Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Book: Malachy McCourt’s History of Ireland



Malachy McCourt’s History of Ireland
Running Press, Philadelphia, 2004




This history “is a series of stories: the stories of the men and women who made Ireland’s history. Each is individual in itself, and makes a wondrous tale alone. But together, as a whole, they tell a story of Ireland."

I wish I’d had the chance to visit my Irish family; the Coyles in their small thatch roofed stone house in rural County Cavan or the Mullanes in their more urban home on the hillside in Clonmel, County Tipperary. I wish I could have sat beside a fire, looked into their freckled faces, and heard the stories of our family and tales of Ireland. Reading the stories in this book is like hearing those stories, night after night, a new tale each evening from the early days of the country and slowly moving to the modern world. A country is no more and no less than the people who live and have lived there. Knowing their triumphs and failures, their dreams and their daily drudgeries is learning the spirit of the land.

If you want to visit Ireland without leaving home, pick up a copy of this book from your library. Malachy McCourt knows how to tell a story. When I read this book I can hear the rhythm of Irish speech in the words and almost smell the wood smoke from my ancestor’s home.




Contents

Ireland before Patrick
The Land of Saints & Scholars
The Viking Invasion and the High Kings of Ireland
The Tudor Conquest and the Fall of the Gaelic World
The Seventeenth Century: Destruction, Chaos, and Loss
The Great Patriots
Ireland After the Great Hunger
A Terrible Beauty is Born: Proclaiming the Republic
A Century of Irish Voices
Birth Pangs of a New Nation
Ireland in the Modern World
People of Passion
People of Peace
A Chance for Reconciliation
The Celtic Tiger and the New Ireland
Epilogue
List of Works
Index




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