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Sunday, March 06, 2005

03/06/05 - Read Ireland

To receive these postings via email, click HERE No Message is necessary. Back to Irish Aires Table of Contents Read Ireland Book News - Issue 297 ---------------------------------- Colours: Ireland from Bombs to Boom by Henry McDonald (Hardback; 25.00 Euro / 30.00 USD / 18.00 UK; 256 pages, with colour photo insert) Henry McDonald's childhood and teenage years were dominated by the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Growing up in the Markets - a working-class Catholic district of central Belfast - he witnessed IRA men and British soldiers being shot down outside his door. His home was smashed up by the British troops on Internment Day in 1971, then bombed by loyalist terrorists four years later. But despite being caught up in the maelstrom of incipient civil war, McDonald managed escape his background. He became a punk rocker in 1978 and, a year later, joined a group of young soccer hooligans who followed Irish League side Cliftonville. All My Colours, however, is more than just a memoir about the formative years of someone born in the epicentre of political and sectarian conflict. McDonald time travels in two directions: firstly back to the dark days of Ulster's violent past; secondly, he uses some of the key incidents of his boyhood and youth to compare the Ireland of then with the Ireland of the twenty-first century. It is a journey that takes him from the GPO in Dublin, a revered site in the history of Irish Republicanism where the 1916 Easter Rising was launched, to the sex shops and the swinging parties of post-modern hedonistic Dublin. Filled with football thugs, terrorists, madams, paedophile priests, abuse survivors, drug dealers, comic writers and modern-day martyrs, All My Colours exposes Ireland in all its complexity and diversity, as seen through the eyes of a someone who has experienced first hand an island and a nation undergoing revolutionary changes. ---------------------------------- In Search of Ancient Ireland by Carmel McCaffrey and Leo Eaton (Trade Paperback; 20.00 Euro / 24.00 USD / 15.00 UK; 288 pages) This engaging book traces the history, archaeology, and legends of ancient Ireland from 9000B.C., when nomadic hunter-gatherers appeared in Ireland at the end of the last Ice Age, to 1167A.D., when a Norman invasion brought the country under control of the English crown for the first time. So much of what people today accept as ancient history is really myth and legend with little basis in reality. As the authors show, the truth is much more interesting. They visit and describe many of the historic places and festivals described in the book, talking to historians, scholars, poets and storytellers in the very settings where history happened. ------------------------------------- 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. -------------------------------------- Republican Internment and the Prison Ship Argenta 1922 by Denise Kleinrichert (Trade Paperback; 30.00 Euro / 35.00 USD / 20.00 UK; 385 pages) The story of the SS Argenta encapsulates the essence of internment in daily lives beginning in May 1922. Deluged under the British partition and formation of the Northern Government, nationalists were overwhelmingly affected. In an attempt to subvert the nationalist economic position, the Minister of Home Affairs, Dawson Bates, imposed martial law tactics to rend supremacy over both a rural and urban population through violence, intimidation and economic sanctions. This chronicle is an important historical reflection of nationalists, republicans and the politically astute in both Ireland and the United States. ---------------------------------------- Last of the Bald Heads by Ferdia Mac Anna (Trade Paperback; 15.00 Euro / 18.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 330 pages, with photo insert) Ferdia Mac Anna was born into a theatrical, bohemian family – where living in a house with no furniture was no cause for comment. He decided early on that he wanted either to be a writer or a rock star when he grew up. He became both – but it wasn’t all easy. A year after recovering from a brain haemorrhage, he faced another battle when he was told he had cancer. In an unusual memoir to match an unusual life, Ferdia charts his early years, from his time as a school-rebel-cum-astral traveller enduring a Christian Brothers education to discovering punk and the fervent energy it brought to a stagnant city. This book is an engrossing, enchanting account capturing the most important moments and influences on one man’s remarkable youth. -------------------------------------- If Walls Could Talk: Great Irish Castles Tell Their Stories by Robert Connolly (Trade Paperback; 15.00 Euro / 18.