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The Devil to Pay

Alice Kyteler, outspoken daughter of a wealthy Flemish banker, has survived four husbands and is beset by the gossip and rivalry of a medieval Anglo-Norman town. Her beautiful maid is Petronilla, child of an itinerant shoemaker, her lover Sir Arnaud le Poer is seneschal and lord of south Leinster. Her nemesis is Richard de Ledrede, English Franciscan, scholar, poet and now bishop of Ossory, determined to reassert clerical power and restore the dilapidated cathedral.

To him Alice embodies the moral laxity of the age, her irreverence and knowledge of healing feeding his anger and obsession with witchcraft. Outside the city walls the native Irish are resurgent after 150 years of dispossession. In the streets of Kilkenny, crowds gather around the stake.

In The Devil to Pay, Hugh Ryan tells the true story of Alice and Petronilla - portrayed against a backdrop of the struggles between Norman and Gael - bringing to life a remarkable tapestry of this pivotal era in Irish history.

Order directly from Publisher THE LILLIPUT PRESS. (Here)

The Devil to Pay
Hugh Fitzgerald Ryan

ISBN: 9781843511793
Publication Date: October 2010

In the Shadow of the Ombú Tree

The story of my great grandparents, John and Catherine, and their dramatic elopement from their native Wexford to Uruguay  has been told in my family for four generations. Fascinating me since childhood, I embarked on an imaginative reconstruction of their turbulent and passionate life. The story, surviving in the oral tradition had taken on the patina of legend, but research revealed that the legend was borne out by empirical facts.  

  Published 2005 Chaos Press, Enniscorthy.



The haunting story of Jack Dempsey whose relationship with his Wexford-born bride Elaine is enmeshed in his need to investigate the infamous tragedies of the peasant revolt of 1798. Fascinated with stories of Elaine's home place where some of the most dramatic and violent events took place, Jack's determined investigation rebounds powerfully on his own life and on the lives of those he loves.

In a story of universal appeal, Hugh Ryan interlinks Irish life today with echoing voices from the past. Rich in atmosphere, ANCESTRAL VOICES is an intriguingly original novel set against the backdrop of powerful folk memory and turbulent history.

Published 1995 Vandamere Press, Virginia.
Wolfhound Press, Dublin.

ON BORROWED GROUND is a powerful tale of the heady days of the 'fifties and the memorable characters who peopled them. This story captures the magic of growing up as a child in Ireland, caught between traditional Irish values and the imported world of American comics and films; heroes on motorbikes, heroines from comic strips, valve radio, steam trains.

And through it all moves the red-haired figure of Kate Sheehy- a memory mingled with that of Brehony Hill, a place of romance, mystery and murder.

A tale of wry humour, of cynicism and hope, a tale reminiscent of days that are gone, yet whose vividly-painted characters remain with us long after the last page is turned.

 Published 1991 Wolfhound Press, Dublin.


REPRISAL is the story of life in a small community during the turmoil of the Great War in Europe and the War of Independence in Ireland. Set in the Skerries-Balbriggan area north of Dublin City, it reveals a complex web of interdependencies, involvements and allegiances. It is a tale about people caught up in great events by accident rather than by choice- a novel about the chance that creates villains and heroes.

Published 1989 Wolfhound Press, Dublin.


Set in the early years of the nineteenth century, the story focuses on the interlocking lives of a small community in North County Dublin. Eileen Mullen, a young woman of great complexity and strength, is faced with a dilemma- how to resolve her passion for the foreign soldier and her love for her husband and children.

THE KYBE is a skilled, detailed and imaginative recreation of a whole community. Work, transport, living conditions, political, social and religious practices, speech forms, clothing, household items, food - all are effectively worked into the broader historical canvas. The Mullen household, the Stephen's night dance, the 'wranboys', the shipwreck, the football match, are portrayed as vividly as the harrowing account of the battle of Waterloo.

Published 1983 Wolfhound Press, Dublin.

Agent - Fritz Heinzen

5205 Richardson Drive, Fairfax, Fairfax Co. V.A. 22032-3926

Email: BookKritik@aol.com


You can order a number of Hugh's novels directly online from Chaos Press. 

Order Here

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Email: hfryan@eircom.net
Phone: 353 1 8490820
73 Holmpatrick, Skerries, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

© 2004 Hugh Fitzgerald Ryan