It's quite fitting that ‘Hackett and Turner’ sounds like a detective duo from a hit TV show. Over the course of the past year, retired teachers Pat Hackett and Liam Turner have been doing quite a bit of sleuthing.
It’s a journey that’s taken the Wexford men to libraries and archives all of the country and has had them wandering through cemeteries, uncovering graves that hadn’t been seen for decades. The result is a brand new book – The Lennon Glass – What a Pane
It all started with a piece of glass. Crudely scratched into it were the names of some of what Pat calls “the biggest movers and shakers of the late 1800s in Wexford”.
“I had a call from my Auntie Katherine Lennon who had this piece of glass with all these names etched into it,” he recalls. “She was having a bit of a clear out and she didn’t know what to do with it. There was no museum or anything to donate it to.”
She left it in the capable hands of her history buff nephew, who recruited his old pal Liam Turner and the pair set about unravelling nearly 150 years of history and stories through the names and slogans carved into the glass.
The piece of glass itself was recovered by Katherine’s husband Albert when he was renovating a building on Wexford’s Main Street (between numbers 79 and 93) in the late 1950s.
In total, Hackett and Turner managed to successfully identify and verify 25 of the 27 “panesters” contained on the glass, the two most recognisable names being John Redmond MP, leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party and M.J. O’Connor, the solicitor.
While their stories are relatively well-known, the fascinating stories of the other 23 names are woven into this new 292 page book.