At a large gathering on Tuesday evening 13th December at Heritage House Abbeyleix, tragic events from the battle for the town during the Civil War were recalled by Comdt. Stephen Mac Eoin of Military Archives when Laois Heritage Office & the Laois 1916 centenary commemoration committee proudly launched a newly revised edition of Mike Rafters book “The Quiet County, towards a history of the Laois Brigade IRA and revolutionary activity in county 1913 – 1923”.
The event Comdt. Mac Eoin referred to was an eye-witness account of the shooting and death in the doorway of Heritage House (then a school house) of a young soldier named Christopher McGlynn further details of which can be found in the book.
The newly revised and updated book has been published as part of the Laois 2016 Centenary Programme, with funding from Ireland 2016. The driving force behind the project to reprint the book and also Laois Heritage Officer Catherine Casey acted as Master of Ceremonies for the evening, introducing Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council Mr. Tom Mulhall, who gave a brief overview of events to commemorate the centenary of 1916 in the county.
Next, the author Mike Rafter spoke highlighting the importance of collecting photographs and memorabilia from the revolutionary years into a local archive and also thanked all the people who helped in anyway compiling the book.
The book was launched by Comdt. Stephen Mac Eoin of Military Archives who outlined the work of the archives and gave an overview the Bureau of Military History files and Military Pension & Medal file collections used extensively by Mike Rafter in his research.
Finally, Manager of Heritage House, Paula Maher thanked all the speakers and invited them to continue their discussions over light refreshments.
The book is available at local book shops and newsagents from today.