Oct 3rd 2012 saw Mr Don Mullan help launch the most recent book by Fr Jimmy O’Hallroan SDB, A Christmas Truce Carol, to a large crowd of family, friends and supporters in All Hallows College.
December 24th 1914 and all along the western front soldiers are settling down for a night of disturbed sleep, foraging rats, and the evil attentions of enemy snipers. Suddenly from across No Man’s Land comes the sound of singing … not sure at first what is happening the troops look at each other in disbelief and then slowly, slowly, they join in.
Published by Currach Press, Jimmy’s latest novel is set in the trenches of World War One and tells the story of Irish soldiers in British uniforms, fighting Germans, to win Home Rule for Ireland.
Their various motivations and reasons for being at war are exposed as they meet for the first and only time with the enemy. The enemy are young men just like themselves with wives, sweethearts, dreams and secrets. The inhumanity of war is slowly exposed for what it is.
The complex issue of the Irish at the front is developed as some of the soldiers return to Ireland after the war, some injured physically, all impacted emotionally and psychologically.
In his acknowledgements the author cites a number of old veterans who lived near him as he grew up in Co. Kilkenny, most of whom had to keep their involvement in the war quiet and within the family for the rest of their lives.
Through some of these characters Jim O’Halloran also looks at the plight of animals during the war including soldier’s pets and the carrier pigeons used by all armies to carry messages on the battlefields.
An excellent book, very readable, well done to the author.