Explaining the Irish to the English…at long, long last?

The Irish Difference: A Tumultuous History of Ireland’s Breakup With Britain by Fergal Tobin (Atlantic Books, £18.99/€22.99) This book grew out of the author’s exasperation at how ignorance of Ireland was an important factor in the pro-Brexit vote, especially in England as distinct from the other parts of the United Kingdom. The “fabled British elite…should…

What the files reveal about Ulster’s defenders

UDR Declassified, by Micheal Smith (Merrion Press, €18.95/£14.50) The Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) was set up in late 1969 as the Ulster Special Constabulary (B Specials) was being disbanded as a result of its role in the sectarian violence which broke out in Derry and Belfast the previous August. Inevitably, large numbers of the B…

Fake nun barred from Clonard Monastery

A woman dressed as a nun has been banned by a court from going within 150 yards of Clonard Monastery. Rachel Mulcahy was served with an interim injunction following complaints from some priests at Clonard about her disruptive behaviour, and an application for a full injunction is to be heard at Laganside court later this…

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Shaping up the Men in Blue

Changing of the Guard: Jack Marrinan’s battle to modernise An Garda Síochána by Tim Doyle (Currach Books, €20.00 / £17.99) In the 1950s a revolt was stirring in the lower ranks of An Garda. Although a much sought after permanent job, especially in rural Ireland, working conditions were tough, especially for the younger members who…

Ireland’s quest for its true place in the modern world

A History of Ireland in International Relations by Owen McGee (Irish Academic Press, €24.95/£21.99 In this book the author takes up the challenge of the late Garret FitzGerald to future historians that “the international economic context behind Irish political history” should be “fully integrated into the narrative of both the Irish state and its international relations”.…