The eventful history of Kerry in Tudor Days

Deeds Not Words: The Survival of the Fitzmaurices Lords of Kerry 1550 to 1603 by Martin Moore (Gabha Beag publications,€20.00) This splendid study examines the political and military roles of the Fitzmaurices, Lords of Kerry and Barons of Lixnaw, in the Tudor Years of 1550 to 1603. It shows their involvement in local, national and…

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Kevin Barry, a legend of the revolution

Yours ‘Til Hell Freezes: A Memoir of Kevin Barry by Síofra O’Donovan (Currach Books, €19.99/£17.99) A century ago Kevin Barry became an icon of the republican movement. The ballads on his life and death were particularly popular among Irish expatriates. One of them even became part of Paul Robeson’s repertoire in the 1930s. His status derived…

How Ireland was made for democracy

Saving the State: Fine Gael from Collins to Varadkar by Stephen Collins and Ciara Meehan (Gill Books, €24.99/£22.50) Representatives of CumannnanGaedheal, the National Guard and the National Centre Party established Fine Gael on September 2, 1933. Eoin O’Duffy, leader of the National Guard – also known as the Blueshirts because of the apparel of its members –…

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The spirituality of married love

Conjugal Love: A Path to God edited by The Friends of Father Caffarel (€14.00; available from Married Spirituality, 66 Mount Albany, Blackrock, Co Dublin A94 AC81 at www.marriedspirituality.com ) Any discussion on this book must begin with Fr Henri Caffarel. He was born in Lyon, France, on July 30, 1903. From his earliest years he exhibited…

A great Irish scholar’s essays preserved

Celtic Studies in Europe and other Essays by Seán Ó Lúing (Geography Publications, €38.00/£29.99) This collection of interesting essays by the late Seán Ó Lúing, the noted scholar, can be categorised under three headings: autobiography, the Irish language and Higher Studies. Those on staff of the Institute of Advanced Studies are particularly valuable. They provide biographies…

A right regal account of ‘The Kingdom’

Kerry: History & Society edited by Maurice J. Bric, introduction by Joe Lee, epilogue by Tommy O’Connor (Geography Publications, €60.00) This tremendous volume is the latest in the well established series of County Histories which the publishers have been producing for at least two decades. They are a sort of Irish version of the British ‘Victoria…

Thomas Cromwell: the master servant of Henry VIII

Thomas Cromwell: A Life by Diarmaid MacCulloch (Allen Lane, £22.50) 
Hillary Mantel’s inspired trilogy of novels beginning with Wolf Hall has prompted a lively interest in Thomas Cromwell, best known as Henry VIII’s consummate ‘fixer’. Her brilliant recreation of life in the 16th century remains in the demesne of fiction. Diarmaid McCulloch’s Life is an altogether…

A fearless and truly great woman for a cause

Fearless Woman: Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington, Feminism and the Irish Revolutionary by Margaret Ward (University College Press, €30/£25) Hanna Sheehy Skeffington was born on May 24, 1877 in Kanturk, Co. Cork. She came from a well-known nationalist family. Fr Eugene Sheehy, her uncle, was a leading figure in the Land League and a close associate of the Irish…