Fantastic Fridays: Rosa Mulholland

Welcome to a new series on Irish writers of the fantastic. Over the next few months Swan River Press will be taking us on a tour through Ireland’s fantasy heritage.

Rosa Mulholland
“The lonely graveyard is far away, an’ the dead man is hard to raise—”

–“Not to Be Taken at Bed-Time” (1865)


Rosa Mulholland (1841-1921), Lady Gilbert, was born in Belfast on 19 March 1841. In 1891 she married the eminent Irish historian and archivist Sir John T. Gilbert (1829-1898). In addition to her two-volume Life of Sir John T. Gilbert (1905), Mulholland produced a long line of novels mostly set in rural Ireland, often drawing on local folklore, and featuring strong female characters, including The Wicked Woods of Toberevil (1872), Banshee Castle (1895), and The O’Shaughnessy Girls (1911). Many of her supernatural tales, originally appearing in Charles Dickens’s All the Year Round and Irish Monthly, were collected in The Haunted Organist of Hurly Burly (1880). A further selection of her ghostly tales appears under the title Not to Be Taken at Bed-Time & Other Strange Stories (2013). Mulholland died at her home Villa Nova in Blackrock, Dublin, on 21 April 1921.


Read Rosa Mulholland at Project Gutenberg: