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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

The saintly suffering of Flannery O’Connor

The Abbess of Andalusia: Flannery O’Connor’s Spiritual Journey by Lorraine V. Murray (St Benedict Press, Charlotte NC; kindle-edition, £7.46 through Amazon UK) Many people are finding the restrictions caused by Covid-19 somewhat tiresome. In these circumstances it would be difficult to recommend a more appropriate read that this biography of Flannery O’Connor. The distinguished American writer…

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Douglas Hyde – a President for all

Douglas Hyde: A Maker of Modern Ireland by Janet Egleston Dunleavy & Gareth W. Dunleavy (University of California Press, £48.00) Douglas Hyde/Dubhlas de hÍde served as Ireland’s first president from 1938 to 1945. This was the very highest distinction which the new state and the people of Ireland could bestow. Hyde himself was a man who…

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