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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Read Ireland

Read Ireland Book Reviews – Issue 347 ------------------------------------- Michael Flatley: Lord of the Dance by Michael Flatley (Hardback; 24.00 Euro / 29.00 USD / 18.00 UK; 320 pages with two 16-page colour inserts) From the international star of "Riverdance", "Lord of the Dance" and, now, "Celtic Tiger", comes a no-holds-barred autobiography that reveals the person, the passion and the drama behind Michael Flatley's astonishing career. Michael describes growing up as the son of Irish immigrants in a tough Chicago neighbourhood and the many years he struggled to make real his dream of becoming a professional Irish dancer. He was in his mid-thirties when he was asked to create "Riverdance" for the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, bursting onto our television screens with a dazzling dance sequence. Just as his dreams were being realised, Michael was shattered when he and "Riverdance" parted company. Now Michael explains what really happened backstage and describes how he went on to create the enormously successful "Lord of the Dance". Michael also deals openly with the controversies that have surrounded his success, such as the 2003 rape charge, his turbulent love life and the illness and injuries that have threatened his career. Filled with commentary from family, friends and colleagues and brimming with Michael's Irish charm and good humour, this book is the very personal story of a man who has lived life to the fullest according to his own credo: nothing is impossible. --------------------------------------- In Full Flood: A Memoir by Finbarr Flood (Paperback; 14.00 Euro / 18.00 USD / 9.00 UK; 230 pages) 'In Full, Flood' is a warm, honest and reflective book which chronicles the four main phases of Finbarr Flood.s life. His initial infatuation and fledgling career in football, his rise to the very top of Guinness in Ireland, his period chairing the Labour Court and his role as chairman of Shelbourne Football Club. From his roots in inner city Dublin through to his contacts with many of the principle players in Irish public life, Finbarr Flood has garnered and retained great respect in his many fields of activity. His book recounts his many roles and the pleasures and difficulties that he sometimes encountered. ----------------------------------- The Orange Order: A Tradition Betrayed by Brian Kennaway (Hardback; 25.00 Euro / 30.00 USD / 20.00 UK; 280 pages) As Orangemen marched in west Belfast in September of 2005, Protestant paramilitaries fired on army and police in the worst street riots seen in Belfast for 10 years and Northern Ireland's Chief Constable squarely blamed the Orange Order. Now, with publication timed to coincide with the start of the 2006 marching season, an extraordinary book opens the lid on this secretive, powerful and beleaguered organisation whose future is inextricably tied to that of the United Kingdom itself. Established in Ireland in 1795, the Orange Order aimed to promote Protestantism and celebrate the memory of William of Orange. But religious and political allegiances became inseparable. Today, the Order is reduced to around 30,000 active members, increasingly publicly identified with an unyielding, bigoted Unionism expressed in the thousands of marches it stages each year, all too often the flashpoint for violence. For Orangeism, like Unionism, is at a crossroads, and a long way from the peaceful tolerance it preaches. ------------------------------------- The Wearing of the Green: A History of St. Patrick’s Day by Mike Cronin and Daryl Adair (Large Paperback; 17.00 Euro / 20.00 USD / 11.00 UK; 330 pages) Every year, all over the world, millions of Irish people, both native and by descent, together with their non-Irish friends, celebrate the life of a man who died over 1500 years ago. St Patrick's Day is a boisterous festival of parading and revelry, dancing and drinking, emblazoned with shamrocks and harps, and all in emerald green. The fascinating story of how the celebration of 17 March was transformed from a stuffy dinner for Ireland's elite to one of the world's most public festivals is captured for the first time in The Wearing of the Green: A History of St Patrick's Day. Long celebrated with more fanfare in New York than in Dublin, the holiday has been criticized for its loss of religious meaning, ever-increasing commercialism and embarrassing displays of drunkenness. More recently, it has become a flashpoint between political divides within the Irish community. At the same time, however, it has served to unite Irish emigrants worldwide, whether they be in America, Australia or Canada. ---------------------------------------- The Lost Houses of Ireland: A Chronicle of Great Houses and the Families Who Lived There by Randal MacDOnnell (Hardback; 20.00 Euro / 25.00 USD / 15.00 UK; 230 pages with black-and-white photos throughout) There is a growing fascination with Irish houses. This