From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837
DURSEY, an island, in the parish of KILNAMANNAGH, barony of BERE, county of CORK, and province of MUNSTER, 8 miles (S. W.) from Castletown; containing 198 inhabitants. On this island part of the French army landed in 1796, and on the following day were taken prisoners in Castletown. After this the government erected a signal tower on the highest point of the island, which formed the first of a line of signal stations that extended to Cork. Dursey is situated off the south-west coast, at the extremity of a peninsula whose shores border the entrances to Bantry bay and Bearhaven on one side, and to the river Kenmare on the other. It is in lat. 51° 34' 40", and lon. 10° 15', extending 1 ¼ mile in length by ½ a mile in breadth, and comprises 754 acres, the greater part of which is a rough mountainous tract, interspersed with rocky pasture and coarse arable land. It is the property of the Earl of Bantry. Between the island and the mainland is a narrow sound, through which vessels may sail with a favourable wind and tide; and near it is Ballydonaghan bay, which is deep water, having from 20 to 30 fathoms close to the shore. Contiguous to the island are several rocks. Near the ferry crossing the sound are the remains of a very old church, called Our Lady's abbey, consisting of part of the walls only.
From a sad, comfortless childhood Giles Truelove developed into a reclusive and uncommunicative man whose sole passion was books. For so long they were the only meaning to his existence. But when fate eventually intervened to have the outside world intrude upon his life, he began to discover emotions that he never knew he had.
This is a story for the genuine booklover, penned by an Irish bookseller under the pseudonym of Ralph St. John Featherstonehaugh.
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