Sean O'Callaghan

Sean O'Callaghan was born in Killavullen, County Cork, on 22 May 1918; educated at Wallstown National School and the Christian Brothers' School, Doneraile, and later at the Military College, Curragh, County Kildare. He was commissioned in 1936 and served in Cork and later in Dublin with the Regiment of Pearse, becoming second in command to Vivion de Valera in 1940 and serving under him in Greystones, County Wicklow.
On leaving the army he became a journalist in Fleet Street working on the Dispatch, the Chronicle and John O'London's Weekly. In 1952, he went to work on the East African Standard in Nairobi as roving correspondent, covering events in Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Rhodesia and South Africa.
In 1956, after the publication of his first book, The Easter Lily, he became a full-time writer.
Between 1956 and 1992, Sean O'Callaghan wrote fourteen books, many of them of an investigative nature. One, The Slave Trade, dealing with modern slavery in Africa and the Middle East, was translated into thirteen languages and sold in hardback and paperback over 100,000 copies. Malenotti of Rome made a full-length feature film of it.
Included in the books published were two other books on Ireland, The Jackboot in Ireland and Execution. The first part of an autobiography, Down by the Glenside, was published by Mercier Press, Cork, in 1992.

Between 1652 and 1659 over 50,000 Irish men, women and children were transported to Barbados and Virginia. Yet until now there has been no account of them. The motivation for the initial transportation of the Irish was expressed by King James 1 of England: "Root out the Papists and fill it (Ireland) with Protestants." The author's search began in the library of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society and its files on Irish slaves. Sean O'Callaghan for the first time documents the history of these people, their transportation, the conditions in which they lived on plantations as slaves or servants, and their rebellions in Barbados.
Down by the Glenside is the story of a young boy growing up on a small farm in rural Ireland, of his family's background in the Nationalist Movement going back to 1798, of the tales by his grandfather, an old Fenian, which left a lasting impression on his young mind and of his father's involvement in the IRA.. However, Down by the Glenside has its lighter moments, as the auther tells of going barefoot to national school, of his visit to the grand Protestant house in Montenottte where his mother once worked as a maid, of the American wakes for departing emigrants, of the "hop's" in the village hall, of the crossroad dancing, the hurling and bowling, the hunting and shooting. The author also recalls holy wells and "pattern's", fairs and holidays, Station Masses and retreats, as well as stories of ghosts and fairies told at fireside gatherings on winter nights.

Sean O'Callaghan passed away peacefully at his home in Malta on Sunday 6th August 2000, after living happily for over thirty-five years on the island. A Memorial Service was held in Killavullen Church at 2.00 p.m. on Saturday 26th August 2000.