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 240 pages, with photos throughout) In this book the author indulges in a ‘what if’ flight of fancy and the result is a wonderfully alive account of the great events in Irish history told first hand by the only existing witnesses. Malahide, Carrickfergus, Kilkenny, Blarney and Bunratty Castles, each with a unique character and perspective, tell their own stories of triumph and defeat, people and ghosts, domestic life and wartime sieges, humour and agony. -------------------------------- Women and the Irish Diaspora by Breda Gray (Trade Paperback; 30.00 Euro / 35.00 USD / 22.00 UK; 222 pages) Women and the Irish Diaspora looks at the changing nature of national and cultural belonging both among women who have left Ireland and those who remain. It identifies new ways of thinking about Irish modernity by looking specifically at women's lives and their experiences of migration and diaspora. Based on original research with Irish women both in Ireland and in England, this book explores how questions of mobility and stasis are recast along gender, class, racial and generational lines. Through analyses of representations of 'the strong Irish mother', migrant women, 'the global Irish family' and celebrity culture, Breda Gray further unravels some of the complex relationships between femininity and Irish modernity(ies). -------------------------------------- Viking Age Dublin by Ruth Johnson (Trade Paperback; 15 Euro / 18.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 96 pages with photos throughout) In this vivid introduction to the Viking Age in Dublin, the author gives a unique insight into the everyday life of the Vikings, their culture, crafts, religious practices, and the nature and development of their settlement in Dublin. Archaeological excavations in Dublin have recovered the streets, houses, pathways and plots of these influential adventurers, raiders, traders and craftsmen. The core of the Viking Age town lay – concealed and protected – under the streets and buildings of Dublin for over 1000 years, until the first scientific archaeological excavations in 1961. In an overview of the archaeological findings, the author discusses their importance in this accessible and fascinating account. ------------------------------------- No Lovelier City: A Portrait of Cork by Anthony Barry with a foreword by Peter Somerville-Large (Large Format Paperback; 18.00 Euro / 22.50 USD / 12.00 UK; 110 pages, photos throughout) In this book the author has captured the spirit of his native city of Cork in a haunting collection of photographs. Over twenty years during his leisure time he walked around Cork with his Leica and Rolliflex and took pictures of every aspect of life in the city. Although the pictures are only thrity years old, they are of a lost city: a city that has changed immeasurably since Barry’s time. The selection here is drawn from an archive of seven thousand pictures which preserve Cork life in the 1950s and 1960s. ------------------------------------- Differently Irish: A Cultural History Exploring 25 Years of Vietnamese-Irish Identity by Mark Maguire (Trade Paperback; 22.50 Euro / 27.50 USD / 15.00 UK; 170 pages) In August 1979 the first of a small number of refugees from Vietnam arrived in Dublin. They came to Ireland via camps in Hong Kong and Malaysia with harrowing tales of escape and of long periods of travel across the South China Sea. These were the so-called ‘Boat People’ whose plight captured newspaper headlines from the late 1970s onwards. Those who came to Ireland – some 212 persons in the first instance – were invited to do so by the Irish Government. Religious and non-governmental organisations carried out much of the resettlement work, and those who volunteered on a local level often built up life-long relationships with Vietnamese-Irish people. The majority of the refugees were dispersed to a variety of locations throughout Ireland, from Tralee and Portlaoise to Cork City. In the early 1980s most re-migrated to Dublin and now comprise an ethnic minority of well over 1000 people spread across several generations. This book is the story of the Vietnamese-Irish, told in the words and through the eyes of the people themselves. What emerges is an image of a minority confronting its own identity in a fast changing Irish society. ------------------------------------ The Gore-Booths of Lissadell by Dermot James (Trade Paperback; 25.00 Euro / 30.0 0USD / 20.00 UK; 365 pages) The Gore-Booths of Lissadell charts the lives and works of nine members of the family over a period of almost 200 years. Lissadell is one of Ireland’s most famous country houses and in it lived one of its most fascinating families. Constance Markievicz may have been the most famous of the Gore-Booths, but her ancestors and other family members also lived remarkable lives. From arctic explorers to campaigners for women’s rights, from soldiers to pacifists, from landlords to revolutionaries, this Anglo-Irish family attained an astonishing breadth and range of achievements. With new information on Constance, this book gives new insights into one of the heroines of nationalism. But taken altogether, the book questions many assumptions about landlordism, and about the Anglo-Irish. In the complexities of the tales of this one family are revealed many of the subtleties and nuances of Irish identity and its relationship with Great Britain. The Gore-Booths of Lissadell deserves to be read not only for the tales of these exceptional people, but also for the mirror it holds up to much of modern Irish history. ---------------------------------- The Irish Book in the Twentieth Century edited by Clare Hutton (Hardback; 60.00 Euro / 70.00 USD / 45.00 UK; 210 pages) This book examines Ireland’s publishing history in the twentieth century. It is a ‘book history’, a new and important interdisciplinary approach that aims to reorient literary and historical interpretations by looking at the diverse and often surprising roles that publishers, printers, readers, governments and censors can play in the creation of textual culture. A collection of fourteen essays that cover a wide range of topics, it is the first book to examine Ireland’s bibliographical heritage