Christmas Books

Our Books Editor Peter Costello makes recommendations for you to place in someone’s Christmas stocking…   Hey Grandude by Paul McCartney (Puffin Books, £12.99) This is a fun book which granddads of a certain age will enjoy reading with the grandchildren. It is odd to think of Paul McCartney himself as a grandfather – how…

Seizing hold of life

Shooting and Cutting: A survivors guide to film-making and other diseases by Stephen Bradley (Mercier Press, €14.99) Film maker Stephen Bradley is the creator of Noble, the 2014 drama about the true life story of Christina Noble, the children’s rights campaigner and charity worker in Vietnam, who founded the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation. Some years ago Bradley was…

Renovating your spiritual home

Under Construction: Working with the Architect by Neil O’Boyle (SPCK, £8.99) The literary conceit behind this book is an original one. Author O’Boyle takes the idea of revamping your home, from the garden and front hall up to the bedroom, and gives it a spiritual twist. Most of us will have worked with either a…

Rome: the city to which all roads lead

Rome: A Pilgrim Guide by Michael Rear, illustrated by Hilary Griffiths (Gracewing, £14.99)   Quite by chance the day before this book arrived on my desk I had been looking into the generally excellent Michelin Green Guide series Guide to Rome. This covers a great deal of ground, but for what I was looking for it was…

The Middle 
Ages in light 
and darkness

A Matter of Interpretation by Elizabeth MacDonald (Fairlight Books, £12.99) Elizabeth MacDonald’s absorbing novel is built up around the character of the celebrated Michael Scot – now known to be of Scottish rather than Irish origin – and his relations with the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Hohenstaufen II and various other players in the Middle…

‘Christmas is coming….’ — books   for Advent

Dipping into Advent: Reflections for Advent & Christmas by Alan Hilliard (Messenger Publications, €9.95) Sacred Space: Advent & Christmas 2019-2020 by The Irish Jesuits (Messenger Publications, €4.95) Candles in the Night: The Advent Experience by Anna Burke (Veritas, €7.99/£7.00) Whatever about family feasting, fun and commercial excess, Christmas for Christians of all traditions around the…

The second city

101 Reasons why Cork is Better than Dublin by Jim Fitzpatrick (Mercier Press, €6.99 / £5.99) Dubliners will need a lot of persuading that there is any substance in Jim Fitzpatrick’s notion that Cork is a better place: if it is why are so many Corkonians in Dublin? The rivalries of the two cities are…

The unique Irish enthusiasm for Lourdes

The Village of Bernadette: The Irish Connections – Lourdes Stories, Miracles & Cures by Colm Keane & Una O’Hagan (Capel Island, €14.99) Lourdes has long been a premier destination of Irish pilgrims. It has answered to something in the Irish psyche. This is the theme that the husband and wife writing team of Colm Keane…

The people’s priest, bar none

It Has to be Said by Brian D’Arcy (Sliabh Bán Productions, €24.00/£22.00) Next month, Fr Brian D’Arcy will celebrate a half century in the priesthood. This book is a second tranche of his life story, at the beginning of which he thanks his Passionist brethren for all their understanding since he entered their order in…

Scenes from vanished Irelands

View Ireland: Collecting Photography Curated by Anne Hodge, Curator of Prints and Drawings; and Sarah McAuliffe, Curatorial Fellow, NGI Hugh Lane Room, NGI, Merrion Square West, Dublin 2, runs to 2 February 2020 The first image that meets the eye of the visitor to this select show of Irish photographs is one of Evelyn Hofer’s…