Spellbound by Sibella by Paul B McNulty

Club Lighthouse will publish my debut novel, Spellbound by Sibella, as an e-book. But how does one organise a book launch for its release without hard copy? If you have any ideas please respond on my website or e-mail me at paul.mcnulty@ucd.ie. For the record, the novel deals with the turbulent liaison between Sir Harry Lynch-Blosse of Balla, Co Mayo and Sibella Cottle, a woman with spellbinding powers reputedly wrought by witchcraft. Scheduled for release this autumn, the novel is based on real events in late 18th century Ireland. For me, it is a dream come through.

Biography for Paul B McNulty

Paul McNulty writes historical novels based on real events in 18th century Ireland. After a career in food engineering at University College Dublin, he studied ‘The genealogy of the Anglo-Norman Lynches who settled in Galway.’ The discovery of forgotten Irish stories inspired him to write a debut novel, Spellbound by Sibella based in County Mayo. Critiques from a writer’s group, The Corner Table, guide his writing.

Paul lives in Dublin with his wife, Treasa Ni Chonaola. They have three children, Dara, Nora and Meabh, and a grandchild, Lily Marie. He derives inspiration from the wild splendour of Connemara.

The Spellbinding of Men

The reputed spellbinding of Sir Harry Lynch-Blosse of Balla, County Mayo by his mistress, Sibella Cottle  has been described by Matthew Archdeacon.  Miss Cottle used the spancel, a powerful love-charm to spellbind Harry circa 1780. Judy Holian, a reputed witch prepared the spancel using skin from the exhumed corpse of a young girl according to T H Nally.

Caesar Otway confirmed the use of the spancel to spellbind men through research in Belmullet, County Mayo. He found that three local girls made matches above their station when using a spancel cut from the corpse of a Trappist monk. Protestant girls ‘of a better sort’ also used a practice that may have originated in 16th century England.

Lady Wilde tells the story of ‘The Fatal Love-Charm’ in which a servant girl of modest looks spellbound her widowed master using a spancel. Exactly one year and a day after her marriage, the spancel was accidentally burnt in her wardrobe. The spell was broken. The master now hated her. Despised and isolated, she died half-mad before the year was out, a conclusion drawn by T H Nally for the fate of Sibella Cottle in his 1916 drama The Spancel of Death.