Independent Deputy Luke Flanagan launched a new book by local author Des Guckian entitled ‘The Cruel Fate of Jack Birchall’ last Friday, November 9.
According to the author young Jack Birchall from Drumshanbo was wrongfully executed in 1829 for the murder of Mr Cox, the Manager of The Arigna Ironworks. The hanging was in Roscommon Gaol but the relic of the rope, brought home to Gowel by John Morrison, cured thousands in the years since then.
Many of the buildings mentioned in the account, such as Roscommon Courthouse, are still there today. Accounts of the three trials of Jack Birchall were carried in the local newspapers of that time. Summaries and extracts from these appear in the book, as do items of national history which were relevant to the story.
Performing the launch, Deputy Luke Flanagan described the book as a most interesting product of thorough research work.
The full title of this book is “Not even a sparrow shall fall - the Cruel Fate of Jack Birchall.” Des Guckian said he was “extremely lucky in being able to access a manuscript held in Trinity College Dublin which carries a full proof, from that time, that Jack was, indeed, innocent. This Daniel Grosse Ms had illustrations of The Arigna Ironworks as it was in 1829, I included these in the book. They are very valuable pieces of history in their own rights.”
Quoting Birchall’s final words “I’m an innocent man. Bring home the rope that will hang me. It will have a cure in it,” the author told the audience that a local man did indeed bring home the rope and “it has cured thousands.”
“Per the rope relic and the great healing that came with it, I feel that the spirit of Jack has long hovered over this immediate area. I feel he is with us tonight and that only good can follow from the telling of his story,” he stated.
Des Guckian thanked everyone for their help with the book.
The book, ‘The Cruel Fate of Jack Birchall” is €8 euro, and is on sale in local shops and in bookstores in Leitrim and Roscommon.