The Kidnap of Hugh O'Donnell

Deborah Lisson
Red Hugh

In 1857 the old Irish clans struggled desperately to hold on to their lands against Queen Elizabeth, who also had the Spanish Armada to worry about. Could this be Hugh O'Donnell's opportunity to escape from Dublin Castle?


Western Australia Premier’s Award 1998 for a Young Adult Book - 1998


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224 pages
196x130 mm

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The extraordinary true story of Red Hugh O'Donnell -- kidnap, gaol, dungeons, escape

Ireland in 1587 was a tough place. The old Irish clans struggled desperately to hold on to their lands. With the Spanish Armada threatening her in the background, the English queen, Elizabeth I, set out to subdue them.

A few weeks before his fifteenth birthday, Red Hugh was captured and taken to Dublin Castle. He was held as hostage to ensure the good behaviour of his father, chief of the powerful O'Donnell clan of Donegal. After several years, one freezing winter's night the chance of escape seemed to come at last. But there were great risks …

Deborah Lisson is a well-known author of young adult fiction, living in Banbury, Australia. Her passion for the story of Red Hugh led her to research this book in Ireland. Her novel The Devil's Own won the Western Australia Premier's Award for Children’s Fiction and was shortlisted for the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award in 1991; her book, A Place of Safety, won the Western Australia Premier's Award for Children's Literature in 1997.

Deborah's latest book, Truth Seeker, was published by O'Brien Press in October 2001.

Well written, with pace and excitement. It is no surprise that this book won an award.

The Irish Times

A true story and a ripping yarn.

RTE Guide

Warring chieftains, castle dungeons, camaraderie and stoic endurance are all elements in this story of adventure and derring-do.

Best Books

A true story, a ripping yarn, and a love story with Irish history.

County Donegal Historical Society
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