Unveiling the Extraordinary: Book Launch at Timahoe Heritage Festival

As the Timahoe Heritage Festival draws near, anticipation swirls in the air, heralding an event that promises to unveil a treasure trove of history and adventure. On June 1st and 2nd, (time to be confirmed) amidst the picturesque backdrop of Timahoe, Co. Laois, a remarkable tale will come to light with the launch of Sally Harpur O’ Dowd’s fascinating book.

Sally Harpur O’ Dowd, the guardian of a remarkable legacy, invites you to embark on an unforgettable journey through time with the unveiling of her uncle’s long-lost memoirs. The book unveils the captivating odyssey of Ernest Harpur, a Timahoe man whose life spanned from 1899 to 1975, but whose adventures transcended the bounds of any single era.

At the heart of the memoir lies the gripping saga of Ernest Harpur’s experiences as a soldier, a civil engineer, and an intrepid explorer. Across the pages, readers will be transported through the tumultuous landscapes of two World Wars and the 1920 Iraq Rebellion, where Harpur defied the odds and emerged unscathed, his spirit indomitable.

Yet, Harpur’s narrative extends far beyond the battlegrounds. Within these memoirs, he shares vivid accounts of his illustrious career as a civil engineer, spanning continents and decades. From the sands of Iraq to the jungles of Brazil, from the plains of India to the savannas of Nigeria, Harpur’s footprint left an indelible mark on the world.

One of the most riveting chapters of his life unfolds against the backdrop of the Euphrates River, where Harpur played a pivotal role in erecting one of the first modern bridges in Iraq during the 1920s. Remarkably, this same bridge bore witness to history’s tumult, standing strong until its eventual demise during the 1991 Gulf War.

Harpur’s encounters with luminaries such as Gertrude Bell and Sir Leonard Woolley add layers of intrigue to his narrative, painting a vivid tapestry of a bygone era. Yet, it is his relentless pursuit of engineering excellence that emerges as the defining thread of his story.

From post-WW2 Germany to the wilds of Northern Nigeria, from the depths of Northern Rhodesia to the bustling streets of London, Harpur’s adventures leap off the page, inviting readers to share in his triumphs and trials. His encounters with wild elephants, his pioneering surveys, and his pivotal role in shaping infrastructural marvels underscore his unwavering commitment to his craft.

As the pages turn, a portrait of a man driven by passion and purpose emerges—a man who embraced life with unbridled enthusiasm and left an indelible legacy on the world of engineering.

Join us at the Timahoe Heritage Festival as we celebrate the unveiling of Ernest Harpur’s extraordinary journey—a testament to the enduring power of the human spirit and the boundless possibilities of a life lived with purpose. Don’t miss your chance to be part of history in the making.

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Jun 01 2024


2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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