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Saturday, November 20, 2004

[Irish Aires] - Read Ireland

Yes, it is time to start thinking about Christmas! In this
special issue of the Read Ireland Book Review, we offer a
selection of Irish Books as ideas for Christmas. There are a
plethora of very high quality Irish-subject books available this
year and we are very eager to assist you in your decisions.
Please let us know what you are seeking. You can, of course,
order them for yourself also! Sincerely, Greg @ Read Ireland.
Read Ireland Book News – Irish Gift Ideas for Christmas 2004
Brewer’s Dictionary of Irish Phrase and Fable by Sean McMahon and
Jo O’Donoghue with a foreword by Maeve Binchy
Hardback; 40.00 Euro / 50.00 USD / 30.00 UK; 1140 pages
Brewer\'s Dictionary of Irish Phrase and Fable is devoted
exclusively to the history, culture, mythology and language of
the island of Ireland. Like its parent volume (Brewer\'s
Dictionary of Phrase and Fable), the Irish Brewer covers a huge
range of different subjects, and will be particularly generous in
its account of legend, superstition and folklore. It will be
generous also in its insights into the origins and history of
words and phrases, and will contain an remarkable array of
expressions and allusions that the user might struggle to find in
an ordinary dictionary or encyclopedia of Ireland. Its 5000 A to
Z entries entries include Celtic gods and goddesses, bards,
beasts, literary allusions, proverbial sayings, idiomatic phrases
and expressions, characters from Irish literature ancient and
modern, resonant place-names, and individuals and events of
iconic stature in Irish history. A significant number of entries
will relate to contemporary Irish life and culture. As is de
rigueur with all Brewer\'s-branded titles, there will be material
in abundance here to delight lovers of the odd, the obscure and
the arcane.
The Last of the Celts by Marcus Tanner
Hardback; 37.00 Euro / 45.00 USD / 25.00 UK; 390 pages
A cultural tour spanning the Celtic world from the Outer Hebrides
of Scotland to Brittany, and from Cape Breton to Patagonia, this
book sets out to find out what has happened to the Celtic peoples
in a world where pressure to conform to Anglo-American culture
has grown ever stronger. Taking the form of a journey that starts
in the wilds of north-west Scotland, before proceeding through
western Wales, the Isle of Man, troubled Northern Ireland, the
western seaboard of the Irish Republic and The French region of
Brittany, the author weaves solid historical research into the
language, religion, music and customs of the peoples concerned
with first-hand encounters with a host of priests, ministers,
government officials, cultural activists, musicians and writers.
The author finds talk of a Celtic revival much misplaced, for
while the term \"Celtic\" is banded around as never more, largely
to suit the needs of commerce and tourism, the fragile cultures
the word actually refers to in the north-west of Britain, Ireland
and France are closer than ever before to extinction. As the
author discovers on his journey, the tide is going out at
different speeds in different places. While Welsh culture and
language are (relatively) robust, the rich culture of the Bretons
is heading for almost certain oblivion in a decade or two at
most, as relentless, centuries-long pressure to be French reaches
its climax. Nor are the prospects much brighter for the small
Celtic communities in the New World. As the author travels from
Cape Breton in Canada to Patagonia in Argentina, he finds the
once sturdy communities of Gaelic and Welsh speakers facing
exactly the same threats of assimilation and ultimate
disappearance. It is a development that impoverishes as all.
Himself Alone: David Trimble and the Ordeal of Unionism by Dean
Hardback; 45.00 Euro / 55.00 USD / 35.00 UK; 1002 pages, with 3
8-page photo inserts
David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, is one of the
unlikeliest and most complicated political leaders of our times.
Long reviled by nationalist Ireland and much of British opinion
as an awkward and flinty loyalist extremist, both his admirers
and detractors agree that the Belfast Agreement could not have
been made without him. This taciturn ex- Queen’s University law
lecturer and lover of opera has become the first Unionist leader
to enjoy international recognition, being praised by the Nobel
Peace Prize committee for his ‘great political courage’ and
regularly visiting the White House. But in the process, he has
been excoriated as a traitor by many of his one-time supporters.
