Sun, sea and a special vision of Spain

Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light, an exhibition Beit Wing (Rooms 6-10), National Gallery of Ireland, Merrion Square Dublin 2 Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light by Gabriele Finaldi and others, published to accompany the exhibition (National Gallery Company London /distributed by Yale University Press, £30.00/€35.00)   This exhibition is the first ever mounted in Ireland, so…

The myth of the decisive victory

Battles that Changed History: Epic conflicts explored and explained by Phillip Parker, R.G. Grant & Andrew Humphreys, foreword by Sir Tony Robinson (Dorling Kindersley, £20.00) There is something deep in the male psyche that loves wars and tales of wars. Women with their very different view of the world are generally unmoved by tales of war,…

The last illuminated books…what next?

Mainly About Books by the books editor   At this time of year a long queue snakes around the square in front of Trinity College’s Old Library, those in it waiting patiently to gain access to see the Book of Kells. Other ancient manuscripts are preserved in Ireland, some of which can be visited online.…

The ‘lost city’ of Eblana

Mainly About Books by the books editor   The publication in late 2016 of Pat Wallace’s Viking Dublin (Irish Academic Press, €60.00), was a summation of decades of work by two generations of archaeologists from the National Museum and others, to define the city’s beginnings. However, the book has nothing really to say about pre-Viking…

Walled around with God

The Joy of God: Collected Writings by Sr Mary David with a foreword by Fr Erik Vardan (Bloomsbury, £12.99) This collection of essays, or rather talks, reveals a very interesting character. The author Sr Mary David had a late vocation. American born she was educated there, attending Loyola University and the University of Virginia, before crossing…

Jacob Rees-Mogg’s lost opportunity

The Victorians: The Titans Who Forged Modern Britain by Jacob Rees-Mogg (W.H. Allen, €20.00) At the time of writing the futures of Brexit and the British Conservative party are still unsettled. But whatever happens we can expect the author of this book to have some role in it. Jacob Rees-Mogg is being spoken of by some…

The wide-awake City of the Tribes

An Urban Sketcher’s Galway by Róisín Curé (Currach Books, €22.99) My wife and I often go down to Galway by train to have lunch, then a walk in Salthill by the sea, rounded off with a browse in Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop – truly the best in Ireland. The city, in our experience has changed dramatically since…

The camel in Drumcliffe churchyard

Mainly About Books by the books editor   The other week in the course of a visit to Sligo, we spent part of a morning in Drumcliffe churchyard. We had been there before – what poetry lover in Ireland does not want to see the beautifully located grave of W.B. Yeats? The church – which…

One tale not told in the crypt

Mainly about books by the books editor   Under the City Hall of Dublin at the top of Dame Street – right in the heart of Dublin – one of the rooms of the basement crypt has been converted into a charming little café, the rest of the vaults to a museum devoted to unrolling…