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Between Worlds

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The history and legends of the Kirwans of Castlehacket

They were wine traders, wool smugglers, tobacco merchants, mayors, pirates, slave owners, bankers, scientists, novelists, duellists, landlords, horseracers, and gamblers. The Kirwans of Castlehacket were rarely boring. An Irish family among the Anglo-Norman tribes of Galway, they earned the respect of their countrymen through their lavish devotion to horseracing, burning through the family fortunes until they fell into the embrace of the evangelical movement that sowed chaos in the west of Ireland. Even as the family faded from history, their name was written in epic tales and legends, with hints of a secret pact between the family and the fairy kings. In this telling of the Kirwan story, there is much of the truth, and a little of the fairy tale.

Rónán Lynch is a writer and historian.

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BETWEEN WORLDS

The history and legends of the Kirwans of Castlehacket

They were wine traders, wool smugglers, tobacco merchants, mayors, pirates, slave owners, bankers, scientists, novelists, duellists, landlords, horseracers, and gamblers. The Kirwans of Castlehacket were rarely boring. An Irish family among the Anglo-Norman tribes of Galway, they earned the respect of their countrymen through their lavish devotion to horseracing, burning through the family fortunes until they fell into the embrace of the evangelical movement that sowed chaos in the west of Ireland. Even as the family faded from history, their name was written in epic tales and legends, with hints of a secret pact between the family and the fairy kings. In this telling of the Kirwan story, there is much of the truth, and a little of the fairy tale.

Rónán Lynch is a writer and historian.

 

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