WE ARE BESIEGED by Barbara Fitzgerald was originally published in 1946.  This fascinating first novel deals with the burning-out of an Anglo-Irish family in 1922 and what happens to them during the subsequent ten years. The backdrop for most of the novel is a Georgian house in Fitzwilliam Square in Dublin, where the family try to deal with the new Ireland in their different ways. Two attractive sisters, the self-willed Isobel and the more endearing Caroline, grow up in a society where there are no officers to dance with, no Viceregal Drawing-rooms to assure them position. 

When the British left Southern Ireland, many of the Anglo-Irish remaining in the country felt like aliens, besieged in a hostile land. While some adapted to the new regime, others, such as Isobel and Caroline’s mother, neither could nor would. Their sons and daughters grew up as a generation that could hardly remember the British. Families were divided against themselves, children against their parents.


BARBARA  FITZGERALD was born in Cork in 1911, the daughter of John Gregg, later Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of All Ireland. She was educated in London and Dublin and later gained a First in Modern Languages in Trinity College Dublin. She married Michael Somerville,a nephew of Edith Somerville, and they settled in West Africa for some years. She returned to Ireland during the war and went to live with her two children in the Bishop’s Palace in Armagh. It was here that We Are Besieged was written, and it became a Book Society Recommendation. Her second novel, Footprint Upon Water, was published in 1983, a year after her death in Dublin.

“Serious and most promising novel.”

“A genuine novel of Ireland’s passions refreshingly lit from a new angle and as such should be read by every Irishman.”
SEAN O’FAOLAIN, man of letters

A blisteringly acute portrait of a woman who refuses to adapt to changing times and is as complicated and devious as Somerville and Ross’s Charlotte Mullen. Poignant and witty, We Are Besieged is a small masterpiece.”
PENNY PERRICK, novelist and newspaper editor

“Barbara Fitzgerald’s We Are Besieged deserves to be as well-known as the novels of Molly Keane and Elizabeth Bowen”
ROBERT O'BYRNE, Irish Country House historian

“Consummately gripping and tender first novel.”
PATRICK SKENE CATLING, novelist and critic 

€14.99/£11.99/ $19.50


ISBN:978 0 9562231 35
234 x 156mm 400pp
2 June 2011

Also available on Kindle £6.81