

'Brothers Divided' tells the intriguing, stranger than fiction story of the sons of Harvey Hay - John, who was executed for his part in the battle of Vinegar Hill; James, who died of a tropical disease serving with the Crown Forces in the Caribbean; Philip who inherited Ballinkeele and became a Lieutenant General in the British Army and Edward, who forms the main focus of the book, and who aligned himself with the United Irishmen and managed to escape execution in 1798, going on to campaign with Daniel O'Connell for Catholic Emancipation.

Split down the middle, the family had polar opposite ideologies and all of the brothers lived fascinating lives in their own right.

Speaking at the launch of the work in Enniscorthy Library, former CEO of Comoradh 98 and the 1798 Centre Bernard Browne said that it was an honour to launch this fascinating work and that Edward Hay's role in history had been relatively unheralded up to this point.

He said that Mr Sweetman's work was a reminder of the need to record the lives of unsung heroes like Hay and it provided an excellent taster of the social and political divisions of the time.

Mr Sweetman dedicated the book to his great friend Fr Lory Kehoe and described his huge admiration for Edward Hay, not just for his role in 1798, but for his extensive work towards Catholic emancipation.

This is not the Glynn man's first publication either. He also received great critical acclaim for his work 'Trials of 1798' and once again with 'Brother's Divided' he showed the benefits of his vast research, which saw him spend hours upon hours trawling through sources.

It was a labour of love, however, and he was delighted to officially present it to the public.

Librarian Jarlath Glynn said it was an honour to host the event with a great crowd present on the night, and it was fitting that the book have its launch in Enniscorthy, the hometown of Edward Hay.

Enniscorthy Guardian