In my book Desperate Measures, I referred to the massacre of the Black Donnellys in 1880. Today I happened to be in Lucan for a wedding and went walking in the cemetery beside the church. And found the Donnelly family's headstone. (This is the more recent one. The older one was vandalized and removed years ago.) I hadn't realized they'd also recently lost two sons, prior to the massacre. There were little offerings people have left on the stone---pencils, coins, a weathered doll.
I found Lucan a lovely place, but with a soft sort of melancholy about it. If I hadn't known the story of this family, maybe I wouldn't have felt that. I sat for a while on a bench under a tree in the cemetery and knitted and soaked in the peacefulness of the place. Rolling green fields. Beautiful stone and Victorian houses. A light breeze. Perfect sunlight. And the distant howling of dogs as my husband warmed up his bagpipes outside the church.