Wilmington resident gets inspiration to write on Ireland's violent history
Wilmington resident gets inspiration to write on Ireland's violent history

The faded brown autograph book has seen a lot of wear in the past century. Its pages are filled with signatures, snatches of poetry and inspiring slogans — all written out, in florid cursive, by Irish prison inmates.

The autograph book belonged to Sean McCarthy, a teenaged Irish revolutionary. Swept up by British arrests after the Easter Rising of 1916, young Sean found himself transported to Spike Island, a prison in Cork harbor, along with other members of the Irish Republican Army.

The book passed to McCarthy’s daughter, Joan Brillaud. Her husband, Andre Brillaud, is now working to preserve his father-in-law’s memory.

A research oncologist from New York, Andre Brillaud retired to the Wilmington area in 1991. He got involved in the writers’ group at Landfall, where he met Myrna Brown, a retired nurse and author of “Of Unseen Things Above,” “Side Effects” and “The Chair Beside the Bed,” among other novels.