Soldier to Settler

Old Drogheda Society

New Zealand author, Donald Offwood's, latest book Soldier to Settler, published by The Caxton Press, is  based loosely on the life and times of his great great grandfather, Patrick Murtagh, from Carrickbaggot near Drogheda, and it contains many mentions of life in the Drogheda area during the Famine period including, Richmond Fort at Millmount,  Grendon's Founfry, Cairnes Brewery, Drogheda Gas Works, Drogheda Chemical Manure Company, Drogheda Steampacket Company and the Linen Hall, all feature. It also covers various events in the town's history including Oliver Cromwell's sacking of Drogheda, the Battle of the Boyne, the building of the barracks at Miillmount and the arrival of three Ottoman Empire ships in 1847.

This dramatized  novel follows Patrick Murtagh, who as a poor Irish boy joins the British Army in 1820. After serving in India, he is discharged into the famines of the 1940s in search of work in Drogheda.

As a man of 'good character' he is able escape the famine to re-join the Army in 1847 and come to New Zealand with his family and with the offer of his own cottage and schooling for his children, as a Fencible Corp soldier. In exchange for guarding Auckland for seven years and for the first time in his life he will own something he cannot carry - his own land.

After seven years service he is discharged and in 1860 moves south to Green Island, Dunedin, with his family, to buy his own small farm and become an Otago Pionee

The  author Donald Offwood, who has published 12 books, researched the subject by travelling to Drogheda where he sought  the assistance of Drogheda Musem Millmount and Clogherhead historian James Stanley.

Old Drogheda Society - History, Archaeology & Heritage

Millmount, Drogheda, Co. Louth, Ireland. Tel. 041-9833097

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