Read Ireland Book Review
Almost There: The Onward Journey of a Dublin Woman - a Memoir by Nuala O'Faolain
Paperback; 16.50 Euro / 19.50 USD / 11.50 UK; 275 pages
(Also Available in Hardback; 25.00 Euro / 29.50 USD / 17.50 UK) [Add To Basket]
In 1996, a small Irish press approached Nuala O'Faolain, then a writer for the Irish Times newspaper, to publish a collection of her opinion columns. She offered to write an introduction to give the opinions a context - to explain the life experience that had shaped this Irish woman's views - and, convinced that none but a few diehard fans of the columns would ever see the book, she took the opportunity to interrogate herself, as fully and candidly as she could, as to what she had made of her life. But the introduction, the 'accidental memoir of a Dublin woman', was discovered, and 'Are You Somebody?' became an international bestseller. It launched a new life for its author at a time when she had long let go of expectations that anything could dislodge patterns of regret and solitude well fixed and too familiar.
Suddenly in mid-life there was the possibility of radical change. Whereas the memoir ended with its author reconciled to a peaceful if lonely future, now opportunities opened up, and there were thrilling choices to make - choices that forced her to address the question of how to live a better life herself and, therefore, of what makes any life better.
This memoir begins at the moment when O'Faolain's life began to change, and its both tells the story of life in the subtle, radical, and, above all, unforeseen renewal, and meditates on that story. It is on one level a tale of good fortune chasing out bad - of an accidental harvest of happiness. But it is also a provocative examination of one woman's experience of 'the crucible of middle age' - a time of life that faces in two directions, forging the shape of the years to come, and clarifying and solidifying one's relationships to friends and lovers (past and present), family and self.
A Day Called Hope: A Journey Beyond Depression by Gareth O'Callaghan
Paperback; 15.00 Euro / 16.50 USD / 11.00 UK; 190 pages [Add To Basket]
For several years, Gareth O'Callaghan, one of Ireland's most popular broadcasters, suffered from severe depression. No one guessed that the minute he was off the air, he would retreat to his bed, sometimes with thoughts of suicide, barely able to function as a husband and father of three small children. In this candid and courageous account, he describes the nightmare he and his family lived through for so long. He looks back to the childhood, where he believes his low self-esteem took root, and traces a pattern common to many depression sufferers. As soon as he was diagnosed, Gareth began a determined fight back to health. Now fully recovered, free of anti-depressants, more optimistic and fitter than ever, he has emerged with a deep understanding of how the condition takes hold - as well as how to loosed its grasp. It has been an extraordinary journey - one that has given him immense insight, practical knowledge, a deep mistrust of conventional wisdom, and a mission to spread hope to all those affected by it.
Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation by Gilles Deleuze
Hardback; 30.00 Euro / 35.00 USD / 20.00 UK; 209 pages [Add To Basket]
Gilles Deleuze was one of the most influential and revolutionary philosophers of the 20th century. This is his long-awaited work on the Ireland-born artist Francis Bacon, widely regarded as one of the most radical painters of the previous century. The book presents a deep engagement with Bacon's work and the nature of art. Deleuze analyzes the distinctive innovations that came to mark Bacon's style: the isolation of the figure, the violent deformations of the flesh, the complex use of colour, the method of change, and the use of the triptych form. Along the way, Deleuze introduces a number of his own famous concepts, such as the 'body without organs' and the 'diagram', and contrasts his own approach to painting with that of both the phenomenological and the art historical traditions. Deleuze links Bacon's work to Cezanne's nation on a 'logic' of sensation, which reaches its summit in colour and the 'colouring sensation'. Investigating this logic, Deleuze explores Bacon's crucial relation to past painters such as Valasquez, Cezanne and Soutine, as well as Bacon's rejection of expressionism and abstract painting. Long awaited in translation, this book is destined to become a classic philosophical reflection on the nature of painting.
The Magic and Mystery of Ireland in Photographs by Bill Doyle
Hardback; 15.00 Euro / 17.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 200 pages, with full colour photographs throughout [Add To Basket]
This book is a celebration of Ireland, one of the most beautiful parts of the world, capturing the spirit of the Irish and the impressive country. With 150 lavish photographs of the most fascinating places in Ireland - taken by one of the country's foremost photographers - each picture is accompanied by detailed information about the history and geography that surrounds it. Including wild natural landscapes and man-made parks and gardens, impressive architecture and ancient monuments, this is a magnificent photographic guide to the haunting beauty of Ireland.
Pagan Celtic Britain by Anne Ross
Trade Paperback; 35.00 Euro / 40.00 USD / 23.00 UK; 540 pages [Add To Basket]
In this book the author employs archaeological and anthropological evidence, as well as folklore, to provide a broad insight into the early Celtic world. She begins by examining Celtic places of worship - the shrines and sanctuaries in which sacred objects were housed and from where they would be ritually displayed when various rites and sacrifices were conducted before the people. She describes the divine warriors with their aquatic, therapeutic and fertility connections. The importance of animals is also analyzed, especially birds, the gods' favourite form of creature for metamorphosis. The reader learns how Celtic places of worship changed with the arrival of the Romans when Romano-Celtic temples were erected and new deities and cults evolved. This book is gripping as the author leads the reader through the evidence from ritual pits and cult sites, votive wells, sacred precincts and mountains.
The Poetry and Song of Black and Amber Glory by James Murphy
Large Paperback; 30.00 Euro / 35.00 USD / 20.00 UK; 596 pages, with black-and-white photos throughout [Add To Basket]
This book is the story, in poetry and song, of the G.A.A. in Kilkenny, collected and compiled by Tullogher native-born Jamesie Murphy. The joys of victory, the thrills of winning, and even, sometimes, the hard defeats are captured in vivid detail. From almost the birth of the Association, the author, who since childhood, was immersed in its affairs, has gathered together the poetic stories of Irish sporting games. From the brown and dust covered manuals, to this computer age, he has trawled through many records, and once again brought back to life the heroes who made history on many a Gaelic field for their beloved county of Kilkenny. These were the sporting people who make the country proud of 'Black and Amber Glory'.
Donegal Poitin: A History by Aidan Manning
Paperback; 16.50 Euro / 19.50 USD / 11.50 UK; 295 pages [Add To Basket]
In early eighteenth-century Ireland, there were few restrictions on commercial distilling and this encouraged the growth of a patchwork of small rural and urban distillers in County Donegal. A 1731 law that forbade distilling except within the environs of a market town ended this loose arrangement. Legal distilling in rural areas stopped and, as there were few market towns in the country, opportunities arose for those individuals willing to operate outside the law to cater to a thirty population. Illicit distilling quickly flourished and, in many parts of the country, the price of barley and tenants' ability to pay the rent came to rely entirely on the continuation of the practice.
For the next century and a quarter, large groups of poitin makers used the mountains, the many islands, the plentiful streams and abundant peat to supply most of the whiskey consumed in County Donegal and such neighbouring towns as Strabane and Derry. The revenue department exacerbated the problem by further restrictive legislation and by requiring that the few remaining legal distillers manufacturer a hurried, ill-tasting, raw-corn-based spirit that contrasted starkly with the mellow, barley-malt-based poitin.
Over the years, the government used revenue officers, soldiers, local thugs, militia, yeomanry, coastguard, and finally the revenue police in futile attempts to put down Donegal poitin making. Scores of people were killed and hundreds injured in clashes that few more violent as the decades passed and illicit spirits flowed as freely as ever. This book details that brutal period in Donegal history.
Irish Songs selected by Siobhan O'Brien
Paperback; 6.00 Euro / 7.00 USD / 4.50 UK; 94 pages [Add To Basket]
This book is a collection of over 40 of Ireland's finest traditional folk songs, arranged for voice and piano. The songs and ballads in this book, by turns humorous and touching, tragic and poignant, reflect the essence of a country famous for its romantics and storytellers.
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