Category: Reviews

Over much of the 19th Century a round tower, a ruined church, a recumbent wolf hound and a harpist were the instantly recognised symbols of both Ireland’s past and its rising hopes of recovering some of that faded ancient glory again in modern times. Those modern times have brought other symbols, but the round towers…

In her teens Shirley du Boulay fell in love with a beech tree. If this sounds like some hyper Green Party activity it is not. What she went through was a mystical experience akin to those of many saints, and some poets and artists, echoes here of Vaughan, Traherne, Blake, Wordsworth, and Samuel Palmer. She…

J. Anthony Gaughan For almost 800 years from their arrival with the first wave of Anglo-Normans in 1169, the FitzGeralds – earls of Kildare and, from 1766, dukes of Leinster – were the pre-eminent noble family residing in Ireland, dominating the social, political, economic and cultural landscapes.  This collection of essays by scholars associated with…

This landmark series, several of which have already been reviewed in these pages, continues with a biography of a truly key figure in the Rising, Seán MacDiarmada, the national organiser of the IRA and the military mind behind the insurrection. Brian Feeney teaches in Belfast and is the author of Sinn Féin: A Hundred Turbulent Years.…

This is an updated edition of Michael Collins’ book which was first published in 2008. However, in text, captions and illustrations, account has been taken of the momentous changes over the last year. So this edition now includes details on the transition to Pope Francis. As with all Dorling Kindersley books, The Vatican depends very…

J. Anthony Gaughan This is an account of the revolutionary years in County Mayo from 1917 to the petering out of the Civil War in 1924.  The applications for pensions by veterans of the War of Independence are a key source for a study of this kind and the author makes good use of them. …

Peter Hegarty Trees and forests are the leitmotivs in a collection of elegant, informed essays each of which explores JRR Tolkien’s extensive imaginarium from a different perspective.  As Tolkie, whose work was permeated by the culture of early medieval England, was perhaps the mostly widely read Catholic author of recent times this book, though academic…