In this comprehensive biography, the author has been given unique
access to the politician and his papers. In addition to
conducting over one hundred hours of interviews with Trimble and
his wife, the author has spoken to over three hundred friends,
foes and colleagues of the unionist leader – including Tony
Blair, Bertie Ahern, Mo Mowlam, Peter Mandelson, John Hume, John
Major, John Bruton and Gerry Adams. He has also enjoyed
privileged access to the private papers and diaries of other
leading politicians in Ulster, Great Britain and the Republic of
Ireland. The author also reveals Trimble’s dependence on an
extraordinary ‘kitchen cabinet’ of informal advisers, composed
largely of southern Irish Catholics, including the ex-senior IRA
member, Sean O\'Callaghan. Rarely can any practicing politician
have spoken so candidly to any biographer.
This book is a remarkable study of a man and his times, and an
illuminating record of the political dynamics of the Troubles and
the complexity of the calculations which all leaders locked in
such disputes much make.
Sean O’Casey: A biography by Christopher Murray
Hardback; 30.00 Euro / 35.00 USD / 24.00 UK; 350 pages
Christopher Murray\'s work on Sean O\'Casey is a critical
biography. In addition to the normal biographical elements, Dr
Murray provides a strong interpretative context for the life. For
example, he looks afresh at the Dublin of the 1880s and 1890s in
order to provide an updated background to O\'Casey\'s childhood.
He pays a great deal of attention to the political situation from
1880 to 1922, setting it against O\'Casey\'s own treatment in his
six volumes of autobiography. In general he attempts to establish
\"O\'Casey\'s Ireland\\\". This leads naturally to a fresh
examination of the great Dublin trilogy, The Shadow of a Gunman,
Juno and the Paycock and The Plough and the Stars, the three
works on which O\'Casey\'s reputation stands. The rejection of
his next play, The Silver Tassie, by the Abbey Theatre
precipitated O\'Casey\'s move to England. Except for some very
brief visits, he never returned to Ireland. Murray establishes
O\'Casey as a self-made man of letters, an irrepressible fighter,
a man who combined political courage and innocence, an individual
torn between a humanist vision of life rooted in his Dublin
childhood and a utopian but blinkered loyalty to the Soviet
Union. Murray acknowledges that while much of O\'Casey\'s work
was uneven, flawed and over-ambitious, at its best it was infused
with a passion and generosity that place it among the best bodies
of drama in the twentieth century. Christopher Murray\'s
biography will be the definitive work on O\'Casey in our time.
Rich and original material, including unique access to the
O\'Casey papers in the archives of his publishers, it is a book
that will stand for many years.
‘Tis Herself: A Memoir by Maureen O’Hara
Hardback; 25.00 Euro / 20.00 USD / 18.00 UK; 322 pages
Famous for her remarkable beauty and her fiery screen
personality, Irish-born Maureen O’Hara left Dublin as a teenager
and became one of the greatest and most enduring stars of
Hollywood’s ‘Golden Era’. Written with warmth, charm and
intelligence that defined her performances in some sixty films,
this autobiography is her story as only she could tell it, a tale
of a strong-willed Irishwoman who truly held her own in the
Making the Grand Figure: Lives and Possessions in Ireland,
1641-1770 by Toby Barnard
Hardback; 50.00 Euro / 60.00 USD / 40.00 UK; 500 pages,
In this pioneering study of the material culture of Stuart and
Hanoverian Ireland, the author reveals a hitherto unsuspected
richness and diversity of lifestyle, habitat and mentality. The
book abounds with quirky people and vivid scenes, and amounts to
a striking reappraisal of Ireland under the Protestant
Ascendancy. The compass of the book is impressively wide, from
the governing elits of Dublin Castle to the varied metropolis of
Dublin itself, and to provincial towns and the countryside
beyond. Looking yet further, it follows the Irish overseas to
Britain and to the continent of Europe. What emerges is a world
more crowded with stylish buildings, gardens, pictures and
belongings than has often been imagined.
Through such everyday articles as linen shirts, wigs, silver
teaspoons, pottery plates and engravings, the author evokes a
striking variety of lives and attitudes. Possessions, he shows,
even horses and dogs, highlighted and widened divisions, not only
between rich and poor, women and men, but also between Irish
Catholics and the Protestant settlers. Displaying fresh evidence
and unexpected perspectives, the book throws important new light
on Ireland during a formative period. Its discoveries, set
within the context of the ‘consumer revolution’’ gripping Europe
and North America, allow Ireland for the first time to be
integrated into discussions of the pleasures and pains of
Collected Poems of Patrick Kavanagh
Hardback; 35.00 Euro / 42.00 USD / 27.00 UK; 336 pages
The centenary of Patrick Kavanagh\'s birth in 2004 provides the
ideal opportunity to reappraise one of modern Ireland\'s greatest
poets. Lucid, various, direct and engaging, Kavanagh\'s poems
have a unique place in the canon. This new edition is the
culmination of many years of work by Antoinette Quinn in creating
authoritative texts for Kavanagh\'s work from his early works
such as Inniskeen Road: July Evening\' to such major pieces as
The Great Hunger\'.
Finders Keepers: Selected Prose 1971-2001 by Seamus Heaney
Hardback; 50.00 Euro / 60.00 USD / 40.00 UK; 418 pages
\"How should a poet properly live and write? What is his
relationship to be to his own voice, his own place, his literary
heritage and to his contemporary world?\" These are the questions
addressed by Seamus Heaney in this collection of his critical
prose. There are essays from three previous collections of prose
and from \"The Place of Writing\", a series of lectures delivered
in 1988 at Emory University. Also included are several pieces not
previously collected in volume form, ranging from short newspaper
articles to more extended lectures and contributions to books,
including \"Place and Displacement\" (1984), only available
previously as a pamphlet, and \"Burns\'s Art Speech\", written
for the bicentennial of Robert Burns\'s death. (Two Very Rare
First Editions Only Available)
Rhyming Weavers and other Country Poets of Antrim and Down edited
by John Hewitt and with a foreword by Tom Paulin
Paperback; 12.50 Euro / 15.00 USD / 9.00 UK; 192 pages
During the nineteenth century there was a remarkable flowering of
peasant verse in the Ulster counties of Antrim and Down. Witty,
irreverent and deeply egalitarian, these poems were written by
working people – handloom weavers, small farmers and country
school-masters – for people much like themselves. The poets
wrote in the ‘lively tongue’ of the Ulster- Scots vernacular and
drew their themes from the landscape and the life of the
community at a time when the making of flax into linen played a
basic part in the economic and social pattern. This book is both
a study and a celebration of the lives and work of these country
poets. The editor’s extended introduction provides an accessible
account of the context in which the poets wrote and is
complemented by a select anthology. First published in 1974, the
book was an act of recovery, an excavation of a vibrant aspect of
Ulster’s literary heritage. Reissued now, thirty years later,
with a new foreword by Tom Paulin, it remains a seminal work,
making an important contribution to Ulster- Scots writing and to
debates about language and identity in these islands.
Irish Christmas Feast by John B. Keane
Paperback; 17.50 Euro / 21.00 USD / 11.50 UK; 350 pages
With enough good cheer to warm the heart throughout the Christmas
season and the long nights of winter, Keane\'s playful volume
revisits the Christmases eccentrically celebrated by the likes of
Dotie Tupper and Johnny Naile, the doughty Canon Doyle and deaf
Canon Cornelius Coodle, the amiable spendthrift Aenias Mackson
and Hiccups O\'Reilly, who disappears one Christmas for seven
years. Keane bears delightful witness to the strengths and
failings, the trials and triumphs, of the simple but not so
ordinary folk of Co. Kerry.
Byrne’s Dictionary of Irish Local History by Joseph Byrne
Paperback; 20.00 Euro / 24.00 USD / 15.00 UK; 350 pages.