in the twentieth century. ---------------------------------------- Highlights from the Previous Issue ---------------------------------- Donegal in Old Photographs by Sean Beattie (Trade Paperback; 18.00 Euro / 22.00 USD / 13.00 UK; 144 pages, with photos throughout) Sean Beattie has brought together nearly 200 pictures from the last 150 years, many never published before, to create a photographic portrait of the county of Donegal. From the streets of Donegal town itself to the county's beautiful islands, from schools to farms, from golf courses to bustling markets, from holidays on the beach to poignant images of emigrants aboard ship waiting to leave Ireland for a 'new life', this collection of pictures reveals all aspects of Donegal's life over the last century and a half. It includes images of Eamonn de Valera at Glencolmcille, a rare stereoscopic photograph of the children at Terryone National School in Inishowen and many other fascinating slices of the county's life. -------------------------------------- The Atlantean Irish: Ireland’s Oriental and Maritime Heritage by Bob Quinn (Trade Paperback; 25.00 Euro / 30.00 USD / 20.00 UK; 272 pages, with full colour and black-and-white illustrations throughout) Irish identity is best understood from a maritime perspective. For eight millennia the island has been a haven for explorers, settlers, colonists, navigators, pirates and traders, absorbing goods and peoples from all points of the compass. The reduction of the islanders to the exclusive category 'Celtic' has persisted for three hundred years, and is here rejected as impossibly narrow. No classical author ever described Ireland's inhabitants as 'Celts', and neither did the Irish so describe themselves until recent times. The islanders' sea-girt culture has been crucially shaped by Middle Eastern as well as by European civilizations, by an Islamic heritage as well as a Christian one. The Irish language itself has antique roots extended over thousands of years' trading up and down the Atlantic seaways. Over the past twenty years Bob Quinn has traced archaeological, linguistic, religious and economic connections from Egypt to Arann, from Morocco to Newgrange, from Cairo and Compostela to Carraroe. Taking Conamara sean-nos singing and its Arabic equivalents, and a North African linguistic stratum under the Irish tongue, Quinn marshalls evidence from field archaeology, boat-types, manuscript illuminations, weaving patterns, mythology, literature, art and artefacts to support a challenging thesis that cites, among other recent studies of the Irish genome, new mitochondrial DNA analysis in the Atlantic zone from north Iberia to west Scandinavia. The Atlantean Irish is a sumptuously illustrated, exciting, intervention in Irish cultural history. Forcefully debated, and wholly persuasive, it opens up a past beyond Europe, linking Orient to Occident. What began as a personal quest-narrative becomes a category-dissolving intellectual adventure of universal significance. It is a book whose time has arrived. --------------------------------------- A History of Ulster by Jonathan Bardon (Trade Paperback; 25.00 Euro / 30.00 USD / 16.00 UK; 928 pages) Dynamic and volatile, Ulster is brought to life in this meticulously researched history spanning nine thousand years of the politics, culture and economy of the province – the early settlements; the Viking and Norman invasions; the plantations and the Penal Laws; the rise of the United Irishmen and Orangeism; the Act of Union; emigration and the Great Famine; the linen industry and shipbuilding; the Home Rule crisis and partition; the Second World War and the blitz; civil rights and the turmoil of the Troubles. Through a sensitive use of a wide range of sources – contemporary letters and diaries, journals and newspapers, official documents and maps – Jonathan Bardon, author of the acclaimed Belfast: An Illustrated History, captures the energy and the obstinacy of Ulster. Stunning in its scope and elegant in its presentation, this is an authoritative and consistently readable history of the region and its people. ------------------------------------ Heaven Lies About Us by Eugene McCabe (Trade Paperback; 19.00 Euro / 24.00 USD / 12.00 UK; 310 pages) In these twelve stories, Eugene McCabe plumbs the soul of the Irish border counties, where confusion, divided loyalties, and heightened emotions are part of everyday life, whether that life is lived in the aftermath of 'the Great Hunger' or in the face of sectarian bitterness, suspicion and conflict. A master of arresting dialogue and intimate characterisation, celebrated as a major playwright and author of one of the most important Irish novels of the last fifty years, McCabe demonstrates his outstanding gift for short fiction in this revelatory and haunting collection. ------------------------------------------ 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 service and the newsletter continues! To order books from the Read Ireland Book Review you can send an email to the order department at: Please be sure to include your mailing address and credit card details. You can of course also post your order to: Read Ireland, 392 Clontarf Road, Clontarf, Dublin 3,Ireland. Telephone and Facsimile number is: +353-1-853-2063. Read Ireland Web Site Home Page: 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. Back to Irish Aires Table of Contents To receive these postings via email, click HERE No Message is necessary.
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