Dark days in the city of Kinsale

The Great Famine in Kinsale by Catherine Flanagan (Four Courts Press, €9.95) Catherine Flanagan gives us an account of the Great Famine in Kinsale and its hinterland. At the outset she describes the social and economic conditions in the area before the famine. The lower classes – cottiers and labourers – made up 80% of the…

The making of a diocese in early modern Ireland

Walking Backwards to Heaven? Hope and the Catholics of Cloyne Diocese, 1700 – 1830 by Martin Millerick (Diocese of Cloyne, €10.00 + 3.40 Postage Eire, €5.70 UK; Cathedral Bookshop, Cobh, Cloyne Diocesan Office & bookshops)   Martin Millerick’s new book is a scholarly history of the Catholic diocese of Cloyne in the 17th and 18th Centuries.…

Tales from the Munster Circuit and beyond

Under the Bed by Robert Pierse (A Little Platoon, €15.00; copies from bookshops, or jm.murphy@outlook.ie / 087 1844378, for €20 inc. post and packaging)   This is a collection of interesting stories, drawn from the lawyer author’s experience of many different places and people, many, however, close to home on the Munster Circuit by a solicitor…

Rebuilding the shattered fanes

Picking up the Shards by Donal Murray (Veritas, €12.99 / £11.52) The author begins with a story about Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago. Before he died, in a conversation with some of his priests he said: “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr…

Why is Irish not our spoken language?

Gaeilge: A Radical Revolution by Caoimín De Barra (Currach Press, €14.99) This is an interesting polemic which argues that Irish should and could be restored as the generally spoken language of most people in the Republic of Ireland. In the introduction the author acknowledges that most people have already made up their minds on this…

The Irish as achievers

What Have the Irish ever Done for Us? by David Forsythe (Currach Books, €14.99). This is an interesting collection of brief biographical accounts of Irish people who have made a significant impact on the world at large. The author defines an Irish person as one born in Ireland, or residing in the country, or identifying as…

The popular art of the local printer

Listowel, a Printer’s Legacy: The Story of Printing in North Kerry 1870-1970, Vincent Carmody (Vincent Carmody, €35.00; ISBN: 9780992698898; email: info@listoweloriginals.com or call +353 (0) 87 966 7112.) This publication provides an account of the Cuthbertson family who conducted a printing business in Listowel for almost a hundred years. Robert Irvine Cuthbertson was born in…

Finding ‘room to live’ in the Irish Free State

Protestant and Irish: The minority’s search for place in independent Ireland Ian d’Alton and Ida Milne (Cork University Press, €49.00) This collection of essays provides a comprehensive account of Irish Protestants – their attitudes, the decisions they took and their role in public life – after the Irish Free State was established in 1922. Following the…

A philosopher’s quest in the wilderness of life

John Moriarty: Not the Whole Story by Mary McGillicuddy (Lilliput Press. €20.00) John Moriarty has published some fascinating books. Written in a baroque style, they are dotted with quotations from the classics of world literature. They also include numerous allusions and references to a wide variety of civilisations, cultures, mythologies, philosophies, religions and the great minds…