About

This page provides a background to the two books that Hugh has published.

Cillefoyle Park is about A social activist is torn between the possibility of politics and the violence exploding on the streets of Derry at the height of The Troubles in the mid 1970’s. An innocent friendship with a neighbour – a schoolteacher leads them both into a precarious web of secrecy and intrigue with all sides of the endless conflict. Caught in a nightmare world of secret negotiations for a ceasefire, his life spins on the edge of clandestine friendship, love, meetings and certain death at any wrong turn - a constant struggle with his conscience and the challenge of simply staying alive. The story is based upon  The Brendan Duddy Papers.

The collection has been archived and placed online, its website states, ‘Throughout twenty years of violent conflict in Northern Ireland a secret channel of communication linked the IRA to the highest levels of the British government. At the heart of this channel was a single intermediary, Brendan Duddy. His house was the venue for secret negotiations between the British Government and the IRA throughout 1975. He managed the intense negotiations over the Republican hunger strikes in which ten men died (1980-1981) and he was at the heart of the contacts (1991-1993) that culminated in a secret offer of a ceasefire that was a precursor to the public IRA ceasefire of 1994’.

This ongoing contact laid the foundation for the current power-sharing executive that is now under immense pressure to survive. It also laid the foundation for my book - Cillefoyle Park. The book utilises the papers for a fictional account of the negotiations for a ceasefire and life in Derry in the 1970s - the peak of the violence, the fight for a university, the civil rights movement, an IRA Supergrass and the activities of social campaigner - Eamonn McCann.

Brendan Duddy was a Derry business man - a fish and chip shop owner – a Republican but also a passionate pacifist. He felt there had to be a way to forge an accord between the IRA and the British Government instead of the continuing brutal violence on the streets of Northern Ireland. He developed a back-channel between them. During 1993 a series of messages between the back-channel and the British Government led to a message ‘conflict is over’. Supposedly from the IRA, and asking the British Government to help lay the plans for a negotiated settlement. McGuinness felt the ‘the Contact’ or ‘Fred’ overstepped their remit. It led to Duddy being ‘interrogated’ by four leading Republicans, McGuinness was the main interrogator. Duddy felt, if he hadn’t convinced them that he was genuine in his attempts at developing a path for peace, and not acting as some sort of British agent, he would not have left the interrogation alive. The link was also used for a ceasefire in the mid-70’s and as stated before, during The Hunger Strike. This event prompted Sinn Fein to move towards electoral politics. Margaret Thatcher, the UK Prime Minister at that time, thought the IRA was playing their last card over the prison issues. The book uses this  back-channel as a backdrop to 1970's Derry.

A Bump on the Road is a book of 18 short stories emanating from the innocent years before secondary school, and the growing out of it. The stories reflect an observant child in Ireland attempting to understand the world around him. Family, The Church, The Troubles, secrets, ghost stories, leaving home, myths and legends. All this comes under the microscope of a child growing up. These stories are disguised memoirs – creative memoirs. Little nuggets of memories give birth to these flights of fancies. Read the preface for more details of the stories.
The reader is taken on a gamut of emotions in this rich and amusing journey of growing up in Ireland. Sorrow is never too far away. It allows the reader to get a glimpse into the mind of a young child - his thoughts, wishes and dreams as he ventures through the streets of his birth and beyond. The reader will engage and identify with the child as each adventure takes place. 

Hugh Vaughan was born in Northern Ireland and currently lives in Melbourne, Australia.  He has a Masters in Information Systems and has lectured and worked Information Technology in Northern Ireland, Wellington, New Zealand, Sydney and Melbourne, Australia. He is married with two children.