important pictorial record, made available for the first time by modern photographic technology, shows 25 houses and castles at the time when the original families were still in residence and their interiors and contents were intact, just before they sank into oblivion, burdened by debt and decay. The text tells the story of the families who owned these wonderful houses, their sometimes ruthless beginnings, their extravagant and often eccentric ends. ----------------------------------- Death on a Country Road by Desmond Fahy (Paperback; 13.00 Euro / 16.00 USD / 9.00 UK; 188 pages) On the way home that night through south Armagh Sean Farmer and Colm McCartney were stopped at what later transpired to be a bogus security forces checkpoint. Less than an hour later, their bodies were found at the side of the road in the townland of Altnamackin, a few miles outside Newtownhamilton. This book is the first attempt to tell the men's story. It is a vividly imagined re-creation of the time and circumstances of the murders coupled with an examination of their factual background. The murders were particularly significant because they represented the first time that the GAA had found itself targeted by terrorists in such a public and blatant way. Many more attacks on its members would follow in the next two decades. At its core this book reveals both the human stories of loss behind the headlines that the murders generated and the inadequate official investigation which followed. But above everything else this is the story of the lives and deaths on a country road in rural Armagh of Sean and Colm, two friends on their way home from a football match. ---------------------------------------- Monday at Gaj’s: The Story of the Irish Women’s Liberation Movement by Anne Stopper (Large Format Paperback; 17.00 Euro / 21.00 USD / 12.50 UK; 243 pages) "Monday's at Gaj's" traces the lives of a fascinating group of women who founded Ireland's first radical women's rights organisation - the Irish Women's Liberation Movement. Gaj's was the Baggot Street restaurant, now closed, where the IWLM, as well as other activists, poets other people on the margins, met every Monday night. When the group formed in 1970, the marriage bar was in place, contraception was illegal and women's issues were just beginning to be debated publicly. The women who formed the IWLM - Mairin de Burca, Mary Maher, Nell McCafferty, Rosita Sweetman and Mary Kenny, to name but a few - were some of the most dynamic, controversial and exciting public figures of their time. Many were well-known journalists and political activists and they were able to grab the public's attention as no women ever had because they were fearless, charismatic and trained in skilful communication. The IWLM's main accomplishments included the publication of a charter of demands, appearance on a special "Late Late Show" devoted to women's issues and organising the Contraceptive Train to Belfast, which was the first public challenge to the ban on contraceptives. What sets "Monday's at Gaj's" apart from other histories of the women's rights movement is that it is based on a series of personal interviews with the activists themselves, allowing the IWLM founders to tell their own stories in their own words. Learning about their early lives and the motivations behind their brave activism makes it easier to understand the nature of the women's liberation movement at that particular time. It also personalises the story, inviting readers to become engaged with the struggle to bring about change, and allows the women to reflect on how their perspectives on women's rights have changed in the 35 years since the group's disintegration. With numerous photographs and additional interviews with well known observers, "Monday's at Gaj's" paints a fascinating portrait of an exciting period in Ireland's cultural history. -------------------------------------- Take the Kids: Ireland by Amy Corzine (Trade Paperback; 19.00 Euro / 24.00 USD / 13.00 UK; 306 pages) Visits Dublin with its museums, castle and zoo - goes picnicking in the beautiful countryside of County Cork - cheers on a game of hurling - expends some energy beachcombing, hill trekking, horse-riding and dolphin watching - listens in wonder to Ireland's myths and legends. Natural History Museum: This wonderful unchanged Victorian museum is part of the National Museum of Ireland network and is called Dublin's 'Dead Zoo' because it is stuffed full of stuffed animals. Children of a scientific bent will love its musty old atmosphere where its ground floor (the Irish Room) contains Irish insects, strange-looking earth and sea-creatures in jars, and mammals, including skeletons of the extinct giant deer known as the Irish Elk, and the skeleton of a basking shark. ---------------------------------- Tales from Old Ireland by Malachy Doyle with illustrations by Niamh Sharkey (Large Format Paperback; 13.00 Euro / 16.