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Left Without a Handkerchief Robert O'Byrne | Lilliput Press

Release Date22/06/2022
PublisherLilliput Press
CategoriesBest Sellers, Historical, History

It is estimated that between 250 and 300 Irish country houses were burnt in the early 1920s. But how did the owners feel when they saw their worlds overturned? Left Without a Handkerchief tells the other side of the story, of history seen from the perspective of the losers, left homeless and struggling to cope, emotionally and financially. 

Key sources include under-explored material held by the national archives of both Ireland and Britain, correspondence between claimants and the authorities, letters, diaries and memoirs, some of them coming directly from descendants of the house owners and not previously shared in public. 

From Galway to Wexford, Mayo to Cork, Left Without a Handkerchief will give a voice to the dispossessed. As the centenary of the onset of house burnings arrives, now is the time to tell their story.


‘Sometimes heartbreaking, always elegant and erudite, O’Byrne’s brilliant new investigation into lost histories illuminates a difficult episode in Ireland’s past. Essential reading.’ Adrian Tinniswood

‘This fascinating book made me look at Irish history in a different way.’ Lady Antonia Fraser