Andrew Tierney

Posted by Sue Leonard on Sunday 5th March 2017

An architectural historian, Andrew has taught in various places, including UCD – where he specialised in The Irish Country House, and Liverpool, where he taught Irish Studies. He works for the Buildings of Ireland charitable trust, supporting their  architectural  guide.

Andrew became interested in the trial of his distant descendent, Ellen Langley, when he came across the case whilst researching something else.

“I realised there had been an attempt to suppress her name and keep her out of family history. Writing the book felt like a pastime.

“I could explore various rich seams of Irish social history; of the rise of the Catholic middle class, as seen in the coroner’s inquest, to the declining Anglo Irish protestant  ascendency with the backdrop of the famine.  We rarely hear about the middle classes but these stories are there to be retrieved”

Who is Andrew Tierney? 

Date of birth: 1976 in Dublin, but moved to Nenagh at five.

Education:   Clongowes  Wood College; University College Dublin: Art History and English. PhD in History and Archaeology  on Irish tower houses.

Home:  Grand Canal Dock, Dublin.

Family: Wife Sarah. “Her background is in architectural history as well. We met in UCD.”  Parents and three siblings. “They all gave me invaluable feedback.”

The Day Job: Freelance Researcher, writer.

Favourite Book: “The Retrospections of Dorothea Herbert. A memoir, written when she was imprisoned in the family attic, it reads like a Jane Austen novel.” He was also influenced by books by, and about, the Bronte’s.

Second Book: The inaugural Pevsner Architectural Guide to the Central Leinster Region, to be published by Yale University Press next year.

Top Tip:  “Be patient. If you didn’t have patience it would be impossible to do this. Writing and publishing a book is such a long, drawn out process. Also, have low expectations.”

The Debut: The Doctor’s Wife is Dead. Penguin Ireland: €17.79  Kindle: €11.85 

It’s 1848 in Nenagh, and the local doctor is charged with the murder of his wife, Ellen Langley, on suspicion of poisoning her. He had treated her appallingly; near starving her and confining her to the attic. Her trial shocked the townspeople. But why did he treat her so badly? 

The Verdict: Riveting. This historic legal drama is meticulously researched, and deftly told. I loved it.

Published in The Irish Examiner on 4th March

© Sue Leonard. 2017 

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