Category: Books

Civilians are the first casualties of modern wars

War, Suffering and the Struggle for Human Rights by Peadar King (Liffey Press, €19.95/£18.95) Anthony
 Redmond I remember many years ago, when I read Wilfred Owen’s powerful anti-war poem, Dulce Et Decorum Est, how deeply it affected me with its description of the sheer horror, obscenity and cruelty of war. It was a poem that really made…

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A visit to Clonmacnoise in the mid 40s

Summer outings (No.3 in a six-part series) Clonmacnoise is one of the most remarkable places in Ireland. However, back in the late 1940s, the Emergency had left it even more isolated, a place which in the right light could seem unchanged since Early Christian times in Ireland. One of the pioneers of exploring Ireland’s inland…

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The pleasures of our search for the true and the good

Lost in Thought. The Hidden Pleasures of Intellectual Life by Zena Hitz (Princeton University Press, £18.99) Frank Litton The world is too much with us. The most distinctive feature of Irish culture is its contempt for all things intellectual. Consider the questions that occupy us in the daily round. Because we are social animals, we seek…

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Revolutionary days of fear relived in Ireland

Freedom is a Land I Cannot See by Peter Cunningham (Sandstone Press, £8.99) Peter Cunningham’s latest novel, Freedom is a Land I Cannot See, is one of his best. He shows great skill and sympathy in evoking living conditions of a century ago, when Ireland, or more particularly north rural Dublin was passing through revolutionary turmoil,…

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Impressions of Lough Derg in the 1890s

Summer outings (No.2 in a six-part series) Daniel
 O’Connor The Canon Daniel O’Connor (1843-1919) was the parish priest in the 1890s in whose domain Lough Derg and the ancient Shrine of St Patrick’s Purgatory lay. He was one of its first real historians of the place, a writer who devoted many years to collecting and…

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A fearless and truly great woman for a cause

Fearless Woman: Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington, Feminism and the Irish Revolutionary by Margaret Ward (University College Press, €30/£25) Hanna Sheehy Skeffington was born on May 24, 1877 in Kanturk, Co. Cork. She came from a well-known nationalist family. Fr Eugene Sheehy, her uncle, was a leading figure in the Land League and a close associate of the Irish…