CUSACK, M.F. [The Nun of Kenmare] The Liberator His Life and Times.

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CUSACK, M.F. [The Nun of Kenmare] The Liberator His Life and Times, Political and Social. Illustrated. Kenmare Publications, 1872. Quarto. pp. l, 803, 27 (list of subscribers, 8 publisher's list). Lithograph frontispiece and half-title. Text within a decorative border. Green cloth over bevelled boards. Upper cover elaborately decorated in gilt with an  inter-lacing Celtic design, enclosing in the centre within an oval frame a gilt portrait of O'Connell, along with portraits of Grattan, Burke, Curran and Doyle. Spine professionally rebacked. All edges gilt. A very good copy. Scarce.

Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847), The Liberator, was born at Carhan near Cahersiveen, County Kerry to the O'Connells of Derrynane, a once-wealthy Roman Catholic family, which had been dispossessed of its lands. Among his uncles was Daniel Charles, Count O'Connell, an officer in the Irish Brigades in France. Under the patronage of his wealthy bachelor uncle Maurice "Hunting Cap" O'Connell, he studied at Douai in France. He became a barrister first at Lincoln's Inn, later transferring to Dublin's King's Inns. O'Connell devoted his life to the cause of Catholic Emancipation.

Margaret Anne Cusack (1832-1899) was born into an aristocratic background in Dublin. She became an Anglican nun in London, later (1858) converting to Catholicism. She joined the Poor Clares, taking the name Mary Francis, in Newry and afterwards spent some time working in the famine-stricken region of Kenmare, County Kerry where the fund she founded for the destitute peasantry raised £20,000. A woman before her time, she was misunderstood and reviled and became embroiled in quarrels with the hierarchy in various parts of Ireland.  

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