This book is the authoritative desk reference for all local
historians. It contains hundreds of local history terms
explained, from earliest times to c.1900, in an A-Z listing which
is fully cross-referenced. What was an angel? Castle chamber?
Raskins? A Cunningham acre? Letters patent? Where do you go to
find out what a Brunswick club was? How do you find out the
meanings of legal terms associated with the courts and land
conveyancing? This dictionary attempts to answer such questions
for the Irish local historian. Also included are numerous
entries relating to national and regional institutions such as
parliament and the courts, administrative structures, religion,
education, historical records, land law, lay associations,
political movement, architecture and archaeology.
Joyce in Art: Visual Art Inspired by James Joyce by Christa-Maria
Lerm Hayes
Trade Paperback with End-flaps; 50 Euro / 60 USD / 40.00 UK; 410
pages, with colour and black-and-white illustrations throughout
This book accompanies the exhibition of the same title at the
Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, curated by the author for the 16
June 2004 centenary of Bloomsday. It is the first art historical
account of visual art inspired by James Joyce. At once a
comprehensive and selective study, it focuses on the most
original, provocative and best-informed artists who took an
interest in Joyce. Every major art movement since the 1910s
(from Vorticism to the present multi-faceted artistic landscape)
is represented in this book with new interpretative perspectives.
Protagonists of these movements are joined by lesser-known
contemporaries from around the world and their exciting, relevant
work. All the featured artists have in common their passion for
Joyce – of their preoccupation with a writer they found to be an
obstacle or an irritation.
Joyce’s literary innovations – from the epiphanies and the
stylistic multiplicity of Ulysses, to the employment of sigla and
portmanteau words in Finnegans Wake – have proved highly
interesting to visual artists who are free to rework Joyce’s
fascinating motifs and fruitful strategies into their own media.
James Joyce himself is established as a conceptual, visual
artist: creator of the Fluviana.
Oxford Companion to Irish History edited by SJ Connolly
Large Paperback; 25.00 Euro / 32.00 USD / 18.00 UK; 650 pages
The editor, with a team of 96 renowned experts, has updated and
revised the text for this second edition. With its initial
appearance in 1998, this book set a benchmark among reference
works on Irish history and was designated the \'definitive guide
to over 2,000 years of Irish history\'. This new edition takes
into account recent research and events. There is coverage not
only of leading political figures, organizations, and events, but
also of subjects such as dress, music, sport and diet.
Traditional topics such as the Rebellion of 1798 and the Irish
Civil War sit alongside entries on newly developing areas such as
women\'s history and popular culture. The coverage has been
expanded to offer a full treatment of prehistoric and early
historic Ireland and more comprehensive information on literary
history. There are also new entries on individuals who have died
since the first edition was published. In addition, the sections
dealing with the politics in the Irish Republic and in Northern
Ireland have been rewritten to take full account of the
developments up to the end of the 20th century. With over 1,8000
entries, this book offers a comprehensive guide to all aspects of
the Irish past from earliest times to the present day.
All Changed: 50 Years of Photographing Ireland by Colman Doyle
and text by John Quinn
Large Hardback; 30.00 Euro / 35.00 USD / 24.00 UK; 170 pages,
with full colour photos throughout
The past fifty years have been a time of immense change in
Ireland, as the country has moved from a traditional to a modern
society. The introduction of electricity, the \'quiet
revolution\', was accompanied by changes in attitudes to Church,
sex, relationships, property, emigration - to life in general. In
that short time people have absorbed massive change, often
enthusiastically, though perhaps with the occasional pang of
regret for the \'old ways\'. Here we see the faces, the
landscapes and the life of that recently disappeared Ireland -
Jack Lynch, JFK, Grace Kelly, Dev, de Gaulle, the Troubles, folk
traditions - alongside the new faces and the new styles of our
modern society.
Thank you for your support! It is important that if you are
considering ordering any of these books that you do so through
Read Ireland in order that the newsletter continues!
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All Prices and Rates are in Euro (US Dollar and UK Sterling
prices are guidelines based on current exchange rates.)
Euro prices on books reviewed above are firm. Post +
package is charged at cost.
Jay Dooling (
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