New Irish Books March-April 2014

New Irish Books March-April 2014
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anthology

Jancar_201401031457_0001Best European Fiction 2014. Dalkey Archive Press; 337pp; €13/£11.99/US$16/CAN$17 pb; 23cm; 978-1-56478-898-6.

The lively Dalkey Archive Press continues to cast its net wide in its search for authors and books to publish. This is its fifth anthology of the best of European writing. With a preface by Drago Jančar, it contains stories translated from over twenty languages and authors from Wales to Belarus. Some might regard the absence of Irish writers as an oversight but there is Irish representation in the form of the likes of Tom McCarthy and Donal McLaughlin. Described by one reviewer as a ‘show-and-tell of the soul’, these are stories characterised not only by good writing but also by their insight into the human condition.
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lordan_201312161243New Planet Cabaret: an anthology of new writing from New Island. Dave Lordan (ed.). New Island; 192pp; €13.99 pb; 21cm; 978-1-84840-296-6.

At the end of 2012 New Island and RTÉ Radio 1’s Arena programme launched the country’s first on-air creative writing course. The course itself took place in June 2013, with Dave Lordan, award-winning poet, as coordinator. Acting on prompts given on the radio show, hundreds of writers responded in various genres, with the best getting airtime. Songwriters, poets, rappers, storywriters and playwrights all took part. The best seventeen were selected for this anthology. New Island also took the opportunity to invite 40 other new and emerging writers to contribute pieces, making this a substantial collection. The contributions are divided into seven thematic sections, with headings such as ‘premature obituaries’ or ‘control to go’.
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boran&smythIf Ever You Go: a map of Dublin in poetry and song. Pat Boran and Gerard Smyth (eds). Dedalus Press; 397pp; €11.99 pb; 21cm; 978-1-906614-87-4.

In a departure from usual practice, Dublin city’s book this year is not a well-established classic but one published this year. It is bold and imaginative not just for that but also for taking this approach to the city and its associated poetry. Of course, it might have helped to include an actual map of Dublin. As it is, it is a virtual map provided by the poems and as such is a literary guide almost street by street. Many well-known names are represented, from Swift to Heaney, including ‘anonymous’. This book will appeal to both the lover of poetry and the prosaic lover of Dublin, if there is such a thing. It is a great celebration of the city and of Irish poetry.
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archeology

manning_201312201347Clogh Oughter Castle, Co. Cavan: archaeology, history and architecture. Conleth Manning. Dept of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht; 240pp; €30 pb; 30cm; 978-1-4064-2777-6.

This is the eighth in the Department’s archaeological monograph series. Manning oversaw the survey and excavation, including an underwater investigation, of the castle in 1987 and has now been enabled to bring this thorough report into print. The different sections of the book consider the setting of the castle, its history, description, conservation and excavation. A sixth section contains the specialist reports on various aspects of the archaeology, such as bone objects, military artefacts and textiles, while the final section is an informative and thought-provoking discussion on the results of the excavation and investigation and their significance in the local and national context.
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bermingham, coyne, hull,reilly & taylor_201312161306River Road: the archaeology of the Limerick southern ring-road. Nóra Bermingham, Frank Coyne et al. NRA; 178pp; €25; pb; 24cm; 978-0-9574380-4-0.

One unexpected side-effect of the Celtic Tiger road-building boom was the opportunity afforded for archaeological excavation. The National Roads Authority not only facilitated teams of archaeologists to survey and excavate but also published reports when the work was finished. This is number fourteen in its scheme monographs. It is a multi-authored work that describes the results of the 28 excavations that took place along the route of Limerick city’s southern ring-road. A wealth of material was uncovered, from evidence in the soil to numerous artefacts, throwing light on human settlement from earliest times to the Georgian era. The book is well illustrated with maps, diagrams and photographs and comes with a CD that conveys the information in a more hi-tech format.
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cunningham_201404021102.tiffThe Round Tower at Roscrea and its Environs: including an overview of the Irish round towers with particular attention to some midland towers. George Cunningham. Parkmore Press; 296pp; €30 pb; 27cm; 978-0-9505368-9-7.

Cunningham has a background in teaching but his experience encompasses much more than that. He is a community activist and busy local historian who has published books on the midlands and even on the Burren, Co. Clare. This is an impressive in-depth study of his ‘local’ round tower in County Tipperary. He manages to include a history of Roscrea, a wider history of the round tower and an examination of other such buildings in the region. He brings the story up to date with an account of recent activity in and around the tower. As well as all that, this is a handsome production with many fine photographs, facsimiles of documents and maps. He imaginatively raised the money to publish the book via local patrons and sponsors.
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Stone cirlcesThe Sun Circles of Ireland: illuminating the stone circles of ancient Ireland. Jack Roberts. Bandia Publishing; 254pp; €15 pb; 24cm; 978-1-908378-15-6.

Like this book, Bandia Publishing is largely the work of Jack Roberts, who has been studying, researching and writing about the archaeological features of the south-west for some years. His latest looks at the circles which are to be found in many parts of the country, seeking meaning in their construction and design through their solar or astral alignment. It is divided into three parts: discussing the Irish circles in general, examining those in the south-west of Ireland and, finally, listing all the known circles in Cork and Kerry. Roberts pays homage to his predecessor in this field, also in south-west Ireland, Admiral Boyle Somerville, who was killed by dissident republicans in 1936.
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art

boyce&armstrong_The Crossings of Art in Ireland. Ruben Moi, Brynhildur Boyce and Charles I. Armstrong (eds). Peter Lang; 319pp; €52.50 pb; 23cm; 978-3-0343-0983-7.

Volume 53 of the ‘Reimagining Ireland’ series, this book examines ideas around art and its interaction with other creative expressions in an Irish context. The contributors come from universities in Ireland and Scandinavia. They examine the drama and poetry of writers like Brian Friel, Patrick Kavanagh and Samuel Beckett, discussing how their work has both been influenced by and had an influence on visual art. They recognise, too, that art itself is changing and that what defines visual art is now a fluid concept that must contend not just with the moving picture but also with the expansion of possibilities created by digital technology. Particular essays discuss ekphrasis, that is, how writers respond to visual art, the crossings in the plays of Friel, James Barry’s painting and Irish cinema.
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autobiography

macsweeney_201312161251Letters from a Recalcitrant Woman. Marie MacSweeney. MollyM Press; 192pp; €12; pb; 21cm; 978-0-9564023-4-9.

MacSweeney has published three other books but none is as personal as this. From Kerry, she has lived for many years in County Louth, where she has a reputation for sending letters and emails to newspapers and radio shows, all of which are reproduced here. MacSweeney has a quixotic approach to righting wrongs and some may think that she has been tilting at windmills. The book could have been better organised, with more distinction made between the original communications, responses and her present comments on them. Subjects covered range from education and the health service to the PSNI and the church. Presumably those who know her in the county may be interested.
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griffin_201312161255Not Lost: a story about leaving home. Sarah Maria Griffin. New Island; 267pp; €16.99 pb; 21cm; 978-1-84840-302-4.

Griffin is one of the new generation of Irish emigrants and has written the first memoir of that experience for her generation. Although presented as a tale of hardship, emotional trauma and so on, would it be too cruel to say that someone whose main qualification was an MA in creative writing might have had to emigrate in any case? Now in San Francisco, Griffin is a full-time writer in different media and genres. Her first book of poetry was published by Lapwing in 2011. Given this, it comes as no surprise that this is a well-written book that does draw the reader in. It is emotionally gripping and, whatever the reason for her emigrating, you do care what happens to her.
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An Act of Love by Marie FlemingAn Act of Love. Marie Fleming, with Sue Leonard. Hachette Books Ireland; 304pp; £13.99 pb; 23cm; 978-1-4447-912-1.

Fleming came to prominence when she took a case to lift the legal ban on assisted suicide in 2010. She lost the case but won a lot of sympathy for her plight and that of her partner, Tom Curran. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in her mid-thirties and, realising the inevitable progress of the disease, sought a change in the law. Before she died in December 2013, she completed her autobiography with the aid of Sue Leonard (one of our regular reviewers). It tells the story of a remarkable woman who achieved much in her life and ultimately faced death with dignity. She had a difficult childhood in Donegal, which she overcame to get herself an education and a career. Hers is a remarkable story of fortitude and love. G 3

o'rourke_201403111142Dear Ross: an amazing story of love and survival. Evelyn O’Rourke. Hachette Ireland; 317pp; £13.99 pb; 23cm; 978-1-444-78984-3.

O’Rourke’s voice will be familiar to listeners to RTÉ radio, where she has worked for a number of years. This is her first book and it is about her struggle with cancer. It starts out as an apparently feel-good story, when she discovers that she is pregnant with her second child while out on maternity leave with her first, Oisín. This news, however, is followed by a diagnosis of cancer. She holds little back in explaining her subsequent experiences. She was presented with having invasive surgery and chemotherapy, which would be difficult enough to face even without considering the effect on her unborn baby, Ross. Written as much for her son as for the reader, she charts her journey through illness, treatment and recovery.
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wormell&turnerWith Dignity and Grace. Daphne Wormell and Julia Turner. Hinds Publishing (www.hinds.ie); 219pp; €25.00 hb; 23cm; 978-1-909442-01-6.

Wormell was born in Canada in 1916 to Irish parents. In 1937 she entered Trinity College Dublin, where she was a successful student, being awarded the Gold Medal for her results. She married Donald Wormell, with whom she spent time in Bletchley Park, where he was a decoder of secret German signals. All noteworthy enough, but she was also a key campaigner in the ultimately successful campaign for the ordination of women in the Church of Ireland and was at the forefront of a campaign to provide children’s playgroups. Along with her daughter, Julia Turner, she has written this autobiography, which is as much about her life as wife and mother as it is about her work as an ecclesiastical and social campaigner.
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Biography

O'HaraMaureen O’Hara: the biography. Aubrey Malone. University of Kentucky Press; 209pp + 16pp of photos; $29.95 hb; 23cm; 978-0-8131-4238-8.

This is the first biography of the now 95-year-old acting legend who recently departed Ireland after spending so much of her life here. Malone documents her early years under the tutelage of Charles Laughton and her rapid rise to fame in Hollywood. O’Hara worked with all the greats, like Tyrone Power, John Wayne, James Stewart, etc., and was their equal on screen, earning the accolade ‘the queen of technicolour’. She was often typecast as the fiery siren, however, after her role in The Quiet Man. Malone also charts her relationship with John Wayne and John Ford, who had an obsession with her that later turned to outright rancour.
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mitchell_201312161257Roger Casement. Angus Mitchell. O’Brien Press; 414pp + 16pp of photos; €12.99/£10.99 pb; flapped; 19cm; 978-1-84717-264-8.

This is another in O’Brien Press’s ‘16 Lives’ series, which focuses on the leaders of the 1916 Rising. Casement, although not in Dublin during the Rising, was the most high-profile leader. The book is illustrated with photographs and maps, not of Ireland but of South America and Africa, as Casement’s time as an Irish republican came at the end of an eventful life. He spent twenty years as a British representative in Africa and then in Brazil, earning himself an international reputation for his campaigns against forced labour. His execution was opposed by many prominent people and afterwards the release of the diaries caused controversy. Mitchell steers the reader through the many aspects of Casement’s life and afterlife with a steady hand at the tiller.
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deMordha_201401021356_0001Scéal Shéamais Bhig: saol, seanchas, scéalta agus teanga Shéamais Bhig Uí Lúing. Dáithí de Mórdha. An Sagart; 358pp; €30 hb; 24cm; 978-1-903896-85-3.

Beathaisnéis Shéamais bhig Uí Lúing agus an chead leabhar as Corca Dhuibhne. Bhí Séamas Beag ina lán béil Éireann ar son a dheisbhéalaí ach is beag eile a bhí ar eolas again. Tá de Mórdha oilte sa bhéaloideas agus sa stair logánta, pósta agus beirt chlainne air. Sin-seanathair dó Séamas Beag. Tá sé fostaithe in Ionad an Bhlascaoid. Is leabhar simúil éile ón an foilsitheoir gnóthach i Chontae Ciarraí.
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egerton.tiffArtist and Aristocrat: the life of Lady Mabel Annesley, 1881–1959. Diane Allwood Egerton. Ulster Historical Foundation; 144pp; €20.62 hb; 26cm; 978-0-90688-98-4.

Lady Mabel was the daughter of the fifth earl of Annesley, of Castlewellan, Co. Down. Like many from a privileged background, she was able to dabble in art. She, however, had real talent and was taken seriously as an artist. She practised both wood engraving and printmaking, and in the latter field her work was compared to that of William Blake. Her work is in the collections of not just the Ulster Museum but also the British Museum and the national galleries of Canada and New Zealand. The book is divided into two sections. The first recounts her life and work in six chapters, while the second is given over to almost 60 pages of reproductions of her relief prints.
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fentonFrederick Douglass in Ireland: ‘the black O’Connell’. Laurence Fenton. Collins Press; 239pp; €12.99/£10.99 pb; 20cm; 978-84889-196-8.

Douglass, an African-American, was a former slave who campaigned for an end to slavery. He travelled widely, garnering international support for his campaign. He found a kindred spirit in Daniel O’Connell when he came to Ireland. Fenton is a Cork-based historian of nineteenth-century Ireland and he has written a lively and informative account of Douglass’s four-month visit here in 1845. He was hugely popular with the Irish public as he gave lectures on the evils of slavery, shared a stage with O’Connell and even took the temperance pledge from Fr Matthew. His visit was instrumental in shaping Irish attitudes to slavery. Douglass himself was moved by the reception he received and he learned much from O’Connell’s methods.
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morrisseyLaurence O’Neill (1864–1943), Lord Mayor of Dublin (1917–1924): patriot and man of peace. Thomas J. Morrissey SJ. Dublin City Council; 298pp + 12pp of photos; €45 pb; flapped; 24cm; 978-1-907002-13-7.

This is part of a series of publications that Dublin City Council is pro-ducing to mark the decade of centenaries. The long title is indicative of how far Laurence O’Neill has slipped from the public consciousness. Yet he was once a key public figure, playing a crucial role in many episodes in the revolutionary era, and even had ballads written about him. Morrissey examines his life in three phases covering his early years, his mayoralty and his final years. He looks at O’Neill’s role while mayor in the major political events of the day, and in particular how he tried to find peaceful, negotiated solutions to the various issues confronting Ireland. This is a timely reminder of a man whose achievements have been overshadowed by history.
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feeney_20140319150316 Lives: Seán MacDiarmada. Brian Feeney. O’Brien Press; 336pp + 16pp of photos; €12.99/£10.99 pb; flapped; 19cm; 978-1-84717-263-1.

 

litton_20140319150316 Lives: Thomas Clarke. Helen Litton. O’Brien Press; 256pp + 16pp of photos; €12.99/£10.99 pb; flapped; 19cm; 978-1-84717-261-7.

The publication of these two volumes marks the halfway point in the O’Brien Press series of biographies of the sixteen men executed for their part in the 1916 Rising. The project began in 2012 and is due for completion in 2016. While the Rising changed the course of Irish history and the leaders became household names, the details of their lives and their other achievements are often overlooked. These biographies are invaluable in painting a portrait of the real people behind the names, chronicling their lives and explaining why they took part in the Rising. Clarke was the oldest of those executed. MacDiarmada, although from Leitrim, became a republican in Belfast, which is significant, as that aspect of the independence movement is often ignored.
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celtic studies

Handy_201401101018The Language of Gender, Power and Agency in Celtic Studies. Amber Handy and Brian Ó Conchubhair (eds). Arlen House; 233pp; €25 pb; 21cm; 978-1-85132-075-2.

This book has its origins in a conference held in 2010 at the University of Notre Dame with the snappier title of ‘Saints, Sinners and Scribes in the Celtic World’, an annual gathering of the Celtic Studies Association of North America. The seventeen contributors examine and discuss topics in both medieval and early modern Celtic writing and modern and contemporary writing. The first section looks at specific poems or stories, such as Culhwch ac Olwen, as well as broader themes like saints and kings. The second section mainly looks at the work of particular poets, such as Eavan Boland and Seamus Heaney. Taken as a whole, they reflect current trends and thinking among Celtic Studies scholars today.
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creative writing

boranThe Portable Creative Writing Workshop. Pat Boran. Dedalus Press; 216pp; €12.50/£11 pb; 21cm; 978-1-906614-77-5.

Boran is an award-winning writer of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. A member of Aosdána, he is co-editor of If Ever You Go: a map of Dublin in poetry and song, this year’s ‘One City, One Book’ designated title. Creative writing is very much in vogue at the moment and few will be considered by an agent or publisher if they have not attended such a course. Boran provides a handbook that can be used as part of a class or by an individual writer. Divided into four sections, it begins with the basics of why to write and where ideas come from. Poetry and fiction each have their own section and the book concludes with advice about editors, agents and publishers.
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culture

0'Connor_201312141233The Irish Dancing: cultural politics and identities, 1900–2000. Barbara O’Connor. Cork University Press; 192pp + 8pp of photos; hb; 23cm; 978-1-78205-041-4.

O’Connor was a senior lecturer in the School of Communications, Dublin City University, and has written extensively on various aspects of Irish popular culture. She brings a sociological/social anthropological perspective to this study of Irish dancing. It is not about the dances, steps or music but rather an examination and discussion of the place of Irish dancing in society. Her eight chapters engage with such issues as dancing and national identity, the role of church and state, and Irish dancing and the diaspora. She considers also the effect of Riverdance on perceptions and participation, while the final chapter considers the wider issues of the survival of traditional dancing in the face of competition from other music forms and its likely future in Ireland.
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430802_CarvilleVisualizing Dublin: visual culture, modernity and the representation of urban space. Justin Carville (ed.). Peter Lang; 326pp; €56.20 pb; 22cm; 978-3-0343-0802-1.

Volume 48 in the ‘Reimagining Ireland’ series, this collection grew out of an awareness of the increasing number of works analysing Dublin in the social sciences and humanities. The contributors are academics in social science and arts disciplines and they engage with the issues of the intersection of the city with cultural politics and the role of the visual projection of Dublin in Ireland’s cultural identity. Specifically the essays are divided thematically into three sections looking at ‘architecture, identity and place’, ‘modernity, cinema, cityscape’ and ‘art, politics, imaginative geographics’. The book’s aim is to better understand the role of representations of Dublin in modern Irish culture and identity and to initiate debate on this.
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o'malley and patten_Ireland, West to East: Irish cultural connections with central and eastern Europe. Aidan O’Malley and Eve Patton (eds). Peter Lang; 307pp; €55.60 pb; 23cm; 978-3-0343-0913-4.

One might almost believe in morphic resonance, given the number of recent books examining Irish culture vis-à-vis central and eastern Europe. Volume 52 in the ‘Reimagining Ireland’ series, this one considers it timely to explore this aspect of Irish culture in view of the number of central and eastern Europeans who have settled in Ireland in recent times. The sixteen contributors come from universities across Ireland and Europe. They consider the cultural issues under five headings: ‘Historical episodes’, ‘Poetic encounters’, ‘Joyce and Beckett at home and abroad’, ‘Debating Hubert Butler’ and ‘Fiction and migration’. While no overarching conclusions are drawn, the essays illustrate the length, depth and diversity of the cultural interaction between Ireland and countries like Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia over the centuries.
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Education

fogarty, nidhuibhne, walshe_201401091724Imagination in the Classroom: teaching and learning creative writing in Ireland.
Anne Fogarty, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne and Eibhear Walshe (eds).
Four Courts Press; 150pp; €45 hb; 23cm; 978-1-84682-413-5.

Creative writing, while still seen as unconventional, is firmly established on the Irish educational scene. This book explores the process and the issues around it. The contributors include well-established writers such as Roddy Doyle and Carlo Gébler, who draw on their own experiences in the classroom. The topics touched on include not only the different kinds of creative writing, such as poetry, drama and fiction, but also the basic requisites needed for such activity, like literacy, verbal imagination and intelligence. The educational infrastructure for such teaching is well established, as it is not enough just to be a writer; one must also be qualified in teaching it, and postgraduate courses in teaching creative writing are now available in many of our universities and colleges.
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Why Send Your Child cover frontWhy Send Your Child to a Catholic School? Maura Hyland (ed.). Veritas; 139pp; €10.99/£9.35 pb; 21cm; 978-1-84730-520-6.

The increasing multiculturalism of Irish society and proposals to remove the Catholic Church from its dominant position in education have inevitably provoked a response from the church and its supporters. This book brings together clergy, educators and lay people, such as Baroness O’Loan, former Northern Ireland police ombudsman, to argue on behalf of Catholic education and extol its virtues. The six chapters focus on the particular benefits or virtues in ensuring that your child receives a Catholic education. They discuss he Catholic ethos, what a Catholic school has to offer, and reflect personal experiences of the Catholic education system. It is aimed at Catholic parents considering what is best for their child’s schooling.
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Fashion

o'kelly_201402111541Cleo: Irish clothes in a wider world. Hilary O’Kelly. Associated Editions; 120pp; €20 pb; flapped; 27cm; 978-1-906429-21-8.

This book celebrates over 80 years in the clothing business by Cleo. O’Kelly is a lecturer in dress and design history at the National College of Art and Design and she spoke to many people associated with Cleo, as well as using the company’s records in writing this book. It is an attractive production, illustrated with photographs of the fashion promoted by the company as well as patterns, advertisements and so on. Cleo is successful overseas, as people in mainland Europe, America and even Japan want to be seen in the distinctly Irish wool and tweed garments in which the company specialises. O’Kelly identifies the ethos underlying the company, recounts key moments in its development and focuses on the people involved with Cleo over the decades.
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Guide

murphy&o'dea_20140219131420 Things to Do in Dublin Before You Go for a Feckin’ Pint. Colin Murphy and Donal O’Dea. O’Brien Press; 205pp; €9.99/£8.99 pb; flapped; 17cm; 978-1-84717-634-9.

O’Brien Press continues its tongue-in-cheek series of guides with what appears to be an alternative to going on a pub-crawl. There are thirteen other books in the ‘feckin’ series, covering everything from Irish slang to Irish sex. Complete with a map, the book highlights Dublin’s top twenty attractions. These are all the standard things, like the National Museum, the Guinness Storehouse and so on. Written in ‘Dublinese’ (there is a glossary at the back), the text is fairly accurate and contains some unlikely facts, like the connection between TCD’s Long Room and Star Wars, all illustrated with photographs and sketches. Lest we take the authors seriously in trying to steer tourists away from pints, the final section is about their 21 favourite pubs in the city.
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history

duggan_201312161254An Account of the Courts of Prussia and Hanover. John Toland, ed. J.N. Duggan. Manuscript Publisher; 85pp; €9.99; pb; 20cm; 978-0-9576729-1-8.

