Category: Books

Keeping control of the Nation’s money

No Complaints: A Memoir of Life in Rural Ireland and in the Irish Public Service by Maurice O’Connell; edited by J. Anthony Gaughan (Kingdom Books, €15.00) Ciaran Casey Former ministers for finance have demonstrated a welcome readiness to publish memoirs in recent years. We now have offerings from five of the seven office-holders from the period…

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Days of Darkness in 1950s’ Wexford

Snow, a Novel by John Banville (Faber &Faber,£14.99/€17.50) Derek Hand Abandoning the nom de plume of Benjamin Black – the name under which appeared a highly successful series of crime novels – John Banville has finally embraced as his own the thriller genre with this murder mystery Snow. The creation of this mask and the sleight of hand it entailed,…

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Following Newman’s Way

The Gentle Saint: A pilgrimage to Oxford, Dublin and Rome in the Footprints of Saint John Henry Newman by Patricia O’Leary (Gracewing, £12.99) To many readers Patricia O’Leary will be a familiar name, as she contributed a column to this newspaper for some 14 years. By metier a Cork-based journalist, she also studied catechetics and scripture at…

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Finding a spiritual way forward

The Art of Spiritual Direction: a guide to Ignatian practice by Jos Moons SJ, with a foreword by Paul Nicholson SJ (Messenger Publications, €19.99/£18.99) Most of us recognise in areas of our life and leisure that training is important, and that practice is needed to keep in trim. Yet when it comes to matters of the…

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Self-Help in hard times

How to be Our Best Self in Times of Crisis by Stuart Breen and Tom Gunning (Veritas, €7.99) As human beings we seemed made to thrive at times in moments of danger. Yet the present pandemic, being what it is, created great and unexpected troubles: physical, mental and spiritual. This little book by two writers…

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The eventful history of Kerry in Tudor Days

Deeds Not Words: The Survival of the Fitzmaurices Lords of Kerry 1550 to 1603 by Martin Moore (Gabha Beag publications,€20.00) This splendid study examines the political and military roles of the Fitzmaurices, Lords of Kerry and Barons of Lixnaw, in the Tudor Years of 1550 to 1603. It shows their involvement in local, national and…

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A Poet’s Lost Year by Desmond Egan

Readers may forgive me at this season of peace and goodwill, having already written about my most enjoyed book of last year (The Irish Catholic December 24, 2020), for concluding here my thoughts about 2020 with something I wrote during this Covid-19 year, which – I now discover – seems curiously ad rem: A Poem for 2021 Bunting…

The Holy Land in early modern images

For centuries Jerusalem and the Holy Land was a place of great mystique, the hope of pious pilgrims as the object of a once in a lifetime visit. But over the course of the long nineteenth century this began to change: new techniques of image making and reproduction began to alter the ideas that people…

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