Tom Reilly (author)

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Tom Reilly (born 1960) is an Irish author and former regional newspaper columnist (Life of Reilly, Drogheda Independent), who has written books on Oliver Cromwell and religion, (Hollow Be Thy Name) as well as a book based on his own newspaper columns.



Reilly is currently the manager of Ardgillan Castle, located between Balbriggan and Skerries in Ireland. He has published ten books, three of which have been conventionally published, the other seven have been self-published. A native of Drogheda, County Louth, Reilly is a director of a local printing company, Burex Manufacturing Ltd. of Dunleer, Louth. He spent most of his working life in the printing and allied trades and is an avid local historian. He set up the Drogheda Heritage Centre along with his wife, Noeleen in 1999 in St Mary's Church of Ireland, Drogheda, the site of Cromwell's entry into the town in 1649. The Centre caused local controversy when Cromwell's death mask was displayed for two months under the slogan 'He's Back!' While the death mask was on display protests were led by the Deputy Mayor of Drogheda, Frank Godfrey daubed tomato juice on the walls of the graveyard surrounding the Centre. [1] 'Cromwell Was Framed (Ireland 1649)', the first major book from new imprint Chronos Books appeared on the bookshelves in 2014. Drogheda's Forgotten Walls (and other stories) was published in December 2015.

He is married to Noeleen (Crinion) and has two children, Cathy and Eoin.

Reilly's best-known work on Cromwell, Cromwell – An Honourable Enemy: The Untold Story of the Cromwellian Invasion of Ireland (1999), which holds that Cromwell did not intentionally target civilians during the campaign. He was quoted as stating: "Cromwell's entire Irish mission was fought on a purely military basis, and it is to his enormous credit that he never once departed from those parameters." [2] The central thesis of this argument has been challenged by leading Irish historians. [3]

Cromwell – An Honourable Enemy: The Untold Story of the Cromwellian Invasion of Ireland

Positive reviews

Negative reviews

Both Cromwell in Ireland (2008) and The Story of Ireland (2010) were major Irish TV (RTE) documentaries (repeats are still aired on digital stations), conclude that Cromwell was guilty of wholesale civilian atrocities and almost completely ignore any revisionist work.

Reilly responded to academic criticism by publishing a further work 'Cromwell Was Framed (Ireland 1649)', in which he counters his academic detractors (Prof. John Morrill, Prof. Micheál Ó'Siochrú, Dr. Jason McElligott and Dr. Pádraig Lenihan), by the inclusion of contemporary documents.

Amongst Reilly's assertions, is the identity of two contemporary individuals of whom he cites as personally responsible for creating the alleged myth that Cromwell deliberately killed unarmed men, women and children at both Drogheda and Wexford, and that a 1649 London newspaper reported that Cromwell's penis had been shot off at Drogheda.


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  1. "Cromwell book to dig up old debate". independent. Retrieved 26 November 2022.
  2. [ permanent dead link ] "Cromwell town apology", Ronan McGreevy. The Irish Post Online News Page. Saturday, 1 May 1999 [ dead link ]
  3. Maxwell, Nick (6 February 2013). "Cromwell: An Honourable Enemy, Tom Reilly. (Brandon Press, £17.99) ISBN 0863222501". History Ireland. Retrieved 26 November 2022.
  4. A New History of Cromwell's Irish Campaign at
  5. Maxwell, Nick (6 February 2013). "Cromwell: An Honourable Enemy, Tom Reilly. (Brandon Press, £17.99) ISBN 0863222501". History Ireland. Retrieved 26 November 2022.