Toland, an Irish figure who deserves to be better known, is regarded by some as a father of the Enlightenment. Duggan is keeping the flame alive and this book follows his re-publication of Toland’s Reasons for Naturalising the Jews of Great Britain and Ireland. This account of his travels in two then relatively minor royal courts of Europe is of interest to the historian. Toland travelled there in 1701 in Lord Macclesfield’s delegation to deliver the Act of Settlement to the Electress Sophia of Hanover, confirming her Protestant descendants as heirs to the British throne. It is a lively and engaging account of these courts. Duggan, a Toland expert, provides a foreword and notes on the text.
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SIMMS_201312191807Gaelic Ireland (c. 600–c. 1700): politics, culture and landscapes. Studies for the ‘Irish Chiefs’ prize. Katherine Simms (ed.). Wordwell; 158pp; €25; pb; 23cm; 978-1-905569-79-3.

For four years now the Standing Council of Chiefs and Chieftains has sponsored an annual essay-writing competition on Gaelic Ireland. The prize-winning essays were published in an amended form in History Ireland. This book brings the four prize-winning entries together with a selection of the runners-up. The sixteen essays are divided into three themes: ‘political and social history’, ‘culture and learning’, and ‘place-names, inauguration sites, battle sites’. The variety of topics under these headings is wide in range, covering subjects such as Tigernán Ua Ruairc and the Book of Kells, the medical judgements of the Brehon law, and the 1522 battle of Knockavoe.
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hopkins_201312161308Ireland 366: a story a day from Ireland’s hidden history. Frank Hopkins. New Island; 326pp; €19.99 hb; 21cm; 978-1-84840-293-5.

This book will be welcomed by journalists and anyone who has to write an ‘it happened on this day’ column. Such anniversaries always make useful copy. For the ordinary reader, too, this book will have its attractions. It reveals hidden aspects of Irish history and provides material for the game of finding out what historic event coincides with a birthday, wedding day and so on. Hopkins is a journalist who specialises in Dublin history, having written two books about it. He enterprisingly finds a historical event for every day of the year, including 29 February. The sort of things he uncovers are hangings, feats of strength and endurance, scandals and so on.
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mcdonnell_201312161259Ireland’s Other History. Hector McDonnell. Lilliput Press; 214pp; €15 pb; flapped; 23cm; 978-1-84351-612-5.

This book came out last year and received a favourable review in this magazine. The title refers not to some secret history of Ireland but rather to the influences which different people have had on the island. MacDonnell looks beyond warfare and conquest and considers how ideas, art and architecture have all been influenced by Christianity, the Vikings, the Normans and the various other people who settled here. He argues, too, that Irish culture has also been changed by natural events and influences from places like the Middle East and Italy. A positive, optimistic view of Ireland’s past which also has hope and optimism for the future. MacDonnell is well known as an artist and provides the drawings that illustrate his book.
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kelly&doherty_201312161246Music and the Stars: mathematics in medieval Ireland. Mary Kelly and Charles Doherty (eds). Four Courts Press; 269pp + 16pp of photos; €50 hb; 23cm; 978-1-84682-392-3.

People do not normally associate medieval Ireland with mathematics but, as this book shows, they would be wrong. Produced under the auspices of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, it brings together scholars from Ireland, Britain and America to throw light on the importance of Ireland in developing maths, and indeed science in general, in Europe. Beautifully illustrated with images of manuscripts and diagrams, it brings attention to bear on such topics as scientific speculation in seventh-century Ireland, how maths influenced art, and the medieval medical and astronomical resources in the RSAI’s library. The authors show not only that maths was thriving in Irish monasteries but also that the Irish were pioneers in that field and other branches of science.
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duffy & foran_201312161301The English Isles: cultural transmission and political conflict in Britain and Ireland, 1100–1500. Seán Duffy and Susan Foran (eds). Four Courts Press; 184pp; €55 hb; 23cm; 978-1-84682-223-0.

Those who bristle at the term British Isles are likely to have a fit at the title of this book. We suspect that the editors are being deliberately provocative. Whatever about the title, this is a good collection of papers on different aspects of the medieval history of these islands. They were originally delivered at a conference of TCD’s centre for Irish-Scottish and comparative studies in 2007. Mostly written from an Irish or Scottish perspective, they tend to look at England as a noisy bullying neighbour. More seriously, they examine how these countries suffered in England’s first attempt at empire-building. The subjects covered include the Normans in eleventh- and twelfth-century Ireland, Scotland and the monarchy of Britain, and Anglicisation in medieval Ireland.
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dwyer_201312161307Witches, Spies and Stockholm Syndrome. Finbar Dwyer. New Island; 232pp + 8pp of photos; €19.99 hb; 21cm; 978-1-84840-284-3.

New Island continues to make history accessible to the ordinary reader with this book and its eye-catching title. Dwyer is a historian and archaeologist who produces the blog irishhistorypodcast.ie. He sidesteps the usual approach to history and attempts to recreate the lives of ordinary people. This is no easy task but he uses what sources are available to paint a picture of everyday life, including violence, famine, mob rule, fires and much else. The Stockholm syndrome concerns an English knight held captive by the Irish in the Wicklow mountains in the fourteenth century. Although major events and some big players do get a mention, this is nevertheless an entertaining and enlightening view of life for ordinary people in medieval Ireland.
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Hitler's Irish voicesHitler’s Irish Voices: the story of German radio’s wartime Irish services. David O’Donoghue. Somerville Press; 256pp + 32pp of photos; €14.99/£12.99 pb; flapped; 23cm; 978-0-9927364-0-8.

This book was published some years ago and was reviewed in Books Ireland then. Since then, O’Donoghue has continued to research the subject and has found new people to interview to help give an even more in-depth and rounded picture of the Nazis’ Irish radio service and those who worked for it. The Germans behind the service, Mühlhausen and Hartmann, were both Irish-language scholars, while the Irish were a mixture of idealists, opportunists and fanatics. O’Donoghue devotes sufficient space to each protagonist, outlining their role and motivation for helping broadcast German propaganda to Ireland. Each story would be worthy of a documentary or even a feature film in itself, as O’Donoghue sheds light on a murkier aspect of the Irish experience in World War II.
B I * U 3

bhreathnach_201402251156_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffIreland in the Medieval World: landscape, kingship and religion. Edel Bhreathnach. Four Courts Press; 307pp + 8pp of photos; €50 hb; 23cm; 978-1-84682-342-8.

Bhreathnach, who is chief executive officer of the Discovery Programme, specialises in medieval Irish history. She has already published widely in this area but this is a comprehensive history and analysis of Ireland in this era that is aimed at both the student and the interested reader. The book is divided thematically. The first part looks at the landscape, the second deals with kingdoms, kings and people, while the final part is concerned with religion, ritual and ritualists. She relies on archaeological evidence, written sources and earlier scholarship to piece together this three-dimensional picture of Ireland from the earliest historical period to the incursion of the Vikings on Gaelic society. This is a handsomely produced volume with attractive monochrome and colour images.
B I * G 3

duffy_201401291301_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffMedieval Dublin XIII: proceedings of the Friends of Medieval Dublin symposium 2011. Seán Duffy (ed.). Four Courts Press; 332pp; €50 hb; 23cm; 978-1-84682-389-3.

This record of the 2011 Medieval Dublin symposium is dedicated to the memory of the late James Lydon, the respected medieval historian. This is the thirteenth such event to be hosted by Trinity College and it illustrates the amount of history and archaeology that can still be uncovered in the city. The fourteen contributors discuss different aspects of Dublin in the Middle Ages from different perspectives. Relations with the Gaelic Irish, the role of the church, governance and politics are some of the areas touched on in the essays. For the year that is in it, the essay by Lenore Fischer on how Dublin remembered the Battle of Clontarf is particularly interesting. Many of the essays are illustrated with photographs, maps and diagrams.
* U 3

rees_201403051341_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffSurplus People: from Wicklow to Canada. Jim Rees. Collins Press; 166pp; €12.99/£11.99 pb; 20cm; 978-84889-204-0.

The role of the Canadian island of Grosse Île in Irish emigration was highlighted when President McAleese visited it some years ago, but the full story is not widely known. Rees is a historian who lives in Wicklow and he tells the story of the enforced migration of about 6,000 people from Lord Fitzwilliam’s Coolattin estate between 1847 and 1856. In particular, he looks at those who left on the Dunbrody and the many who ended their days on the infamous Grosse Île. This is not a two-dimensional account, however, as Rees explains Fitzwilliam’s motivation and the good that he also did. He tells, too, the human story of those involved, their experiences on the voyage and what happened to them in Canada.
B I * G 3

history, comparative

431701_Power-PilnyIreland and the Czech Lands: contacts and comparisons in history and culture. Gerald Power and Ondřej Pilný (eds). Peter Lang; 243pp; €53.50 pb; 22cm; 978-3-0343-1701-6.

Volume 49 in the ‘Reimagining Ireland’ series, this takes an interesting approach to Irish history and culture. It is the first comprehensive study of the relations, contrasts and similarities between the two countries. Although one is an island and the other a land-locked territory, they have a lot in common in religious and political history, imperial domination, changing borders and so on. These essays highlight the complexities of those histories and how even finding acceptable terms can be a problem. Both ‘Irish’ and ‘Czech’ are designations whose meaning and assignation have been disputed in the past and are still so to some extent. The essays touch on a range of issues, from Irish émigré families in the Czech lands to Irish intellectuals and independent Czechoslovakia.
I U 3

Nation Nazione jpeg_001Nation–Nazione: Irish nationalism and the Italian Risorgimento. Colin Barr, Michele Finelli and Anne O’Connor (eds). UCD Press; 255pp; €50 hb; 23cm; 978-1-906359-59-1.

Irish and Italian nationalism always had an ambivalent relationship in the nineteenth century. While most Irish nationalists supported the idea of Italian unity, the Italians did not always reciprocate because of British support for them. Moreover, the fact that the cause of unity was at loggerheads with papal policy meant that many Irish actively opposed the idea. All these themes and more are explored in this very interesting book, which brings together academics from the two countries to discuss and compare their intertwined histories. Essays touch on topics such as Mazzini and O’Connell, the Irish papal brigade, Irish attitudes towards the Risorgimento and so on. The final section of the book may be the most intriguing, as it discusses the role of women in the respective national movements.
I i U 3

history, institutional

churchofireland_201312131336(1)The Church of Ireland: an illustrated history. Claude Costecalde and Brian Walker (eds). Booklink; 400pp; €35; hb; 27cm; 978-1-906886-56-1.

This is a beautiful, substantial book that provides a detailed but accessible history of the Church of Ireland. The editors have brought together historians and clerics to write a collection of articles on each diocese in the church’s two provinces, Armagh and Dublin, with specific essays on the Belfast cathedral and St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin. There are also essays on topics such as the church’s archives, the Irish language, charitable work and so on. Taken together, the essays provide a history of the church from its origins in St Patrick, through the Reformation, disestablishment and so on to today. The book is richly illustrated with photographs of all the churches and many of the people, clergy and laity, in the Church of Ireland.
I i G 3

pilcher_201402191707_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffTrinity Hall 1908–2008: Trinity College Dublin residence. Rosa Pilcher. Hinds (www.hinds.ie); 112pp; €55 hb; 23cm; 978-0-9528236-8-1.

Pilcher obtained her primary degree at Exeter University and was introduced to the women’s residence at TCD when she came here in 2008. Conveniently, she researched its history for her MSc. thesis in the Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies in the university. The finished work was edited by Susan M. Parkes, who has also written a history of women in TCD. The book is a straightforward history of the residence since its foundation, taking in key events, personalities and so on. As it moved towards the 21st century, the residence became mixed and this altered its character considerably. Pilcher illustrates the book with photographs of the residents and staff over the decades, which in their own way also tell the story of this institution.
B I ** U 3

history, legal

larkin & dawson_201312161303Lawyers, the Law and History. Felix M. Larkin and N.M. Dawson (eds). Four Courts Press; 342pp + 16pp of photos; €55 hb; 23cm; 978-1-84682-244-5.

