Anna Parnell, Petticoat Rebellion movie

Petticoat Rebellion – The Movie!

Yes, at long last, the movie of the book is in development! Well, the early stages of development … the very, very early stages … but from tiny seeds do tall trees grow.

The Irish Film Board has agreed to reconsider ‘Petticoat Rebellion, The Anna Parnell Story’, for feature script development funding.

This means that, from next Monday, March 11th, I will start writing a ‘treatment’, i.e. an exciting short-story version, of the book. The Film Board will decide in May or June whether they will fund a full feature film script. And then it’s time to find a producer and put together a package of director, actors and everyone else the enormous team needed to make a feature film.

This week, I’m laid up in bed with a back strain, on painkillers, and unable to do much, other than poke my iPhone (hurray for the WordPress app for iPhone!) and read, which means I’ll be re-reading Petticoat Rebellion with fresh eyes.

Here’s to Petticoat Rebellion – The Movie!


Anna Parnell, Writing

The E-Book Rebellion

Well, after a year of upheaval and house moves, the dust is finally settling (literally – the builders have just left!), and there is finally some time to update my blog.

Petticoat Rebellion, the book after which this blog is named, is now available as a Kindle e-book download from Amazon, to mark the centenary of the heroine of the piece, Miss Anna Parnell. So, having shied away from purchasing e-books because I love ‘real’ books, I finally caved in and bought two.

The first was Petticoat Rebellion (of course!) and the second was Results Not Typical, a fun novel about the diet industry by the wonderful ‘unpublished’ author, Catherine Ryan Howard, aka Catherine, Caffeinated. My guess is it won’t be too long before she achieves her long-overdue and much-deserved publishing deal!

If you’re nervous about buying an e-book, don’t be!  You can download the iPhone Kindle app for free and they also have free apps for your Mac, PC or other smartphone. Then try out some free e-books to get started!


Anna Parnell, Michael Davitt

Land League Celebration in Mayo

Michael Davitt Museum

Great excitement – I’ve been asked to speak at the Michael Davitt Museum in Straid, County Mayo this Friday, November 6th, as part of a celebration by the Michael Davitt National Memorial Association to mark 130 years since the foundation of the Land League. Michael Davitt is known as “The Father of the Land League”, and it was he who actively sought – and fought – to establish a Ladies Land League. Anna Parnell considered him to be one of her closest allies and supporters during the Land War.

The same weekend sees the official opening of the Davitt Centre and the North/South Cultural and Historial Symposium on the weekend of November 6 and 7.

Cllr John Cribbin, Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council will also launch a photographic exhibition on civil rights, which is on loan from the Museum of Free Derry.

Anton McNulty, of The Mayo News, reports full details of the event on their website. Here’s a quote from his article:

On Saturday, November 7, a lecture by Dr Dominic Bryan of Queens University, Belfast , entitled ‘Transforming Conflict Flags and Emblems’ and a lecture by Dr Mary Harris of NUIG called ‘The Catholic Church and the Partition of Ireland’ will take place in the Pontoon Bridge Hotel at 11am. The session will chaired by Cllr Henry Kenny.
In the afternoon session which starts at 2pm, Rev John Farr from Antrim, will talk on ‘Personal reflections on the Orange Order’ and Senator Labhras O’Murchu will speak on ‘Music and Tradition’. This session will be chaired by Bernard O’Hara of GMIT, and each session will be followed by a question and answer session.

With deep gratitude to Mrs Nancy Smyth for her encouragement and organisational skills!

Anna Parnell, articles

Great Irish Book Week!

Great Irish Book Week Launch

“Petticoat Rebellion – The Anna Parnell Story ” has been selected for Great Irish Book Week, a special promotion of 30 top titles from Irish publishers.

Senator David Norris, T.V. Presenter Kathryn Thomas, Author Anna McPartlin and The Arts Council’s Sarah Bannon successfully launched the Great Irish Book Week at the National Library on Thursday 1st October.

A FREE 288-page sampler of extracts from all the books is included with every purchase in your local bookshop.

Or, you can visit this special page on the Great Irish Book Week site for a sneak preview!

Anna Parnell, articles, Michael Davitt

Michael Davitt the Peacemaker

Michael Davitt Kevin Myers wrote a lovely insightful article about Michael Davitt in today’s Irish Independent newspaper, called “None dreamed such impossible dreams as Davitt did and then made them come true”.

Comparing Davitt to a nineteenth-century Ghandi, Myers writes, “Davitt’s real lesson for the world — which Ghandi learnt, but tragically Pearse and Connolly did not — wasn’t about the creation of a word but a concept: that peaceful, studiously non-violent mass-action in pursuit of a palpably just cause can create an almost irresistible political momentum. If unjust imprisonment be your fate, then lift your hand against no man, and go to jail.” Davitt did indeed go to jail in 1881, when the British government realised that he was encouraging starving tenants not to pay their overpriced rents. He went back to jail in England, peacefully and with dignity.

Myers goes on to say that “No single individual has ever transformed Ireland for the better as Davitt did; but best of all, he gave power to the powerless by perfectly peaceful means”.

Michael Davitt was one of the key intellects behind the formation of the Ladies Land League, which was headed by Anna Parnell. Both were accused by the media of the time of being extremists, but a closer look at their characters reveals the opposite. Both were pacifists, dedicated to using peaceful means to end the land struggle in Ireland.

Anna Parnell, reviews

Petticoat Rebellion review in Irish Times newspaper

Anne Dolan, a lecturer in Irish history at Trinity College, Dublin, wrote an excellent review of Petticoat Rebellion which was published in the Irish Times newspaper on Wednesday 5th August.

The review says that “Petticoat Rebellion portrays an Anna Parnell who understood the need for revolution on the land in a way that her brother never could; it depicts a progressive advocate of women’s social and political rights, and Groves’s portrayal might be right. Anna Parnell’s politics were the politics of building shelters for the evicted, the politics of the activist who could brook no compromise not even from her own brother, whom she considered a traitor for signing the Kilmainham Treaty.”

Anne’s only criticism of the book is that “it chooses not to question her [Anna’s] sometimes extreme methods, her obsessive need to revise the published version of events, or why she died the unknown Cerisa Palmer”. I would argue that Anna was only considered extreme by those who criticised her for being so active in her defence of the rural poor, and of her mission to ensure that the events of the day were accurately recorded.

In closing, however, Anne remarks that the book was written as a celebration of Anna’s life and work, and is “a gentle reminder that perhaps we need to consider “Madam Moonlight” a little more”. This, ultimately, was my primary motivation for writing the book, and I am delighted with Anne’s assessment.

You can read the full review in the Irish Times online