Desmond Fennell has been a major force in the intellectual life of this country for at least the past five decades. He has earned a reputation as a courageous and at times controversial commentator, and his journalism in the early 1970s helped to bring about a rethinking of the Nationalist approach to Northern Ireland, thus providing a philosophical basis for the peace process of the 1990.
In Down by the Liffeyside Colbert Kearney gives us a witty social history of a Dublin working-class family from the 1940s to the turn of the 21st century. This was no ordinary family. Colbert’s grandfather, Peadar Kearney, was a veteran of 1916 and the War of Independence; his cousin was the IRA activist and author Brendan Behan. Peadar Kearney penned many popular nationalist songs, including ‘The Soldier’s Song’ which was to become the national anthem. He casts a long shadow over this memoir, though he died three years before the author was born.
As an undergraduate at Oxford University, John Betjeman first visited Ireland in 1925 and was entranced by the country. He was to pay frequent visits over the next five decades, staying in stately homes, and making enduring friendships, these decades included nearly three years as Press Attaché to the British mission to Dublin during the Second World War. Several of his best known poems, written long before he became a knighted Poet Laureate, are set in Ireland.
His books of Irish music are famous worldwide, yet the amazing life story of Francis O’Neill (1848-1936) is not as well known. At sixteen he became a sailor, leaving Cork to travel the world. By twenty, he had circumnavigated the globe having many adventures, including surviving shipwreck on a remote tropical island. He settled in Chicago with his new wife Anna. They joined many immigrants looking for work just as the city was visited by catastrophe: The Great Fire of 1871.
This is the first guide to explore exciting places across the four counties of the old Middle Kingdom, beginning in time with the great Stone Age monuments at Brú na Bóinne until the present day. It takes in historic towns and castles, abbeys and churches, gardens and follies, pristine lakes to swim in and hills to climb. Illustrated throughout, it is divided into 8 sections, each with its own map. This is the perfect guidebook for travellers or for those simply wishing to explore the countryside around them.