Category: Books

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…

Soul refreshing scenes across Ireland

Wild Stories from the Irish Uplands by John G. O’Dwyer (Currach Books, €14.99) The author is a veteran hiker with over thirty years experience of leading walking and mountaineering groups through the Irish countryside.  In this collection of essays he visits a number of well-known uplands across the country and recalls their association with historical…

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…

A model Irishman 
for modern times

The Globalist: Peter Sutherland – his Life and Legacy by John Walsh (HarperCollins, £20.00) Garrett
 Sheehan   This review comes with a caveat: the writer was a classmate and friend of the late Peter Sutherland. That said this is a carefully researched, well organized and superbly written first biography in which the author John Walsh…

Eye witness to the shocking agony of Spain

The Salamanca Diaries: Father McCabe and the Spanish Civil War by Tim Fanning (Merrion Press, €19.95) Joe Carroll   For over 300 years, Irish priests who trained in Salamanca brought back traces of Spanish culture to parishes the length and breadth of Ireland. There are references in Patrick Kavanagh’s Tarry Flynn to the parish priest…

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…

Shamrocks in the ‘melting pot’

The Tribe: The Inside Story of Irish Power and Influence in US Politics by Caitríona Perry (Gill Books, €22.99/ £19.99) Felix 
M. 
Larkin   It is often said that the US is a “melting pot”, a fusion of nationalities and ethnicities – but that is true only to some extent. Many Americans, even those whose…