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Dueling Dragons: The Struggle for Ireland 1849-1875, with Marjorie Harshaw Robie

May 19, 2019 @ 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Wayland Library
5 Concord Rd Wayland MA

Marjorie Harshaw Robie’s DUELING DRAGONS recounts key years of tumultuous Irish history through three prominent citizens on the front lines.

Inspired by a collection of ancestral diaries that survived intact through famine, revolution, generations of owners, a transoceanic voyage, a bank renovation, and a mistaken mailing to the American heartland, Marjorie Harshaw Robie’s new book DUELING DRAGONS tells the story of 25 tumultuous years in the history of Ireland through the words and actions of three men who lived on the front lines of revolution.

DUELING DRAGONS is the second in Robie’s two-volume history of early and mid-19th century Ireland. Her first, DWELLING PLACE OF DRAGONS, was published in 2006. The new volume spans 1849 to 1875 when famine and emigration decimated the Irish population, religious conflicts divided Protestants and Catholics, and friendships and families were torn apart.

Robie’s unique perspective comes from familial diaries she found after an epic search, and through other first-hand accounts from newspapers and personal letters of the time. She incorporates the lives of three remarkable, interconnected men who struggled through much of the 19th century in a rapidly changing Ireland, and whose stories were told by their own hand, or the news of the day.


Marjorie Robie.jpg

Marjorie Harshaw was born in Minneapolis to a family with Irish roots. She attended Tufts University in Massachusetts, where she received a degree in English. After graduation she married Eugene Robie and spent time in Virginia and West Virginia before moving to the historic town of Ipswich, Mass., where the couple raised children and Robie was a school teacher. Robie’s interest in history led to years of service on the Ipswich Historical Commission, and a personal journey of genealogy that caught fire with the discovery of her ancestor’s diaries. The diaries formed the structure of two fascinating historical volumes, Dwelling Place of Dragons (2008) and the new Dueling Dragons (2018). Robie has discussed Irish history on national television in the U.S. and Ireland. She wrote the entry for James Harshaw in The Dictionary of Irish Biography, and had a weekly column on Irish history for the Newry Democrat in Northern Ireland. She is a sought-after speaker on Irish history, ancestral research, and the eternal clash of politics and religion.

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