This is the 22nd in a series of legal histories published under the auspices of the Irish Legal History Society. Other titles have been more narrowly focused but this one takes a more general approach. Most of the contributions began as lectures or discussions at the society’s meetings. They are divided into two sections: ‘lawyers in history’ and ‘the law and history’. The first includes such topics as the early judiciary in Northern Ireland and the law in Bloomsday Dublin. The second part looks at sheriffs in Victorian Ireland, the 1937 constitution, judicial dress and so on. While this may be viewed as a book written by lawyers for lawyers, the general reader will find it interesting too.

history, local

timoney_NEW.tiffDedicated to Sligo: thirty-four essays on Sligo’s past. Martin A. Timoney (ed.). Publishing Sligo’s Past; 304pp; €40 hb, €25 pb; 30cm; 978-0-957547-1-9.

This handsome, lavishly illustrated book does exactly what the title says and contains essays on the county’s history through the ages. County pride is a characteristic feature of Ireland and it manifests itself in many ways, quite often in books such as this. Timoney did not just edit this volume but was instrumental in getting the essays from the contributors. The 34 essays cover the archaeological, political, social and cultural history of Sligo. Most of the essays concentrate on specific subjects, like the Keash caves or the O’Connor Sligo memorial, meaning that while this does not constitute a comprehensive history of the county, it does afford valuable insights into numerous aspects of it.
i i G 3

lacey_201312131114(2)Medieval and Monastic Derry: sixth century to 1600. Brian Lacey. Four Courts Press; 176pp; €24.95 hb; 23cm; 978-1-84682-383-1.

Published to complement Derry’s year as the UK City of Culture, this book looks at the city’s ancient origins and pre-plantation history. As well as being a leading archaeologist, Lacey was for many years curator of the city’s museum, during which time he also wrote the official history. He sets the legendary founding of the monastic settlement by Colmcille in the historical context of north-west Ireland at that time. Using archaeological and historical evidence, he presents us with the first comprehensive account of the monastery and the early urban settlement up to the end of the medieval period. In doing so he separates fact from fiction but establishes a no less interesting narrative, while at the same time giving due regard to myth.
B I i U 3

Culleton_201401021357_0001On Our Own Ground: County Wexford parish by parish. Vol. 1. Edward Culleton. Wexford County Council Public Library Services; 296pp; €35; hb; 30cm; 978-0-9565221-5-3.

A scientist by background, Culleton has had a long-standing interest in the history of his native county and has already written three books on Wexford. This ambitious and elaborate book, supported by the county library service, is only the first of three. Culleton has chosen the Catholic parishes as the basis of his study, acknowledging their dominance over the civil parish in the everyday lives of people. Where parishes cross county boundaries, he has dealt with only that portion within Wexford. Each parish is given a general introduction, with specific details on its townlands, archaeology, history and wildlife. All this is beautifully illustrated with colour photographs and maps.
B I i i G 3

Castlebridge_201401031457_0001The Bridge: Castlebridge Magazine No. 31. Fr Walter Forde. Bridge Magazine; 611pp;€10; pb; 30cm; ISSN 16494849.

Included here because it only comes out once a year, the publication is an example of local pride and initiative in action. Now in its 31st year, The Bridge is not only sold locally but also sent to the Castlebridge diaspora worldwide. Indeed, some of the emigrants from this Wexford village feature in the magazine, alongside a diverse collection of articles on local news and events, notable people, items of local history, and sports and community associations. There is a generous distribution of photographs throughout and I suspect that most locals get a mention.
i i G 3

Filed of Glory cover.tiffThat Field of Glory: the story of Clontarf from battleground to garden suburb. Colm Lennon. Wordwell; 314pp; €40 hb; 978-1-905569-81-6.

This book, the product of years of research, tells the story of Clontarf, from 1014 and the legend of Brian Boru. The succeeding ages saw the growth of Clontarf as a manor and fishing port under the ownership of a number of proprietors, from crusading knights to gentry landlords. In order to understand the character of the district in the present day, with its distinctive atmosphere and architecture, for example, it is necessary to trace its evolution through these various stages, from medieval manor through early modern estate to modern suburb. These latter phases were under the auspices of the Vernons, who lasted 300 years as lords of Clontarf. An excellent local history with a national perspective.
i * B G 3

lane_201402261601_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffA Millstreet Miscellany (9). Jack Lane (ed.). Aubane Historical Society; 27pp; €10 pb; 30cm; 978-1-9034-9.

The ever-active Aubane Historical Society continues to produce its miscellany of information and snippets about the County Cork town of Millstreet. The production qualities may not be the best (old-fashioned desktop publishing) but the content continues to interest and amuse. It is divided into seven parts, which include a section on the reports of visitors to the town in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, historical documents relating to the barracks and, in the year that is in it, an extract from Geoffrey Keating’s history on the death of Brian Boru’s brother. Some, however, may find the most interesting part to be the exchange of letters between cousins regarding Jim O’Brien’s memoir, Willowbrook, a flawed Eden (reviewed here in the December 2013 issue).
** G X

10.Wicklow Gardens 28Mar.tiffWicklow Through the Artist’s Eye: an exploration of Wicklow’s demesnes and gardens, c. 1660–c. 1960. Patricia Butler and Mary Davies. Wordwell; 366pp; €40 hb; 978-1-905569-82-3.

his beautifully illustrated book explores Wicklow’s important demesnes and gardens from the viewpoints of the artists who painted them and the travellers who left detailed descriptions. The artists’ paintings included here range from major works in oil and watercolour to rapid sketches. The work of notable professional Irish painters appears alongside that of keen, competent amateurs; photographers have also been given their due place. More than twenty demesnes and gardens are featured, including the best known, such as Killruddery and Powerscourt; those that have disappeared, like Bellevue and Blessington; and lesser-known ones, such as Castle Howard, Glenart and Hollybrook.
* I G 3

history, maritime

hutchison_201312131154(2)Beware the Coast of Ireland. Sam Hutchison. Wordwell; 114pp; €19; pb; 25cm; 978-1-905569-77-9.

Ireland’s rich maritime history has its tragic aspect. Dangers posed to ships around the coast have not diminished, and even today ships can go down with lives lost. Hutchison scans that history with this study, which concentrates on eleven shipwrecks. Some, like the Spanish Armada, the Lusitania and the Leinster, are well known; others, like the Rochdale and the Port Yarrock, are not. As the Lusitania illustrates, the treacherous coast and bad weather were not the only reasons why ships sank. Hutchison looks at each case in turn, outlining the course of events, uncovering the human story and listing the casualties. He also acknowledges the honourable tradition of sea and air rescue in Ireland’s often-dangerous waters.
B i G 3

history, religious

nugent_201312161303‘Were You at the Rock?’: the history of Mass rocks in Ireland. Tony Nugent. Liffey Press; 271pp; €19.95 pb; 24cm; 978-1-908308-47-4.

There are numerous myths and misconceptions about the Mass rock and this book engages with many of them, as well as with historical reality. Mainly associated with the eighteenth-century penal era, such rocks were in use as early as the Cromwellian period, and some continued to be used even after Catholic emancipation in 1829. In the first section of the book Nugent delivers a history of Catholic persecution in Ireland, outlining the measures that Cromwell took to suppress the church, later penal legislation and other examples of anti-Catholic prejudice. The second part is an illustrated county-by-county gazetteer of known Mass rocks, with their histories and descriptions of any related stories or artefacts.
I i G 3

Journalism

delap_201402071237_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffScéal Scéil: rúndiamhra na meán. Breandán Delap (ed.). Cois Life; 148pp; €15 pb; flapped; 21cm; 978-1-907494-39-0.

Táimid uile ag feidhmiú faoi scáth na meán cumarsáide ach is beag eolas atá againn i ndáiríre faoi cén chaoi a bhfeidhmíonn siad. Sa leabhar seo nochtann iriseoirí aitheanta, atá in ard maitheasa faoi láthair, a gcuid rún faoi na modhanna oibre a chleachtann siad chun scéalta a aimsiú agus a sheachadadh. Gheobhaidh an léitheoir spléachadh, ní hamháin ar ealaín na ceirde, ach ar an gcleasaíocht a bhíonn ar bun i seomraí nuachta na tíre. Tá idir mhagadh is dáiríre sa leabhar seo agus tarraingíonn na hiriseoirí ar thaithí fhairsing na mblianta le scéilíní agus le smaointe faoi chleachtadh na hiriseoireachta a roinnt linn.
** G 3

Literary Studies

o'briain&hynes_201401231631J.R.R. Tolkien: the forest and the city. Helen Conrad-O’Brien and Gerard Hynes (eds). Four Courts; 197pp; €60 hb; 23cm; 978-1-84682-429-6.

Considering that it was revealed last year that Ireland had some influence in inspiring The Lord of the Rings, in that its author felt that the country reeked of evil, one might think that Irish academics would give Tolkien the cold shoulder. On the other hand, he is an immensely influential figure and, thanks to the recent films, hugely popular. This book is a collection of papers delivered at a conference in Trinity College in 2012, when sixteen academics from Europe and America considered various aspects of Tolkien and his work. Topics covered include Goths and Romans in his imagination, the forest and the city, hobbits and the arts and crafts movement, and even the influence of the Spanish Civil War on aspects of his writing.
I i U 3

LiddyOn American Literature and Diasporas. James Liddy, ed. Eamonn Wall. Arlen House; 176pp; €15 pb; 21cm; 978-1-85132-044-8.

 

liddy_201401231630On Irish Literature and Identities. James Liddy, ed. Eamonn Wall. Arlen House; 192pp; €15 pb; 21cm; 978-1-85132-051-6.

The late James Liddy originally went to America in 1967 to take up a one-year professorship but remained there until his death in 2008. He is mainly associated with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he taught from 1976. Always recognised as an Irish writer, he is best known for his poetry. These two volumes reflect his academic interests and work. A collection of critical essays, they also contain personal reminiscences and observations. In the first, Liddy reflects on American literature and the Irish-American experience. In the second he roams among the Irish literati as he writes about the development of Irish literature and writers. Wall, professor of English and international studies at the University of Missouri-St Louis, has collected and edited the essays.
I i U 3

O'Driscoll_201401031455_0001_001The Outnumbered Poet: critical and autobiographical essays. Dennis O’Driscoll. Gallery Press; 472pp; €17.50 pb; 21cm; 978-1-85235-564-7.

O’Driscoll was one of Ireland’s most highly regarded poets and his death on Christmas Eve 2012 shocked many. Born in 1954 in Thurles, he worked for almost 40 years as a civil servant but also published nine collections of poetry. As this book shows, he was also an accomplished critic. The essays are divided into three sections. The first contains the autobiographical recollections, while the second is devoted to his writing on poets and their poetry. The third section is devoted to Seamus Heaney. O’Driscoll’s Stepping Stone: interviews with Seamus Heaney is seen by many as the standard work on that poet. This book, published to coincide with the first anniversary of his death, is by way of a tribute to O’Driscoll.
i U 3

fanning&garvin_201403071214_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffThe Books that Define Ireland. Bryan Fanning and Tom Garvin. Merrion; 280pp; €19.95 pb; 22cm; 978-1-908928-52-8.

