Books

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Unmanageable revolutionaries

Margaret Ward’s ground-breaking book on revolutionary women in Ireland, Unmanageable Revolutionaries: Women and Irish Nationalism, 1880–1980 (1983), was republished in an updated, revised and richly illustrated new edition by Arlen House in late 2021. It is a superb introduction to some of the great women in Irish history since Anna […]

Books

Two book launches

This month Connolly Books will play host to two book launches.      On 15 July, at 7pm, Conor Magahy will launch his first book, Posh Mackers, a moving and at times humorous account of his early childhood in Dublin, set between the years 1978 and 1988. It tells the story […]

Books Culture

Irish Rebels in Latin America

Tomás Mac Síomóin, From One Bright Island Flown: Irish Rebels, Exiles, and Martyrs in Latin America (Nuascéalta, 2022; €9.10 / £7.30). Available on line. The defeat of the Gaelic Irish, supported by Spanish forces, at the Battle of Kinsale in 1602 was the final blow in the English conquest of […]

Books Culture Poetry

Land of the Ever Young

■ Jenny Farrell (editor), Land of the Ever Young: An Anthology of Writing for Children by Working People from Contemporary Ireland (Culture Matters, 2021; €12) If the cultural mainstream is an expression of the ruling ideas in a society, and therefore the ideas of the ruling class, then children’s literature […]

Books Culture

Working-class voices

The 32: An Anthology of Irish Working-Class Voices, edited by Paul McVeigh, 2021 (€12.50 / £8.75) Working-class writing is coming to the fore in Ireland. The 32 follows the publication of two anthologies of working people’s writing, The Children of the Nation (Culture Matters, 2019) and From the Plough to the Stars (Culture Matters, 2020). All three […]

Books Culture

How should we read Sally Rooney?

Sally Rooney’s hotly anticipated latest novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You, frames a taut interpersonal drama of interlinked friendships and romance against the wider context of history, class, and labour, exploring the inherent ridiculousness of millennial existence in an increasingly fraught, complicated world. Rooney’s self-avowed Marxist credentials are apparent in this most […]

Books

Shuggie Bain | Book Review

■ Douglas Stuart, Shuggie Bain (New York: Grove Press, 2020) Douglas Stuart won the 2020 Booker Prize for his debut novel, Shuggie Bain, set in his home town, Glasgow, in the 1980s. Like many working-class writers, Stuart found himself doubting the value of his story. “I used to ask myself, […]

Books Culture

The innumerable facets of a true story

Colum McCann, Apeirogon (London: Bloomsbury, 2020) In the context of the recent escalation of violence in the Middle East, and Ireland’s condemnation de facto of Israel’s annexation policy, this book by Colum McCann is worth reading more than ever. Unlike a pentagon, an apeirogon has an infinite number of sides, […]

Books Culture

Priests of the Resistance

Revd Fergus Butler-Gallie, Priests de la Resistance! (London: Oneworld Publications, 2019) With a jokey title like that, an equally jokey subtitle (The Loose Canons Who Fought Fascism in the Twentieth Century), and a super-scrupulous attention to his own title (“the Revd Fergus Butler-Gallie”), I should have sensed something fishy, but […]

Books History

A valuable contribution

■ Patrick Magee, Where Grieving Begins: Building Bridges after the Brighton Bomb (London: Pluto Press, 2021) Patrick Magee’s memoir is an insight into both his personal history and what was for decades the harsh experience of life for Northern Ireland’s non-unionist community. Although he will forever be identified with the […]

Books Culture Ireland

Irish as spectacle

Manchán Magan, Thirty-Two Words for Field (Dublin: Gill Books, 2020). This acclaimed book ostensibly celebrates the Irish-speaking community in Co. Kerry, where the author spent his holidays as a young man. He explores the rich vocabulary of traditional Irish-speakers and their words for natural phenomena: the weather, the sea, plants, […]