Boycott - a word whose meaning is known the world over. But it once belonged to a man.

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Book by Colin C. Murphy

By Averil Staunton

While we are not normally in the business of promoting books, as this one draws on historical events that relate to our area here in Ballinrobe and South Mayo we thought you would like to know about it.  The author Colin C. Murphy spent time in the area while researching this creative book.

Captain Charles Boycott, an English land agent living close to Ballinrobe in Mayo, becomes the first to suffer this new form of revolt, when he and his family are ostracised. It is a David versus Goliath situation, with Boycott supported by the military, the police, the press, the British Government. How can peasants stand against an empire? And how will the two brothers reconcile their differences and confront their troubled past?

Officially launched recently by Frank McGuinness, Boycott is Colin C. Murphy's first novel and is based on the real historical events and incorporates actual news coverage of the time in and around the Ballinrobe and Neale areas.

It's the story of two brothers who survive the Famine. Thirty years later it's the Land War and their ideals differ. Captain Charles Boycott is an English Land agent and he is the first to suffer from a new form of revolt

Opening with a reminder of the shocking words of Sir Charles Trevelyan's that the real evil of the famine was the 'moral evil of the selfish perverse and turbulent character of the [Irish] people'; this from the man responsible for administering relief during the Famine!

Each chapter is preceded by a historical record of the time to accurately set the scene. They are fascinating and any history student will recognise the amount of detailed research that Murphy has gone into to bring this novel to fruition, all adding to its validity and the poignancy of events.
We're in 1848, the Famine. Owen and Thomas's mother has died and her infant son Patrick- the only time they'd ever seen their father cry. We're reminded of the travesties of the Famine, the export of food while the people at home starved. None of this is new but it is still none the less shocking however many times we read it. With the father's death they try to avoid the workhouse.

Running parallel to this is Captain Boycott's story on Achill Island. Tough with his tenants his visiting brother reproaches him, "The thing of it is, Charles, you're not in the army now. And your tenants are hardly the enemy". Living on the western edge of the British Empire his brother further criticises him for his contempt of the people, "The land here is extremely poor; as are the people who work it. And yet I've seen you treat them with contempt". Drawing the character of Boycott from the view of his visiting brother Arthur who thinks Charles sees "the world through narrow eyes that never saw anything but the fulfilment of his own purpose and ambition", Murphy is able to use the brother character as a descriptive narrator.

The period of the boycott is covered in detail, September to November 1880.

Sources for this article were extracted from various Press Releases and the book is available from all good book stores and on-line.

This page was added by Averil Staunton on 16/12/2012.