Category: Reviews

Life in rural Ireland, two generations ago

The Bogman by Walter Macken [1952] (Modern Irish Classics/New Island Books, €11.95) Walter Macken may be a familiar name to some of our readers. In the 1960s, he was a hit author, with a best-selling trilogy of historical novels, and before that he was a successful actor and playwright with the Abbey Theatre. Knowing this, New…

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Recent books in brief

Time to Call Home by Hugh O’Donnell (Veritas, €14.99/£12.90) Fr Hugh O’Donnell SDB lives in Dublin’s inner-city, where he helps minister to the local parish. But in his writing and poetry he explores what he sees as “ecological spirituality”. Doubtless the cityscape that surrounds his daily life sharpens the contrast with what should be the true ecological…

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Recalling the contribution of the RDS to the arts

A long-standing friend invited myself and two other close acquaintances to lunch at the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) recently – outside of course in accordance with Government regulations. But the sun shone and the company was convivial. As might be expected the conversation was never far from music and we recalled the RDS’ contribution to…

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The Black and Tans: naming names

The Black & Tans 1920-1921: A Complete Alphabetical, Short History and Genealogical Guide by Jim Herlihy (Four Courts Press, €50/£45.00, also in paperback) Back in 1971 the Rev. Professor Edward Norman remarked in his controversial History of Modern Ireland that journalist Richard Bennett›s sensational 1959 book on the Black and Tans, the only one that then existed, read…

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A lost poem by Roger Casement

Research in Victorian newspapers and journals occupies much of my time away from these pages. The other day searching through the 1891 volume of WT Stead’s influential Review of Reviews, I came across an item which it seemed to me would be of great interest to many of our readers, a “lost poem” by no less…

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A selection of new releases

Fatima was originally scheduled for last August. Its release was delayed for almost a year because of Covid. The virus gives it a strangely appropriate backdrop. It’s like a metaphor for the horrors of World War I. The war underpins Marco Pontecorvo’s uplifting evocation of the beatific visions of three Portuguese children in 1917. Both…

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The legacy of the enigmatic Parnell

Parnell and his times ed. by Joep Leerssen (Cambridge University Press, £30.00) Felix M. Larkin It is often difficult to find an appropriate print outlet for a scholarly paper prepared for a particular occasion or otherwise in a very specific context. The fruits of much research and reflection are thereby lost. A volume like this is,…

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