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 100 pages, with colour illustrations throughout) This enchanting collection of favourite 'Irish folk' tales, deserves to be read aloud at every hearth. The larger-than-life characters, dramatic landscapes and magical happenings are sure to keep listeners and readers absorbed for many happy hours. Brand new gift edition now comes packaged with two free audio CDs. ------------------------------------- Introduction to Celtic Mythology by David Bellingham (Large Format Paperback; 8.00 Euro / 10.00 USD / 6.00 UK; 130 pages with full-colour photos throughout) Recounts the stories of CuChulain, Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed, Tristan and Isolt, and other Irish and Welsh myths, and discusses their role in ancient Celtic society and their survival in literature, art, and folklore. ------------------------------------ Celtic Borders and Motifs by Lesley Davies (Large Format Paperback; 7.00 Euro / 9.00 USD / 5.50 UK) Featuring decorative borders and motifs incorporating the elements of Celtic design, this design book is of interest to craftspeople, artists, needleworkers, and those interested in creating various projects. -------------------------------------- Celtic Knots for Beaded Jewellery by Suzan Millodot (Large Format Paperback; 13.00 Euro / 16.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 80 pages) Learn how to make beautiful necklaces, bracelets, rings, brooches and earrings using real, three-dimensional Celtic knots combined with beads and pendants. Eighteen projects using step-by-step photographs show how to create stylish designs. ------------------------------------- Celtic Calligraphy: Getting Started by Fiona Graham-Flynn (Spiral Hardback; 10.00 Euro / 14 USD / 7.00 UK; ) Using the Celtic lettering style, this book shows how to hold and use a calligraphy pen, the basic shapes and strokes of the letters, the elements of design, and layout of the page. It is designed in full colour, with a box built into the spine containing a calligraphy pen with thick and thin nibs. ------------------------------------- The Penguin Ireland Guide to Championship 2006 by Damian Cullen (Paperback; 10 Euro / 14.00 USD / 7.00 UK; 230 pages) "The Penguin Ireland Guide to Championship 2006" is the second annual edition of the only authoritative guide to the All-Ireland hurling and Gaelic football championships. ------------------------------------ Highlights from the Previous Issue: ----------------------------------- Field Day Review 2006 edited by Seamus Deane and Breandan Mac Suibhne (Large Format Paperback with Endflaps – 35.00 Euro / 42.00 USD / 28.00 UK; 350 pages) FIELD DAY REVIEW is an annual publication primarily concerned with Irish political and literary culture; it includes richly illustrated articles and essays and reviews of recent books in history, literature and cultural studies. Contents: ~ Siobhán Kilfeather, Alice Maher’s Materials ~ James Chandler, A Discipline in Shifting Perspective: Why We Need Irish Studies ~ Emer Nolan, Irish Melodies and Discordant Politics: Thomas Moore’s Memoirs of Captain Rock (1824) ~ Marjorie Howes, Postcolonial Yeats: Culture, Enlightenment, and the Public Sphere ~ Maud Ellmann, Ulysses: Changing into an Animal ~ Peter McQuillan, Suairceas in the Seventeenth Century ~ Michael Griffin and Breandán Mac Suibhne, Da’s Boat; or, Can the Submarine Speak? A Voyage to O’Brazeel (1752) and other Glimpses of the Irish Atlantis ~ Sara Smyth, Shooting for the State? Photos from the National Photographic Archive ~ Susan McKay, ‘You can make your wee film. But no cameras’: Unionism in 2005 ~ Richard Bourke, Antigone and After: ‘Ethnic’ Conflict in Historical Perspective ~ Joe Cleary, The World Literary System: Atlas and Epitaph ~ Katie Trumpener, ‘The Stasi is My Eckermann’ ~ Joseph P. Buttigieg, Empire of Liberty: A Futile and Bloody Aspiration ~ Terry Eagleton, Fascists ~ John Gibney, Reading, Writing and Print in Early Modern Ireland ~ T. H. Breen, An Irish Revolution in Eighteenth-Century America? ~ Enda Leaney, Vested Interests: Science and Medicine in Nineteenth-Century Ireland ~ Gavin Foster, In the Shadow of the Split: Writing the Irish Civil War ~ Tony Crowley, Monolingual Ireland’s Dead and Gone … ~ Willy Maley, Letter from Glasgow: Where the Streets have No Shame Reviews by Peter Gray, Nicholas Allen, Liam Harte, Máirín Nic Eoin, Bill Kissane, D. Alan Orr ---------------------------------- Reading Michael Longley by Fran Brearton (Trade Paperback; 19 Euro / 25 USD / 12 UK; 280 pages) Michael Longley has been called 'one of the finest lyric poets of our century' (John Burnside). This ground-breaking study is the first full-length assessment of his work, and looks in turn at all the major collections he has published over the past 40 years, and at the extraordinary growth of his reputation and influence. Fran Brearton's reading of Longley's work relates the development of his poetry to the recent literary and political history of Northern Ireland, and to the Irish poetic tradition from Yeats to the present day. In placing Longley's poetry in a network of