Over a hundred years ago Somerville and Ross galloped across the pages of popular Irish literature writing of horses, hunts, and high jinks. Today, Wexford-based Patrick Donegall has taken over their reins to record the Ireland of his youth. An Ireland that has almost, but not quite, disappeared.
Written with cracking pace, he recounts tales of a pack of lively characters such as an ill-mannered royal photographer who was shown the door by a grand butler… There are frisky ponies with ‘attitude’ problems along with thoroughbred racehorses… A drunk priest being chased by the police and a former Royal Navy officer whose scoring at a horse event became somewhat blurred by a bottle or two of whiskey… A slippery eel features unexpectedly in a bath as does fishing in the days when there weren’t many that got away (even though most of the poachers did)… An eccentric gym shoe-wearing daughter of a millionaire businessman shares pages with gentlemanly huntsmen of the old school accompanied by their equally elegant, but almost always high-spirited, ladies… And, as if there weren’t already enough amusing diversions, there’s even an Irish cricket match or two.
These are just some of Patrick’s stories. All will entertain and amuse and keep the reader turning the pages.
But Patrick is no detached observer just writing of past people and events.
Heaven on Earth is also a homage that is dedicated to his beloved Wexford. Towards the end of the book, he considers carefully how his part of the country has developed and changed, the issues it, and Ireland, face, and his hopes for the future.
Extent: 128 pages
Size: 255 x 275 mm
Illustrations and photographs throughout
Cartoons by Olliver Preston
Publication date: 9th April 2024