An heroic figure of charity

Friend of the Poor. Mary Aikenhead: Woman of Vision, Commitment and Inspiration by Rosaleen Crossan (Columba Press, €12.99) Pope Francis declared Mary Aikenhead to be Venerable on March 18, 2015. This is the first step towards canonisation. It was a much deserved accolade. Mary was born in Cork on January 19, 1787. Her father, David…

Irish and Queen Bess

The Nugents of Westmeath & Queen Elizabeth’s Irish Primer by Denis Casey (Four Courts Press, €9.95) The Nugent family trace their beginning to Gilbert de Nugent of Normandy, the 1st Baron of Delvin, who arrived in Ireland in the 12th Century.  By the middle of the 16th Century they were well and truly Anglo-Irish. At…

The progress of a man who wanted change

J. Anthony Gaughan Walter Carpenter: A Revolutionary Life by Ellen Galvin RSC (East Wall History Group, €5, or a donation to Cycle for Suicide charity; contact East Wall History Group at eastwallhistory@gmail.com) This little biography of Walter Carpenter is an authentic expression of Pietas. Written by a granddaughter, a retired nun based in Dublin, it…

Appalling vistas in Eastern Africa

Tall Grass: Stories of Suffering & Peace in Northern Uganda by Carlos Rodríguez Soto (Fountain Publishers, Kampala, Uganda, £23.00pb; available via Amazon) The author, a Spanish priest, is a member of the Comboni Missionary Society. He served for 25 years in the society’s mission in Northern Uganda. Apart from three years in Kampala, editing a diocesan magazine,…

Shane the Vain and the passing of the Old Ireland

Shane O’Neill by Ciaran Brady (Irish Historical Association/UCD Press, €17.00) This is an account of a complex character who lived in a period when the fortunes of the leaders of Irish Clans could change frequently and sometimes with dire consequences. Shane O’Neill was born into the O’Neill Clan c. 1530. The O’Neills at that time presided over…