The authors acknowledge in advance that their choice of books will not please everyone and they welcome discussion on those that should have gone into this volume. Indeed, at the launch Olivia O’Leary gently showed up the collection’s shortcomings. It is a question of how you define ‘define’. In one sense it can mean to provide a specific description but in another it can mean to shape or guide. The authors have chosen the former in their selection of 32 books from the seventeenth to the 21st century. Some are books that literally describe Ireland at a specific time; others capture the Zeitgeist. Whatever about the omission of certain books or authors, the virtual exclusion of the North does leave a big gap.
B I ** U 3

killeen_201402251157_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffBram Stoker: centenary essays. Jarlath Killeen (ed.). Four Courts Press; 206pp; €55 hb; 23cm; 978-1-84682-407-4.

The origins of this book lie in a conference held in Trinity College Dublin in July 2012 to mark the centenary of Stoker’s death, no doubt one of many overshadowed by bigger anniversaries. The eleven contributors come from Italy, America and Britain as well as Ireland, reflecting Stoker’s fame. A major theme of the book, however, is that this fame comes from Dracula to the detriment of his other work. The essays look at his other Gothic stories, such as The Lair of the White Worm, and assess their significance and influence on the writing of other authors. But Stoker the man is not forgotten, and his childhood and adult experiences are also discussed in the context of how they might have influenced his Gothic imagination.
I * U 3

barrington_201403061534_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffThe Dublin Review 54, Spring 2014. Brendan Barrington (ed.). Dublin Review Books; 104pp; €8.50 pb; 21cm; 978-0-9569925-8-1.

The spring issue of this review is full of an eclectic mix of authors and their stories, some personal, some reportage. The eight authors featured in this volume are Dominique Cleary, a solicitor working in conflict resolution; Rob Doyle, whose first novel is due out later in the year; Órfhlaith Foyle, a poet; Mark O’Connell, who writes regularly for Slate and The Millions; Chris Power, a short-story writer; David Ralph, who is based in UCC; Eimear Ryan, a novelist and short-story writer; and Ian Sansom, a librarian and novelist.
** U 3

jamie de pablos & pierse_201401161717_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffGeorge Moore and the Quirks of Human Nature. María Elena Jaime de Pablos and Mary Pierse (eds). Peter Lang; 28pp; €53.50 pb; 23cm; 978-3-0343-1752-8.

Number 51 of the ‘Reimagining Ireland’ series, the title of this collection of fourteen essays might strike some as quirky in itself, especially given that Moore was a serious writer whose work was often controversial. The contributors come from universities in Ireland, Britain, the United States, Italy and Spain, illustrating Moore’s international significance. He was a key figure in Irish writing for much of the period from the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth. The book is divided into four parts, which consider the influences on Moore; terror and the unconscious; paradox, parody and linguistic significance; and, finally, his treatment of women in his literature. The book concludes with a full bibliography of his published works.
B I U 3

smith_201401161715_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffJohn Banville: art and authenticity. Eoghan Smith. Peter Lang; 199pp; €48.20 pb; 23cm; 978-3-0343-0852-6.

This monograph is volume 50 in Peter Lang’s ‘Reimagining Ireland’ series. Smith is a lecturer in English at Carlow College. The purpose of this study of Banville is to consider the intersection between ideas of art and the pursuit of authenticity. Banville is undoubtedly an international commercial success but most regard him as being critically successful also in that he does more than tell a good story. Smith examines his novels in the context of culture, politics, ethics and philosophy, all things encompassed by this author’s writing. In the five chapters Smith considers some of the themes in Banville’s work and brings these into focus by reference to specific works such as The Newton Letter, The Book of Evidence and The Sea.
B I U 3

rankin_201402251157_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffLandgartha: a tragie-comedy by Henry Burnell. Deana Rankin (ed.). Four Courts Press; 164pp; €29.95 hb; 23cm; 978-1-84682-339-8.

This is the fourth volume in the ‘Literature of Early Modern Ireland’ series, published under the auspices of an editorial board made up of Irish academics. It concerns a play first performed in 1641 on St Patrick’s Day in Dublin’s then only theatre. It is a political allegory and a warning against trouble to come. The Landgartha of the title is a Norwegian Amazon who marries the king of Denmark in return for helping to expel Swedish invaders. In the play, the three Scandinavian kingdoms represent England, Scotland and Ireland. As Rankin explains in her introduction, Burnell was one of the Old English, descendants of the earliest English settlers, and his was the first play by an Irish-born playwright to be both staged and published in Dublin.
* U 3

longley_201402141224_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffYeats and Modern Poetry. Edna Longley. Cambridge University Press; 267pp; €21.67/£17.99 pb; 23cm; 978-1-107-62233-3.

Longley is professor emerita in the School of English, Queen’s University, Belfast, where she was on the staff for 39 years. She has written extensively on modern poetry, particularly Irish poetry. In this book she suggests a radical interpretation of Yeats and his relationship with modern poetry. She disputes the conventional categorisation of him with the likes of Pound and Eliot. While highlighting his differences from them, she emphasises his connections to other poets, such as Wilfred Owen, Auden and MacNeice. The five chapters in the book specifically examine his relationship to Ireland, his poetry and American modernism, the use of symbolism and the impact of war. Longley dedicates this study of Yeats to the late Michael Allen, a highly respected academic who died in 2011.
I U 3

management

kenny_201401161711_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffCan You Manage? Ivor Kenny. Oak Tree Press; 97pp; €15/£12.95 pb; 23cm; 978-1-78119-129-3.

Kenny was educated in Ireland, London, Paris and Harvard. He has written fourteen other books on different aspects of business and management. For twenty years he was director general of the Irish Management Institute. After his retirement from there in 1983, he became an academic and advised companies such as the Smurfit Group and the Kerry Group. This book was originally published in 2003, when most people were coping with managing with success, but in these times of austerity the basic principles hold true and the advice is still relevant. Kenny aims to distil 40 years’ experience of working with managers into short, straightforward lessons. He is not dogmatic in what he writes, however, but rather emphasises the importance of adapting systems and methods to different situations.
* U 3

marketing

tierney_201403031456_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffQuick Win Business Communication: answers to your top 100 business communications questions. Elizabeth P. Tierney. Oak Tree Press; 172pp; €14.95/£12.40 pb; 21cm; 978-1-78119-098-2.

 

hora_201403031456_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffQuick Win Public Relations: answers to your top 100 public relations questions. Kevin Hora. Oak Tree Press; 106pp; €14.95/£12.40 pb; 21cm; 978-1-78119-122-4.

 

hanlon_201403031457_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffQuick Win Social Media Marketing: answers to your top 100 social media marketing questions. Annmarie Hanlon. Oak Tree Press; 163pp; €14.95/£12.40 pb; 21cm; 978-1-78119-137-8.

The ‘Quick Win’ series is available in hard copy, in e-book format and as apps. All the books are quick guides for the businessman and student and deal with a variety of subjects concerned with business promotion and marketing. Oak Tree Press have hit on a winning formula by getting an expert, usually an academic, in some field of marketing to pose and answer 100 questions. The questions cover every aspect of the subject and the answers are straightforward and to the point. All the books are similar in layout and design, with the information arranged in boxes. The contents are clever in guiding the reader by themes as well as by topics.
* U 3

medicine

neilson & heffernan_201402031133_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffLiving with Asperger Syndrome and Autism in Ireland. Stuart Neilson and Diarmuid Heffernan. The authors; 248pp; €10.12 pb; 21cm; 978-1-49353-719-8.

Neilson was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at the age of 45, although he already had a successful academic career, mostly in the field of medical information systems. Heffernan is a social scientist who has worked for six years supporting adults on the autistic spectrum. The book is aimed at those who have been diagnosed with autism or suspect they may have it. The authors use their own experiences to discuss and explain all aspects of life for such a person. This ranges from planning activities, daily life and medical issues to recognising the syndrome, and the pros and cons of treatment. It must be said that the book could have been better laid out and designed. There is an overuse of underlining and a cramped feel to the sections.
* G 7

money

hayes_201312161244The Savvy Guide to Making More Money: nine simple steps to building your money-making muscle. Susan Hayes. Penguin Ireland; 345pp; €14.99/£12.99/CAN$18 pb; 23cm; 978-1-844-88328-8.

This follow-up to The Savvy Woman’s Guide to Financial Freedom would seem to be written on the assumption that readers successfully followed the author’s advice and now have some money to augment. Everyone in these straitened times is glad of advice on how to make more money, and Hayes in nine steps sets out how to make the most of your capital. These range from understanding what new income means to you to redirecting your efforts towards your goal. She gives advice on finding your market, turning dreams into practical steps and dealing with problems. The layout of the book is straightforward, with few gimmicks. She tells it like it is and it is up to you to follow her advice or not.
U 3

motherhood

allison_201401301355_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffMotherhood and Infertility in Ireland: understanding the presence of absence. Jill Allison. Cork University Press; 272pp; €39/£35 hb; 23cm; 978-1-78205-003-2.

This book may be regarded as partly social and partly cultural history as it discusses the changing significance of motherhood and its antithesis, infertility, in Ireland. It engages with how religious, medical and state institutions employ the meanings of nature and science in dealing with both. Allison uses actual case-studies in discussing the impact and consequences of infertility on both women and men. She examines changing attitudes in wider society to motherhood, infertility, the use of embryos and related issues as they affect Irish people today. Importantly, too, she asks questions of how women see themselves vis-à-vis these two states. Are they victims or agents? Do they benefit or lose out from changing social attitudes?

hall_201402141224_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffTowards a Shared Future: Ulster’s marching bands. Michael Hall (ed.). Island Pamphlets; 32pp; £2 pb; 21cm.

This is number 105 of the Island Pamphlets series, as Hall continues his work of promoting dialogue between those on the ground in the North’s working-class communities. The purpose of his workshops is not a debate in which one side wins but rather to provide a forum for discussion where greater understanding may emerge. Bands are usually associated with one side in the northern divide and are often seen as, if not the cause of trouble, then at least the occasion for it. The discussion on which this booklet is based was convened at the Confederation of Ulster Bands. Members discuss why they are in a band, what they believe their role is, the public perception of them and their reaction to it.
** G 3

music

ShieldsTunes of the Munster Pipers: Irish traditional music from the James Goodman manuscripts, Vol. Two. Hugh and Lisa Shields (eds). Irish Traditional Music Archive; 312pp; €25 hb; 30cm; 978-0-9532704-6-0.

art of the studies in traditional Irish music series, this is the second volume based on the Goodman archive. He was a nineteenth-century canon in the Church of Ireland, originally from Dingle, Co. Kerry, who was also professor of Irish at Trinity College Dublin. He collected about 2,300 tunes, which are now held by the college. Hugh and Lisa Shields are academics in their own right as well as being traditional musicians. The book consists of 536 song airs, dance tunes and other material from Munster. There are introductory essays on Goodman, his collection and the historical context, while the music itself is reproduced in sheet form.
I i i U 3

boullier_201402051153Handed Down: country fiddling and dancing in east and central Down. Nigel Boullier. Ulster Historical Foundation; 541pp; €29.99/£24.99 hb; 30cm; 978-1-908448-51-4.

This is a large and detailed book covering a relatively small area and a narrow musical focus. Boullier has lived and played music in east and central Down all his life and so appreciates the variety, depth and nuances of the fiddle-playing traditions there. His book is divided into three parts. The first discusses the origins of the music. The second focuses on particular musicians and their tunes, dividing the area into seven distinct districts. The final section concentrates on the dancing. In addition, there are appendices on older records of the music in this area, a bibliography and three separate indexes of fiddle-players, tunes and dances. Comes with photographs and sheet music of many of the tunes.
B I ** U 3

North

hennessey_201312161258Hunger Strike: Margaret Thatcher’s battle with the IRA. Thomas Hennessey. Irish Academic Press; 496pp; €20.65; pb; 23cm; 978-0-7165-3176-0.

