“The lonely graveyard is far away, an’ the dead man is hard to raise—” – “Not to Be Taken at Bed-Time” (1865)
Rosa Mulholland (1841-1921), Lady Gilbert, was born in Belfast on 19 March 1841. In 1891 she married the eminent Irish historian and archivist Sir John T. Gilbert (1829-1898). In addition to her two-volume Life of Sir John T. Gilbert (1905), Mulholland produced a long line of novels mostly set in rural Ireland, often drawing on local folklore, and featuring strong female characters, including The Wicked Woods of Toberevil (1872), Banshee Castle (1895), and The O’Shaughnessy Girls (1911). Many of her supernatural tales, originally appearing in Charles Dickens’s All the Year Round and Irish Monthly, were collected in The Haunted Organist of Hurly Burly (1880). A further selection of her ghostly tales appears under the title Not to Be Taken at Bed-Time & Other Strange Stories (2013). Mulholland died at her home Villa Nova in Blackrock, Dublin, on 21 April 1921.
Bending to Earth: Strange Stories by Irish Women edited by Maria Giakaniki and Brian J. Showers
Irish women have long produced literature of the gothic, uncanny, and supernatural. Bending to Earth draws together twelve such tales. While none of the authors herein were considered primarily writers of fantastical fiction during their lifetimes, they each wandered at some point in their careers into more speculative realms — some only briefly, others for lengthier stays.
Names such as Charlotte Riddell and Rosa Mulholland will already be familiar to aficionados of the eerie, while Katharine Tynan and Clotilde Graves are sure to gain new admirers. From a ghost story in the Swiss Alps to a premonition of death in the West of Ireland to strange rites in a South Pacific jungle, Bending to Earth showcases a diverse range of imaginative writing which spans the better part of a century.
Read an Extract from the Introduction to Bending to Earth.