cultural influences, and evaluating its critical reception, her study also engages with key debates in the criticism of modern poetry in English. She offers a broadly chronological reading of Longley's work from the 1960s to the present day, tracing thematic continuities across his collections. Longley's long silence between "The Echo Gate" (1979) and "Gorse Fires" (1991), she argues, helped him to re-shape and strengthen his poetry, so that his later work is in some ways a re-reading of his earlier poetry, but taken in new and unexpected directions. In this highly readable book, Fran Brearton draws on letters, manuscripts, published and personal interviews with Michael Longley, as well as on his memoir, "Tuppenny Stung", and his recent researches into his father's military career. She shows how his poetry is shaped by the dislocations and tensions of his English parentage and Irish upbringing, making him one of the most imaginatively various and formally inventive poets writing today. -------------------------------------- The Fertile Rock: Seasons in the Burren by Carsten Krieger (Hardback; 25.00 Euro / 30.00 USD / 20.00 UK; 162 pages, with full colour photos throughout) The Burren in County Clare on Ireland's west coast is a most enigmatic landscape - a unique mixture of fertile and barren, wild and domestic, visible and invisible. Stunningly beautiful but threatened, it captivates and perplexes and is of inordinate cultural significance. As poet Michael Longley wrote: 'we owe the place respect, courtesy, reverence'. This book takes you on a visual journey through and around the Burren during the four seasons. Conveying the serene beauty and unique aura of this ancient landscape the pictures, images of stunning natural beauty, tell their own story: the changing face of the Burren from season to season, the rich flora and diverse fauna, important heritage sites, small details of stone, and wider panoramic views of the landscape. While photos play a key role expressing the visual impact of the Burren, this is more than another photo book, it is a celebration of the place. For almost three years Carsten Krieger spent an average of 3 days per week on this project. It became a central part of his life: waiting for the perfect light, for the wind to die down, for the creatures of the Burren to come into the open, discovering the most beautiful and magical places, drinking tea with the people of the Burren. The result: he delivers the essence of his subject in a manner sympathetic to the everchanging panorama of weather, tone and light found in that rich landscape. ------------------------------------ Day Tours from Dublin by Michael Fewer (Paperback; 13.00 Euro / 16.00 USD / 9.50 UK; 188 pages) "Day Tours from Dublin" takes the reader on twenty itineraries, all accessible in a single day by car from anywhere in the city. It includes such destinations as Avondale, Courtown Harbour, Ballitore and Moone, Birr Castle, Clonmacnoise, Tullynally, Newgrange and Slieve Gullion. Each route is described in detail in Michael Fewer's inimitable, lucid and compelling prose. He writes knowledgeably of history, folklore and, in particular, the built environment. In the Ballitore and the Moone tour, for instance, you learn that the Dublin Gliding Club, whose gates you pass, welcomes visitors; that Ballymore Eustace was the first Norman town on the Liffey protecting a river crossing; and that in Killeen Cormac you can find the grave of King Cormac of Munster. "Day Tours from Dublin" is the perfect family guide and will appeal to the growing market for offbeat leisure activity in the greater Dublin region. --------------------------------------- The Faber Companion to Samuel Beckett edited by C.J. Ackerley and S.E. Gontarski (Large Paperback; 25.00 Euro / 30.00 USD / 20.00 UK; 686 pages) "The Faber Companion to Samuel Beckett" is the most comprehensive reference to the ideas, characters, and life of Samuel Beckett. Alphabetically ordered and cross-referenced, it provides a wealth of information for all serious readers of Beckett. "The Faber Companion to Samuel Beckett" is published to coincide with the centenary of his birth. It is a must-have reference book for Beckett fans, drama students, and theatre-lovers. ------------------------ Appletree Pocket Guides: ------------------------ Animals of Ireland by Gordon D’Arcy (Small Format Paperback with Endflaps; 7.00 Euro / 9.00 USD / 5.00 UK; 128 pages, full colour illustrations and photos throughout) Ireland possesses a fascinating variety of wildlife: bats and voles, shrews and hedgehogs, badgers and stoats are just a few of the animals sharing the country with man. This pocket guide is intended not only as a guide to their identification but also as a source of information about their lifestyles and survival needs. Each animal is beautifully illustrated in full color and the accompanying descriptive text draws attention to its main features and habits. This book will alert readers to the range of Ireland's wild animals and will help them detect their presence from the tell-tale signs. ------------------------------ Irish Castles by Terence Reeves-Smyth (Small Format Paperback with Endflaps; 7.00 Euro / 9.00 USD / 5.00 UK; 128 pages, full colour illustrations and photos throughout) While the number and variety of castles scattered throughout Ireland testify to a turbulent past, visiting them today is frequently a fascinating and tranquil experience. This guide lists all the Irish castles that are both accessible and worth visiting. They range from early fortifications and medieval towers to the great Norman fortresses such as those at Trim and Carrickfergus and the Renaissance castles of Kanturk and Burncourt. Each has its own particular character and story to tell. Together they represent an astonishingly rich contribution to Ireland's heritage. ---------------------------------- Irish Family Names by Ida Grehan (Small Format Paperback with Endflaps; 7.00 Euro / 9.00 USD / 5.00 UK; 128 pages, full colour illustrations and photos throughout) This handy, pocket-sized guide lists and describes eighty well-known Irish family names and explains the history of associations of each. Eighty families have been chosen from thousands, not merely because they are historically important and still numerous, but also because of their often outstanding personalities. Illustrations showing the shields of each family are also included, as are additional sections providing the meaning and place of origin or a further eighty popular names and crests for around another family names. -------------------------------- Irish Place Names by P.W. Joyce (Small Format Paperback with Endflaps; 7.00 Euro / 9.00 USD / 5.00 UK; 128 pages, full colour illustrations and photos throughout) Eighty families have been chosen from thousands, not merely because they are historically important and still numerous, but also because of their often outstanding personalities. Illustrations showing the shields of each family are also included, as are additional sections providing the meaning and place of origin or a further eighty popular names and crests for around another family names. --------------------------------- Irish Trees and Shrubs by Peter Wyse-Jackson (Small Format Paperback with Endflaps; 7.00 Euro / 9.00 USD / 5.00 UK; 128 pages, full colour illustrations and photos throughout) It describes in detail over sixty of the most common species of the countryside: plants that are found naturally in Ireland and others introduced from other countries which have gone wild. Each variety is illustrated in full color, making this an attractive and indispensable guide which no lover of the Irish countryside will want to be without. ------------------------------ A Short History of Ireland by Martin Wallace (Small Format Paperback with Endflaps; 7.00 Euro / 9.00 USD / 5.00 UK; 128 pages, full colour illustrations and photos throughout) A Short History of Ireland traces the successive invasions of Celts, Vikings and Normans, the Tudor and Stuart settlements and the gradual emergence of the 'Irish Question' in British politics. The failure of the union with Great Britain and the consequent partition of the island is described, and developments in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in modern times discussed. Succinct biographies of prominent figures, descriptions of major historical sites and a list of important dates are included, making this an ideal introduction for anyone with an interest in Ireland. --------------------------------------- Thank you for your continued support. It is vital for the continuation of this service! If you appreciate receiving these regular emails, I respectfully request that if you are considering ordering any of these books that you do so through Read Ireland. Using these emails to order books from other suppliers does NOT support Read Ireland nor the continuation of the service. I very much appreciate your patronage. To order books from the Read Ireland Book Review – simply return the Newsletter by clicking your reply button. Please DELETE the books you do NOT want and LEAVE the books you DO WANT to order. Alternatively, you can send an email to the order department at: Please be sure to include your full mailing address and credit card details including expiration date. You might like to split this information into 2 or 3 emails for security. 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: or I have added a new feature to the Read Ireland website. It is a page listing ONLY the newest books added to or updated on the website. This new feature page will itself be superseded at least 3 times per month (most recent update 26 July). Checking this page on the Read Ireland website is an ideal way to keep abreast of what is happening in the world of Irish Interest publishing. Please visit often! If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you very much for your continued support and custom. Sincerely, Gregory Carr @ Read Ireland
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