Hennessey is a professor of history who has written extensively about the northern troubles. The IRA hunger strikes were always controversial. There were arguments about why the men went on strike, what deals may or may not have been offered and who won. None of those issues has gone away in the intervening decades. Hennessey looks at the episode from the perspective of Margaret Thatcher. He has been able to draw on newly released documents from the prime minister’s office to present a thorough and detailed account of the events almost day by day. He goes in some detail into the issue of deals offered, which has generated media attention. No one book will settle the matter, but this one does present important new insights.
B I i U 3

Novels

patterson_201312161253Bad Blood. Lorne Patterson. Wordsonthestreet; 116pp; €12 pb; 21cm; 978-1-907017-25-4.

Patterson, a psychiatric nurse, worked in many countries, including Britain, the USA and Russia, before returning to settle in County Longford. This is his second novel after Witch. He brings his knowledge of psychiatric nursing to this disturbing story set in a mental institution, which is not so much about mental illness as attitudes towards it and how society treats it. The ‘Professor’, the mysterious patient locked up in the high-security unit, is increasingly disturbed by what is being done to his fellow patients, from shock therapies to debilitating drug regimes. He finally decides that something must be done, and when he acts the hospital authorities realise that he is even crazier then they ever imagined. The bloody climax is not for the faint-hearted.
i G 3

corbett_201401091718This is the Way. Gavin Corbett. Fourth Estate; 239pp; £8.88 pb; 19cm; 978-0-00-747597-1.

This book was originally published in 2013, when it won the Kerry Group Irish novel of the year and was shortlisted for the Irish Novel of the Year. Corbett was born in the west of Ireland and raised in Dublin. His novel is set among the Traveller community and is told through the eyes of Anthony, son of a Sonaghan father and a Gillaroo mother. Raised away from his community, he is only dimly aware of his background until the blood feud between the Sonaghans and the Gillaroos forces him to flee to Dublin, where he learns to appreciate who he really is. This is a blood-and-guts tale of Traveller culture told in an idiom made to resemble Traveller speech as Anthony tells his story.
G 3

mckeon_201402131301_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffAll That is Solid Melts into Air. Darragh McKeon. Viking; 399pp; €14.99/£14.99 pb; 23cm; 978-0-670-92270-3.

Born and raised in Ireland, McKeon worked as a theatre director before he went to live in New York. His debut novel is concerned neither with Ireland nor New York but with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and the real and metaphorical fallout from that horrific accident when the nuclear power plant blew up. Told from the perspective of a piano prodigy, a factory worker, a surgeon and so on, it recounts the events of that day and how it changes their lives forever. Although 1986 does not yet count as history for some people, McKeon brings the qualities of a historical epic to this novel but does not lose touch with the personal intimate detail of the lives of the people around whom he constructs his story.
G 3

o'muirthile_201402071234_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffAn Colm Bán: la blanche colombe. Liam Ó Muirthile. Cois Life; 271pp; €14 pb; 21cm; 978-1-907494-33-8.

Ta an scéal Nora Buckley anseo. Searbhóntas as iarthar Chorcaí, a théann ag rince ar staitse na Folies Bergère i bPáras sna blianta tar éis an Chéad Chogáidh Mhóir, agus ina theannta sin, údar ar thóir scéal Nóra i bPáras na haimsire seo. Scuabann scéal Nora chun cinn óna hóige ar fheirm bheag, go dtí tréimhse ar aimsir i dteach mór protastúnach, ar aghaidh go Londain in 1915, agus as sin go Páras in 1919. Ach tá an saol ansin na haimsire seo fite trína scéal chomh maith, agus tugtar dúshlán na scéalaíochta féin san insint a théann ingleic leis an uafás lárnach in stair na hEorpa san fhichiú haois.
** G 3

kane_201404081220.tiffHannibal: clouds of war. Ben Kane. Preface; 446pp; €16.24/£12.99 pb; 23cm; 978-1-848-09409-3.

Kane was born in Kenya and raised partly there and partly in Ireland. He studied medicine at UCD but his real passion was ancient history and he travelled extensively, exploring the ancient world. After that he became a writer and he has already written seven novels set in the Roman world: three on the legions, two on Spartacus and two on Hannibal. His latest carries on the story of Hannibal and his conflict with Rome in the third century BC. Unlike many historical novelists, Kane takes the history seriously and is as accurate as can be. He includes maps of the theatres of war and a glossary of ancient terms. But make no mistake, this is still a gripping story of adventure and passion as empires collide.
G 3

ryan_201402141209_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffIT Can Be Dangerous. Ita Ryan. PPP Publications; 28pp; €10.99 pb; 20cm; 978-0-9562403-5-4.

This is a debut novel from an author with a background in IT. Ryan worked in London for several years before returning home to Kerry, where she took up writing. She teaches a creative writing course and has been broadcast on RTÉ. The novel is a humorous murder story, as Cynthia, a lowly techie in a big company, stumbles on the dead body of manager Nathan Boyle. Soon she is the number one suspect and the only way to prove her innocence is to catch the real killer. Ryan is at home in the hi-tech world and the dialogue flows as Cynthia uncovers secrets and follows red herrings on her way to unmasking the real killer. Fans can follow Ryan on Twitter.
** G 3

black_201404081219.tiffThe Black-Eyed Blonde. Benjamin Black. Mantle; 299pp; €17.99/£16.99 hb; 21cm; 978-1-4472-3668-9.

Attempting to carry on the work of a dead author can be daunting. The options are to try to be faithful to the original; to produce a pastiche in homage; or to bring the story bang up to date. John Banville, assuming his Benjamin Black persona, was asked by the Chandler estate to write this Philip Marlowe novel. The title is one that Raymond Chandler had in mind but never used. Like the original author, Black is a literary novelist who can turn his pen to the hard-boiled, as he has shown in his Quirke novels. He has opted to remain true to the original novels, although he has picked up where Chandler left off and we have an older, more vulnerable Marlowe who is no longer so tough.
G 3

hogan_201404081234_0001The Leaves on Grey. Desmond Hogan. Lilliput Press; 123pp; €9.99 pb; 21cm; 978-1-84351-620-0.

Lilliput continues its retrospective series with this novel, which was originally published in 1980. Hogan has contributed an afterword that allows him to reflect on his earlier work. He is the award-winning author of four other novels and a number of short-story collections. Editions Grasset & Fasquelle in Paris have acquired the right to all his works in translation and will publish them between 2015 and 2022. This novel is set in the 1940s and follows two boys, Seán and Liam, as they grow into manhood. Along the way the women in their lives are like signposts on their road to adulthood, but they are also strong catalysts for change as they grow older and their relationship with each other develops.
** G 3

barry_201404081218.tiffThe Temporary Gentleman. Sebastian Barry. Faber & Faber; 278pp; €17.49/£13.99 pb; flapped; 23cm; 978-1-908378-15-6.

Barry is one of the few Irish writers today to whom the term ‘man of letters’ may be accurately applied. He has written novels, numerous plays and even poetry. He has the distinction of being both popular and critically acclaimed. This novel is an exploration of what makes a man who he is. McNulty became temporarily a gentleman when commissioned an officer in World War II. As he looks back on his life, we are not struck by his heroism or virtues but rather by the fact that his is the life of an ordinary man who has participated in extraordinary things, including his marriage to the beautiful Mai Kirwan, the war, service with the UN and so on. Despite this, McNulty feels unfulfilled and haunted by his past.
G 3

lynch_201401301353_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffThe Woman Not the Name. Brian Lynch. Duras Press; 340pp; €10 pb; 23cm; 978-0-9568379-2-9.

Lynch is a poet, scriptwriter and novelist of some standing. He was elected to Aosdána in 1985 on the nomination of Samuel Beckett and Michael Hartnett, an indication of the esteem in which he was held. His novel is a darkly comic tale that reworks the myth of Orpheus for modern times. The main character, Will Ferris, is a songwriter and amateur boxer from Cork around whom gathers a cast of strange characters, some friends, some not. He has a dark past for which he is paying the price but has hopes of escaping it. The novel takes an unconventional twist towards the end, however, when a murder at a birthday party is followed by a transcript of the trial, complete with photographic evidence.

nugent_201402131300_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffUnravelling Oliver. Liz Nugent. Penguin Ireland; 238pp; €14.99/£12.99/CAN$23 pb; 23cm; 978-1-844-88309-7.

Nugent began her career working in the theatre, and more recently has written scripts for radio and television as well as short stories. Her debut novel is a disturbing dark tale. Oliver Ryan has everything—good looks, an attractive wife and a successful career. But his world comes tumbling down and his past catches up with him after a shocking incident when he brutally attacks Alice, his wife. As she lies in hospital in a coma, Oliver tells us his story and we see that he has been presenting a mask to the world. Oliver has deceived those around him and has ruthlessly done what it takes to get the life he wanted. All actions have consequences, however, and those consequences are about to catch up with him.
G 3

malone_201402261543_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffValley of the Peacock Angel. Martin Malone. New Island; 205pp; €14.99 pb; 21cm; 978-1-84840-230-0.

Malone is an award-winning author who has had five novels, a memoir and a short-story collection published. His experiences as a UN observer in northern Iraq influenced this novel. It is based on the infamous Halabja Massacre, a genocidal chemical attack on that Kurdish town by the Iraqi army on 16 March 1988, during the closing days of the Iran–Iraq War. Malone tells the story of that fateful day and its consequences from the perspectives of different people, such as the young shepherd Cotkar, whose family are wiped out in the attack. The novel is divided into three parts as the time and perspective changes. The title comes from the name of the valley in which Halabja is situated.
* G 3

Parenting

Baby's Book_Cover_okBaby’s Book of Firsts: reflections for baby’s first year. Donna P. Doherty. Veritas; 59pp; €7.99/£6.99 hb; 12cm; 978-1-847305-516-9.

Doherty is the mother of two children and has been commissioning editor with Veritas since 2004. She has a strong interest in theology and has recently completed an MA in pastoral leadership. This book is aimed at new parents and it marks the significant steps in a child’s first year of life, such as first bath, first word and of course first birthday. Doherty provides a poem to mark each of these events and, while not overtly religious, they do evoke the wonder of life and the minor miracles in a child’s growing up.
i i G 3

plays

o'flaherty_201401091711Darkness. Liam O’Flaherty. Arlen House; 152pp; €15 pb; 21cm; 978-1-85132-050-9.

O’Flaherty never fitted into the conventional image of either an Irish-language or an English-language writer. He was a rebel in every sense and his literary works, such as The Informer or Return of the Brute, were the opposite of the romantic or rose-tinted view of Ireland favoured at the time. His play Dorchadas was rejected by An Gúm for publication in 1926 and only received limited publication in its English-language version, Darkness. Arlen House republish it here with an extensive introductory essay by Brian Ó Conchubhair on O’Flaherty. This tale of two brothers on a Gaeltacht island competing for the same woman may have echoes of Synge in it but presents a bleaker picture of rural Ireland and the human condition.
B I i U 3

poetry

muldowney_201401021353Eoghan Ruadh Ó Súilleabháin: na hAislingí, vision poems. Pat Muldowney (trans.). Aubane Historical Society; 310pp; €27 pb; 21cm; 978-1-903497-79-1.

