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I was lucky enough to grow up on a small traditional farm in the Wicklow hills during the 1960s. I feel this connection with nature and a very traditional way of life ultimately led to my career as a holistic therapist and also fostered my other great passions in life, namely family history research, and recording and preserving our local history and heritage.


Book- Aghowle Where The Divil Ate The Tinker By Margaret Connolly

In December 2017, after 6 years of research  I  published my local history book titled Aghowle Where The Divil Ate The Tinker which records the history of the townland where I grew up, and tells the story of the traditional farming community that lived on the slopes beneath Carrick mountain, where their ancestors had farmed for centuries.


About the Book


In this book, I record the history of the townland of Aghowle, which lies about 4 miles from the village of Ashford on the slopes of Carrick Mountain. Using recorded memories and historical documents to tell the story of the townland from the 17th century up to the 1970s when the close knit farming community that had existed there for centuries was to disappear completely.

Stories are told of local legends, traditions and lore; good and bad landlords; famine, eviction and forced emigration; impacts on the townland from the 1798 Rebellion, the Land League and two World Wars; local persons and their recollections; and of course, how it came about that The Divil Ate The Tinker.

The 10 farmhouses that were still occupied in 1901 are presented in detail and the lives of those that lived within them are traced through several centuries including in many cases the stories of where  their descendants ended up across the world.



Copies are  available in Wicklow from:

Bridge Street Books Wicklow Town, in shop and online

Ann Duffy Florist Newtownmountkennedy Wicklow

Blessington Tourist Office Co. Wicklow, 

The Village Bookshop Greystones 

Barker and Jones Naas Co. Kildare

The book which is published by Applefield Publishing contains 370 pages and has more than 150 photographs and illustrations throughout including a colour section and full index.


Purchase the book online  below

The book costs €18 and weighs 1 kg.

To purchase 1 book including postage within Ireland is €27.00

To purchase 1 book including postage to Europe is €29.00

To purchase 1 book including postage to anywhere else in the world is €33.50

To purchase please click on paypal link below and enter the required amount in price per item box .

If you would like additional information about the book, or encounter any problems with the purchase you can email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Reviews of the Book

Review by Paul Clements in the Irish Times

Local history round-up: Exploring the stories of the Gap of Dunloe (

 The book was featured on The Talking History show on Newstalk Radio, where Patrick Geoghegan interviewed Margaret about the book, to listen to the interview see below

Feature by David Medcalfe Independent Newspaper Group.



Some Praise for the book

“This is a fascinating account of the history of this farming community. The accounts of the various families are so well researched from original sources that they paint a vivid and personal picture of the area and its people over the centuries". 
Richard Nairn, ecologist and writer

“The main thing that struck and impressed me most was how comprehensive and well-researched it is, and I think it has a good claim to being the first full portrait of an Irish townland. It really sets a high standard for anyone wishing to research, record and present the history of their locality and is a wonderful example to us all of what needs to happen across the entire Irish countryside. 
Christiaan Corlett, archaeologist with the National Monuments Service. Authored, compiled and edited many books on archaeology, history, folklore and early photography.

“I liked this book a lot; gave me a much better idea of where I come from, what the times and conditions were like, and why my family emigrated. I just think of how much my father would have enjoyed this book, how many “blanks” it would have filled in for him.”
John Moran (Ohio, USA), great-great-grandson of Thomas Moran who migrated from Aghowle to Canada during the Great Famine
“Even as a small child Margaret Connolly had an empathy with her homeplace. She has placed the essence of Aghowle in the pages of this book and I feel the ghosts of the Aghowle people are nodding their heads in approval”.
Catherine Power (nee O’Brien), whose family farm was the last remaining traditional farm in the townland of Aghowle.
“A very handsome and substantial piece of work, by far the best local study ever to have been compiled for a rural community in Co. Wicklow, or perhaps in Ireland. It is a model of what can be done and should be essential reading for any programme of local history. I am very proud and very grateful to have been associated with it.”
Ken Hannigan, retired Keeper of the National Archives of Ireland, founder member of the Wicklow Historical Society and joint editor of Wicklow History and Society


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