The Much-Maligned Mary Pike by Kieran Groeger
– the Rebel County and ’98 –
Mary Pike, a wealthy, young Quaker heiress, was kidnapped in July 1797 by a widowed knight, Sir Henry Brown Hayes, intent on forcing her into marriage and getting his hands on her fortune. She was rescued from his house, Vernon Mount, in Cork city.
He fled the country but then decided that public opinion was in his favour and he challenged her to face him in court. He was shocked when Mary Pike won the case and he was soon sentenced to transportation for life in Australia, where the governor was a certain Captain Bligh, lately of the Bounty.
Sadly, the history books tell us that the subsequent ordeal was too much for Mary Pike – she suffered a nervous breakdown and died in a mental hospital.
The author, Dr Kieran Groeger, delights in stripping away the layers of documentation, analysing legends, old newspaper accounts, piecing together the clues to reveal a truly astonishing story.
The 1798 Rebellion of the United Irishmen features as backdrop to these events. To people who might ask, ‘did nothing happen in Cork during this period?’, the author’s unequivocal response would be that a lot happened. The city is brought to life in this much anticipated volume.
The Much-Maligned Mary Pike: The Rebel County and ’98 by Kieran Groeger is published under the imprint of The Manuscript Publisher and on sale now. It is available to buy online as well as in all good bookshops. RRP €14.99.
The book will be launched on Friday, 10 May at 12.30pm in the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, where originals of illustrations featured in the book are on display. The event is hosted by Friends of Crawford Art Gallery and all are welcome to attend.
Kieran will also be speaking at the subject of “The Abduction of Mary Pike and that fateful night in Vernon Mount, Cork” title=”” at Dromana House and Gardens on Sunday, 5 May as part of a day-long programme of talks and lectures that runs from 10.30am to 4pm.
Kieran Groeger, author of The Trial and Execution of James Cotter, the Little Book of Youghal, along with other books and articles on Irish and local history, is a retired teacher, avid Francophile and regular cyclist.