Among local history societies, the Aubane in County Cork must be the most prolific. Every year they produce a number of publications, all of them of local interest, some of national interest too. The eighteenth-century Munster poet Eoghan Ruadh Ó Súilleabháin was one of Ireland’s greatest. Like many poets of the period, he was often in conflict with the Catholic clergy but priests mourned his death in 1784. He excelled at the distinctly Irish form of vision poem and this is a timely reproduction of the 1901 edition of them. As well as the poems in their original Irish form, there are translations and a modern preface by Pat Muldowney, along with an essay on Ó Súilleabháin by Brendan Clifford.
I i U 3

cullen_201401091658In Between Angels and Animals. Emily Cullen. Arlen House; 96pp; €12 pb; 21cm; 978-1-85132-079-0.

Cullen is the arts manager of Farney Castle. She was the inaugural arts officer for NUI Galway and was in 2004 the national programme director of the Patrick Kavanagh centenary celebrations. She is also a harpist, having a doctorate in the study of that instrument, as well as being a qualified teacher of the harp. This is her second collection of poetry after No Vague Utopia from 2003. The poems reflect her own experiences and influences, such as the Irish language and music, and range across a variety of subjects, from personal reflections to love and loss. She uses her words wisely and sparingly, with none wasted as emotions, images and thoughts are conjured up.
i i U 3

rosenstock_201401091716Sasquatch. Gabriel Rosenstock. Arlen House; 144pp; €15 pb; 21cm; 978-1-85132-065-3.

Rosenstock is an acclaimed writer whose mastery of Irish and English in various genres, from plays to haiku, is internationally recognised. He is a member of Aosdána and has been awarded numerous prizes for his work. His latest collection of poetry, the fourteenth, is constructed around the sasquatch, the mythical north American beast also known as Big Foot. Rosenstock has himself been described as the last sasquatch and in these poems he explores the ideas of crossing borders and the extinction of species, as the sasquatch is not only watched but is watching the world around him. The poetry has layers of meaning dealing with culture and decline and as an extended metaphor of self-realisation. Each poem is in both Irish and English.
I i U 3

Rosenstock number 2Sioc Maiden: morning frost, haiku. Jack Kerouac, trans. Gabriel Rosenstock. Arlen House; 112pp; €12 pb; 21cm; 978-1-85132-083-7.

Kerouac is better known for his other forms of writing but some regard his haiku as his finest work. He was attracted to the simplicity and discipline of this traditional Japanese form. Given his own experience with the genre, it comes as no surprise that the award-winning poet Gabriel Rosenstock should be asked to translate Kerouac’s work into Irish. They are presented here with the English and the Irish versions side by side. The haiku themselves reflect Kerouac’s views on the world, his observations, experiences and changing moods. The Irish versions perfectly reflect Kerouac’s words and we even discover the Irish for chipmunk, among other things. Some previously uncollected Kerouac haiku are included, along with a poem dedicated to him by Rosenstock.
i U 3

johnston_201403061535_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffAlligator Days. Fred Johnston. Revival Press (www.limerickwriterscentre.com); 65pp; €12/£10 pb; 21cm; 978-0-9569092-7-5.

Belfast-born Johnston has been a key figure on the Irish cultural scene since 1972, when he won a Hennessy Literary Award for prose. Since then he has won many awards and prizes for his short stories, novels and poems. He is a founder of CÚIRT, Galway’s international literature festival, and more recently established Ionad Scríbhneoirí Chaitlín Maude, the Western Writers’ Centre, in 2002. His latest collection of poems contains some which have already appeared in publications such as The Spectator, The Irish Times and Atlanta Review. As his fans will know, these poems continue to challenge and even question what is meant by poetry. Johnston is edgy in the real sense of that word as he engages with encounters and experiences, love and loss.
* U 3

ramsell_201402071238_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffThe Architect’s Winter Dream. Billy Ramsell. Dedalus Press; 80pp; €12/£10/US$16 pb; 24cm; 978-1-906614-78-2.

This is Ramsell’s second collection of poetry after Complicated Pleasures in 2007. In 2013 he was awarded the Chair of Ireland bursary and he edits the Irish section of the Poetry International Website. He can name Harry Clifton (see below) among his admirers. He is very much a poet of today, as these poems are concerned with the hi-tech digital world in which we all live. Mobile phones, laptops and even cardiac support machines all feature in his poems. These machines can be liberating and enable connections and cross-referencing that was never imagin- ed before. Nevertheless, they also have their dark side and may confine us as well. Ramsell imagines a machine-dominated future that we can barely comprehend.
* U 3

jhaveri_201402261533_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffBriathar á Dhéanamh as Anáil: filíocht chomhaimseartha na Gúisearáitise. Dileep Jhaveri, Mícheál Ó hAodha and Gabriel Rosenstock (eds). 5 to 50 Books; 214pp; €7.24 pb; 20cm; 978-1-78237-477-0.

Following the blurb on the back of this book, we write in English. Rosenstock, one of Ireland’s outstanding poets, has many connections with Indian poetry and poets. In this volume he has brought together a collection of poems by Gujarati poets translated into Irish by a number of Irish poets. The original Gujarati collection was edited by an eminent poet of that region, Dileep Jhaveri. While at separate ends of the Eurasian land mass, Ireland has an Indo-European language and much in common with modern-day India. Rosenstock is an ardent campaigner against the insular mentality, particularly with regard to the Irish language, and this is part of his efforts to broaden Irish horizons and to bring the Irish language’s literature to a worldwide audience.
** U 3

lysaght_201402071240_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffCarnival Masks. Seán Lysaght. Gallery Press; 67pp; €11.95 pb; 21cm; 978-1-85235-586-9.

Lysaght is an award-winning poet who lectures at the Galway–Mayo Institute of Technology. He has written a biography of Robert Lloyd Praeger, the noted naturalist, and translated the epigrams of Goethe. This is his sixth collection of poetry, the first since The Mouth of a River in 2007. Many of the poems were originally published in journals and anthologies. Lysaght reflects the landscape and nature of County Mayo in many of the poems, but they range as far afield as the French Riviera. The carnival masks are evoked in a series of Venetian epigrams as he engages with the wider world and the erotic possibilities therein. The collection also includes translations from Goethe and Rilke. In Memory of My Father is written in both Irish and English.
* U 3

cliftonNEW_201404031556.tiff
The Holding Centre: selected poems. Harry Clifton. Bloodaxe Books; 143pp; €14/£12 pb; 23cm; 978-1-85224-971-7.

This is a selection of eight other collections by Clifton, the earliest being The Walls of Carthage from 1977. Best known for his poetry, he has also published short stories and held fellowships in universities in Germany, France, the USA and Australia, as well as teaching in Bremen, Bordeaux and Dublin universities. He held the chair of Irish poetry from 2010 to 2013. His poems reflect personal experiences in Ireland and abroad as well as events in the wider world. Alongside personal poems there are others that bring in civil war in Africa, the Khmer Rouge and the Berlin Wall. Clifton can deal with these big issues in an almost epic way but also in a post-modern manner that engages with myth and dreams alongside reality.
U 3

carpenter&collins_201404031602.tiffThe Irish Poet and the Natural World: an anthology of verse in English from the Tudors to the Romantics. Andrew Carpenter and Lucy Collins (eds). Cork University Press; 442pp; €39/£35 hb; 21cm; 978-1-78205-064-3.

Nature has long been a theme and a concern of poetry in Ireland in both the Gaelic and English traditions. This anthology is a compilation of the latter from the sixteenth to the early nineteenth century. The editors’ lengthy introduction explains the poets and their genres in the historical context and reflects current scholarship on the relationship between the poet and the environment. There are over 100 poems and, while many famous poets are included, such as Edmund Spenser and Oliver Goldsmith, the book’s strength is its comprehensive inclusion of many lesser-known poets. Nature proves to have a broad definition, taking in the wild environment, farming, hunting and so on. The poems also reflect the changing social attitudes to the environment over the centuries.
B I * U 3

rosenstock_201403261535.tiffMargadh na Míol in Valparaíso/The Flea Market in Valparaíso: new and selected poems. Gabriel Rosenstock (trans. Paddy Bushe). Cló Iar-Chonnacht; 441pp; €15 pb; 21cm; 978-1-90367-74-6.

Rosenstock is one of Ireland’s most prolific and gifted poets. His 170 books cover poetry, novels, plays and translations. Another poet, Cathal Ó Searcaigh, made this selection from Rosenstock’s published collections, which cover a time-span from 1973 to 2014. So it is not only comprehensive but also up to date. Ó Searcaigh provides an introductory essay, while the poems themselves are divided up chronologically by collection, each one being in both Irish and English. The full spectrum of Rosenstock’s work is here, from the more conventional poetic forms to his haiku. This volume reveals not just the substance of his output but also the range of subjects that interest him and the things that have influenced him as a poet over the decades.
I U 3

dorgan_201402051230_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffWhat We Found There: poets respond to the treasures of the National Museum of Ireland, Ard-Mhúsaem na hÉireann. Theo Dorgan (ed.). Dedalus Press; 98pp; €11.50/£10 pb; 20cm; 978-1-906614-86-7.

Forty poets were invited to visit the National Museum of Ireland and write a poem in response to their experience. The different branches of the museum—Kildare Street, Merrion Street, Collins Barracks and Turlough Park—were all included in the exercise. The contributions are in both Irish and English and include most of our well-known poets, such as Frank McGuinness, Gabriel Rosenstock and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin to name but three. The tone of the poems varies from the serious to the whimsical but each casts a familiar object in a new light. Dedicated to Pat Wallace, the former director, the book is small enough to fit into the pocket to take with you the next time you visit one of these institutions.
** G 3

groarke_201402071240_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffX. Vona Groarke. Gallery Press; 95pp; €11.95 pb; 21cm; 978-1-85235-576-0.

This is Groarke’s fifth collection of poetry with Gallery Press, along with her translation of Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill’s eighteenth-century poem, Lament for Art O’Leary. A member of Aosdána, she teaches in the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester. The letter X has many connotations in English, from the X-factor to X-rated. It also marks the spot, indicates a kiss and signifies the unknown. All these ideas are engaged with in this collection. The title poem is a meditation on the letter and its significance. There are two discrete sections within the collection—the garden sequence and the Hammershøi sequence, which is dedicated to the work of Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershøi. An intriguing and thought-provoking collection of poems.
* U 3

politics

butler_201403311311.tiffThe Appleman and the Poet. Hubert Butler. Lilliput Press; 270pp; €20 pb; 21cm; 978-1-84351-267-7.

Lilliput completes its series on the Butler essays with this fifth volume. Some of the essays here were only found after his death and so are published for the first time. Butler is best known today for his writing on Irish and international affairs, but he was also a journalist and historian who travelled widely before returning to settle in his native Kilkenny. The essays are divided into six themes, covering areas such as Russia in the 1930s, Ireland in the 1940s and 1950s, history and so on. They reveal his breadth of interest and understanding, as he deals with topics as diverse as Stalin, Soviet literature, pacifism in Ireland, unionism, the Irish provinces, his own life and family, Yugoslavia and Horace Plunkett.
* U 3

religion

Evangelii Gaudium Final CoverEvangelii Gaudium: the joy of the Gospel. Pope Francis. Veritas; 143pp; €4.99/£4.25 pb; 21cm; 978-1-84730-542-8.

 

Words of MercyNEWWords of Mercy and Joy. Pope Francis. Veritas; 64pp; €4.99/£4.25 pb; 16cm; 978-1-8470-5411-1.

The previous pope was often viewed as an intellectual whose writings, however worthy, were not for general consumption. Pope Francis, while no less intellectual, seeks to reach out to all levels of the church and that is reflected in these two books. The first seeks to draw attention to the Gospel and the significance of the messages therein, not just to the modern Catholic Church but also to society in general. The second draws on speeches and statements of the pope, conveying the joys of Christian life and the rewards of virtues like mercy and grace for the family, young people and others.
i i G 3

flanagan&thornton_201401231635_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffThe Bloomsbury Guide to Pastoral Care. Bernadette Flanagan and Sharon Thornton (eds). Bloomsbury; 236pp; £35 hb; 23cm; 978-1-4411-2517-0.

