UK Book Launch: Declan O’Rourke – A Whisper From Oblivion

Supported by the Irish Embassy Great Britain.

The ICC is delighted to present the UK Book Launch of Declan O’Rourke’s new novel, A Whisper From Oblivion”, from one of Ireland’s best-loved songwriters.

A Whisper From Oblivion” is the sequel to his outstanding debut novel, “The Pawnbroker’s Reward”, forming two parts of his literary trilogy.

For this special event, Declan O’Rourke will be in conversation with Journalist Anne Flaherty, talking about his new book and he will doing a book signing following the Interview.

Fri 15 December 2023

Doors: 7.30pm; Starts: 8pm

Tickets: £15 OR £35 (Entry + Book)

About the Book

A Whisper From Oblivion” tells the heart-wrenching story of tragedy and human beauty entwined, told through the voices of real-life inhabitants of the town of Macroom, (County Cork), during the explosive eye of the storm of 1847, Ireland’s tragic Great Famine!

This book is the second powerful instalment of O’Rourke’s epic trilogy about Ireland’s Great Famine! His previous debut novel “The Pawn Brokers Award” received outstanding praise and magnificent reviews and it reached #2 in Ireland’s Hardback Fiction bestseller’s chart, staying in the top five for 7 weeks! 



About Declan O’Rourke

Declan O’Rourke is a multifaceted artist whose creative journey has encompassed both the realms of music and literature. In 2017, he achieved critical acclaim with the release of his award-winning album, “Chronicles of the Great Irish Famine.” This exceptional musical endeavour illuminated an extraordinary series of eye-witness accounts, notably the poignant story of Pádraig and Cáit ua Buachalla. This album showcased O’Rourke’s unique storytelling ability, setting the stage for his subsequent literary pursuits.

Four years later, O’Rourke made a seamless transition into the world of literature with his meticulously researched debut novel, “The Pawnbroker’s Reward.” This literary masterpiece intricately wove the saga of the ua Buachalla family into the harrowing backdrop of the Great Famine, offering a compelling narrative centred in the town of Macroom, Co. Cork. The novel was met with resounding success, reaching #2 in the Hardback Fiction bestseller’s chart and remaining in the top five for an impressive 8 weeks.

Photo by WOLFF

Continuing to bridge the gap between music and literature, Declan O’Rourke unveiled his latest literary work, “A Whisper From Oblivion.” In this second novel, he once again skillfully brings to life the real-life voices from the town of Macroom, offering a unique lens through which to view the Great Famine.

O’Rourke’s creative prowess extends beyond the written word, as he has been crafting soul-stirring songs since his teenage years. His musical journey has taken him across the globe, with performances spanning the USA, Europe, and Australia. His growing status as a global artist is underscored by the release of seven studio albums, five of which have enjoyed top-five status in Ireland’s national charts.

In 2021, O’Rourke achieved a significant milestone when his album “Arrivals” reached #2, earning a nomination for International Album of the Year by the Americana Music Association, UK. This recognition further solidifies his standing as a musician and artist of international acclaim.

Through his music and literature, Declan O’Rourke masterfully captures the essence of historical events and emotions, leaving an indelible mark on audiences worldwide. His ability to give voice to the past and present through his art continues to resonate deeply with those fortunate enough to experience his work.

Praise for Declan O’Rourke

“Empathy and melody in abundance. Incredible storytelling. Declan’s ability to emotio nally blindside you with a flash of beautifully observed detail is incredible. — Pete Paphides – Writer, journalist & broadcaster, 2021. 

“…from a born storyteller, a tale shaped with the lyricism of a songwriting giant. — Joseph O’Connor, Author of Star Of The sea, playwright, journalist, 2021.  “He writes the sort of classic songs that people don’t write anymore, songs that sound  like they’ve been around forever […] Listen to Galileo, which is possibly the greatest  song written in the last 30 years.” — Paul Weller, of The Jam. 

“Compassion, romance, a sense of mortality, and a sense of history . . . his calling is as  a balladeer, proffering reassurance in the face of inevitable sorrow.” – Jon Pareles, New York Times, 2013.

What People said about Declan O’Rourke’s “The Pawn Brokers Reward”

Lucid, lovingly-written and lyrical…faithfully captures the horrors of the early months of the Great Hunger.’ – Professor Christine Kinealy 

‘O’Rourke displays great subtlety in merging his story with factual information. There is no denying O’Rourke’s storytelling ability and skill at balancing the novel between a battle that wages profit against humanity.’ – John Boyne, The Irish Times

‘Brings the famine to vivid life with passion and heart. I devoured it.’ – Sue Leonard, The Irish Examiner

‘A powerful, multi-layered work showing us the famine as it happened through the lens of a single town: Macroom.’ – RTÉ Culture

‘Declan is a master storyteller in song and now he’s written a masterful story in The Pawnbroker’s Reward, it captures you from the beginning.’ – Marty Whelan, broadcaster, Lyric FM.

‘O’Rourke is connecting with our ancestors too. Not with song this time but with this meticulously, lovingly and exhaustively researched account of the Great Famine.…an earnest and fastidious labour of love as it reaches back to the suffering of past generations.’ – Liam Heylin, The Irish Examiner 

‘Full of heart and heartbreak, he resurrects the time of the famine with care and honesty. An original take on the darkest period in Irish history, it is well worth a read.’ – Daniel Seery, Dublin Inquirer 


Declan O’Rourke says…

Photo by WOLFF

Let’s face it, so synonymous with the Great Hunger, 1847 was always going to be the big one. Still, what I discovered inside was so tragic, so moving, and so unexpected. I told my Publishers from the outset that the story of the Ua Buachalla and their struggle through the famine was too big for just one book. I’m so glad they agreed, and extremely proud to share A Whisper From Oblivion, the second book in my Epic Trilogy.



About Anne Flaherty: 

Anne is a journalist born in London and growing up in County Clare; Anne has worked for the Irish Press in Dublin and  the Irish Times in Belfast as well as reporting from  Africa and Asia.  She is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and holds an MA in Anglo-Irish Writing from Queen’s University Belfast and an MA in Children’s Literature from the University of Surrey. She is Board member of the Irish Cultural Centre and a key member of the ICC’s Irish Literature Programming team.

Click to watch Journalist Anne Flaherty Interviewing Declan O’Rourke about his debut novel, “The Pawn Brokers Award in 2021” on ICC Digital.

Click to  hear Anne Flaherty talking about Declan O’Rourke’s debut novel on the radio show “Bright Side Of The Road” on Portobello Radio  in 2022.  


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