Flanagan is director of research at All Hallows College, Dublin City University, and Thornton teaches pastoral theology at Andover Newton Theological School, Boston, USA. This book is aimed at clergy, pastoral workers and those in the caring professions. It takes as its underlying themes the constant changes in this area, and the twenty contributors come from institutions in Europe and America. They discuss pastoral care, examining trends and themes in each region. The kind of topics engaged with include pastoral care and asylum-seekers, violence against women, care of the ageing and so on. The overall intent is to provide guidance and advice both in general and by reference to case-studies, so that this is not just a discussion but also a practical reference book.
B I U 3

Short stories

HenryHugging Thistles. Aideen Henry. Arlen House; 176pp; €15 pb; 21cm; 978-1-85132-047-9.

Henry writes plays and poetry as well as short stories. All have received recognition for their merit and although she has written many short stories this is her first collection. Six of the seventeen stories have been published in journals or anthologies already. Her tales of modern-day life are populated by lonely, damaged people who do not find much succour or comfort in their existence. Hugging thistles is an apt metaphor for what they experience. Each story explores the interior world of these troubled characters, who range from a woman who whispers her worst nightmare in the bail bond office to a man who mutilates himself in order to cut off the world. This is a world of nightmare, cruelty, uncontrollable emotions, desertion and betrayal.
i U 3

hickey_201312161238The House on Parkgate Street and Other Dublin Stories. Christine Dwyer Hickey. New Island; 208pp; €14.99 hb; 21cm; 978-1-84840-290-4.

Dwyer Hickey has published six novels, one of which, The Cold Eye of Heaven, won both Irish and international awards. Although she also writes short stories, which have appeared in magazines and anthologies throughout the world, this is her first collection in her own right. The ten stories are set in Dublin but range across the city and through time. They are not rosy pictures of dear old Dublin or its people but deal with the travails of life, with its unfairness and heartache. These are well-crafted stories written in a polished yet moving style.
i G 3

ni choileain_201402071236_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffSciorrann an tAm. Orna Ní Choileáin. Cois Life; 120pp; €9 pb; flapped; 21cm; 978-1-907494-38-3.

Is as Iarthar Chorcaí do mhuintir Orna Ní Choileáin. Tá duaiseanna sa phrós cruthaitheach, san fhilíocht, sa drámaíocht agus sa ghearrscéalaíocht gnóthaithe aici ag an Oireachtas agus ag féilte Gaelacha eile. Scríobhann sí i mBéarla freisin agus bronnadh duais náisiúnta An Post uirthi. Tá léirmheasanna scríofa aici don iris Feasta agus don nuachtán Saol chomh maith. Cnuasach nua gearrscéalta ó údar Canary Wharf, foilsithe 2009. Ní gnáthdomhan é seo, domhan Ní Choileáin. Maireann carachtair na scéalta seo sa chlapsholas idir dhá shaol agus uaireanta is priaclach an saol é sin. Tá deich sceal san chnuasach seo. Is scríbhneoir lánaimseartha í Ní Choileáin. Tá trí shaothar eile léi foilsithe ag Cois Life: Canary Wharf, Ailfí agus an Vaimpír, agus Vaimpir san Áiléar.
** G 3

travel

sealSeal san Aetóip: sa tóir ar áirc an Chonartha. Frank Reidy. Cló Iar-Chonnacht; 154pp; €12 pb; flapped; 20cm; 978-1-909367-70-8.

Sa leabhar seo leanann Reidy turas na háirce ó Iarúsailéim go dtí Aetóip. Cíorann sé stair agus seanchas na háirce agus tugann sé ar thuiscint nua ar an áirc, ar a stádas agus an tábhacht a bhainean léi san Aetóip. Tugtar léargas nua anseo ar thír nach mbíonn luaite léi go minic ach ocras, anró agus bás. Os a choinne sin léirítear gáire agus gliondar aois agus uaisleacht, creideamh agus cairdeas: taisteal, taiscéalaíocht agus tráchtaireacht curtha os ár gcomhair mar lón anama agus machcaimh.
i i G 3

younger readers

haughton_201402261535_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffAbabú, a Ghúgaí! Chris Haughton (trans. Gabriel Rosenstock). Walker Éireann; 32pp; £6.99 pb; 26cm; 978-1-4063-5450-8.

Le breis is 30 bliain anuas tá scoth na bpictiúrleabhar do pháistí curtha ar fáil ag Walker Books agus is Éireannaigh iad go leor de na daoine a scríobh nó a mhaisigh na leabhair sin. I gcomhar leis an aistritheoir agus scríbhneoir cáiliúil, Gabriel Rosenstock, agus le tacaíocht ó mhaoiniú rialtas na hÉireann trí Fhoras an Gaeilge, tá Walker Éireann tar éis an chuid is fearr de na leabhair sin a roghnú agus iad a chur ar fáil as an nua trí mheán na Gaeilge. Nuair a léitear os ard iad, cloisfear ceol ársa, ceol meallacach na Gaeilge. Cloisfidh na leanaí ceol na bhfocal agus bainfidh siad aoibhneas as an ealaín: fillfidh siad arís is arís eile ar dhomhan draíochtach seo na bpictiúrleabhar.
G 3

parkinson_201402141223_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffAlexandra. Siobhán Parkinson (illus. Carol Betera). Little Island; 45pp; £6.99 pb; 18cm; 978-1-908195-87-6.

This charming book of four stories about the everyday adventures of a little girl are written by Ireland’s first children’s laureate. Parkinson has written 23 books for younger readers and has been translated into twenty languages. The Alexandra stories were originally broadcast on RTÉ’s The Den, so they are meant to be read aloud. Although the back cover proudly proclaims that the book is published in ‘Dublin, UNESCO City of Literature’, the price is only in sterling. An Irish-language version is available, called Fionnuala.
* G 3

pierce_201402131259_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffCity of Fate. Nicola Pierce. O’Brien Press; 272pp; €7.99 pb; 19cm; 978-1-84717-337-9.

Pierce is from Dublin but now lives in Drogheda. Having ghost-written books for adults, she wrote her first novel, for younger readers, Spirit of the Titanic, in 2012 and it was a great success. Her second novel takes the reader to Russia during World War II. It tells the story of a Russian boy, Peter, and two teenagers, Yuri and Tanya, refugees after the Nazi invasion, and of Vlad, a teenage soldier who gets caught up in the battle for Stalingrad. Pierce based the story on actual events and people, and she pulls no punches in depicting the horror of war.
* G 3

ni ghlinn_201402071235_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffDaideo. Áine Ní Ghlinn. Cois Life; 75pp; €6 pb; flapped; 18cm; 978-1-907494-42-0.

Léachtóir, iriseoir agus scríbhneoir í Ní Ghlinn. Chaith sí roinnt blianta mar mhúinteoir meánscoile ach d’éirigh sí as le bheith ina hiriseoir le RTÉ agus Raidió na Gaeltachta. D’oibrigh sí ar chláir chúrsaí reatha agus irischláir. Chaith sí seal freisin ag plé le saor-iriseoireacht i Londain agus in Éirinn. Tá ceithre chnuasach filíochta agus ocht leabhar déag do dhéagóirí agus do léitheoirí óga scríofa aici. Tá ceithre leabhar léi do dhaoine óga foilsithe ag Cois Life: Tromluí, Madra Meabhrach, Fuadach agus Cuairteoir. Buachaill ar a theitheadh óna thuismitheoirí. Seanduine ar a theitheadh óna pháistí. Castar ar a chéile iad ar an traein go Baile átha Cliath. Éisteann siad le scéalta a chéile. Tuigeann siad a chéile. Cén toradh a bheidh ar an gcairdeas nua seo?
** G 3

MaroonedinManhattan-2Evie Brooks is Marooned in Manhattan. Sheila Agnew. O’Brien Press; 219pp; €7.99/£6.99 pb; 19cm; 978-1-84717-558-8.

Agnew was born in New York and grew up in Dublin. After graduating from UCD, she worked as a lawyer in London, Sydney and New York, and even got to more far-flung places like Accra and Cairo. On deciding to become a writer, she took a year out to travel in Asia, lived in Argentina and learned Spanish, and moved to Kerry to write this book. She now lives in New York. This promises to be the first in a series, as Evie, a young Irish girl, lives in New York with her Uncle. Like a wicked stepmother, his girlfriend Leela resents Evie and plots to get rid of her. It is only a matter of time before they clash. What will be the result?
* G 3

arrican_201402181222_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffMilo and the Long Lost Warriors. Mary Arrigan. O’Brien Press; 104pp; €1.50/£1 pb; 17cm; 978-1-84717-633-2.

This book has already received a lot of attention because it featured in Ireland’s involvement in World Book Day, 8 March 2014. The book and the event were well promoted and the day itself was a success. Hoping to catch readers while they are young, the book was available free with a World Book Day token and tied in to a ‘golden ticket’ competition. Milo returns with his ghostly friend, Mister Lewis, in another spooky adventure. Milo and Shane are on a school trip to a museum when Mister Lewis alerts Milo to three ghosts of warriors (Vikings, of course) from the Battle of Clontarf who are trapped there. Milo and his friends want to help the martial ghosts, but school bullies Crunch and Wedge are complicating things.
* G 3

siggins_201402141209_Page_1_Image_0001.tiffRugby Warrior. Gerard Siggins. O’Brien Press; 175pp; €7.99/£6.99 pb; 19cm; 978-1-84717-591-5.

Siggins continues the adventures of rugby-playing schoolboy Eoin Madden in this follow up to Rugby Spirit. While there is action on the field, Eoin, now captain of the Under-14s, has plenty to occupy him off it. Rory and Dylan fight it out to be the team’s scrum-half, and Eoin finds more than he bargained for when he researches the life of Dave Gallagher, the Irish-born captain of the first All Blacks. He finds that he is closer to Gallagher than he imagined and, what’s more, he is not the only one interested in him. It is an exciting season, as he tries to balance being captain with finishing a school project that brings mystery, intrigue and even danger.
* G 3

rosenstock_201402261534.tiffScéalta ó Oileán an Turtair: athinsint agus cóiriú nua ar scéalta traidsiúnta na bpobal dúchasach i Meiriceá. Gabriel Rosenstock (illus. Olivia Golden). Cló Mhaigh Eo; 94pp; €9 pb; flapped; 20cm; 978-1-899922-91-8.

Ainm eile ar Mheiriceá is ea oileán an turtair. Ar chuala tú faoin mbhuachaill a raibh cónaí air i measc an mbéar? Cén fáth a bhfuil súile móra ag an ulchabhán? Tá scéalta agus miotaia dá gcuid féin ag gach cine ar domhan agus ní taise don phobal Meirindiach é. Tá draíocht mhór sna scéilíní beaga seo ó Oiléan an Turtair. Tá an leabhar seo don daoine de 10 bhliain aois nó níos mó. Ta an chuid bpictiúr álainn san leabhar ag Olivia Golden. Tá dha sceal déag in iomlán ó ‘Piop na Síochana’ go ‘Buachaill a Raibh Cónaí air i Measc na mBéar’.
** G 3


October Book Competition

Hard Border

by Darach MacDonald

Walking Through a Century of Irish Partition

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Hard Border by Darach MacDonald
ISBN: 978-1-84840-675-9
Publisher: New Island


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