Irish Lit & Times discussion

Quintessential Irish history

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I want the quintessential Irish history. My wife and I are traveling to the home of my ancestors--well, some of them--this year, and I want to supplement all my Irish folklore and satire reading through the years.

message 2: by David (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:02PM) (new)

David (david_giltinan) | 6 comments Brendan -

Two suggestions:

1. The Course of Irish History (edited by T.W. Moody and F.X. Martin), published by the Mercier Press. My copy is the revised edition of 1994; I don't know if it has been updated since then.

The book is based on a TV series, and consists of 23 chapters, each by a different author. It covers all of Irish history up through 1994. approx 500 pages.

2. Modern Ireland 1600-1972 by R.F. Foster. Quite a bit more detailed, this book runs to roughly 650 pages, and was very well-received when it was first published in 1988. It has a unity of style that the other book lacks, and Foster writes fluidly. However, as the title indicates, its temporal scope is somewhat more limited.

message 3: by Peter (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:02PM) (new)

Peter | 8 comments Ditto on the Moody and Martin text, a staple in Irish schools for the last thirty-some-odd years.

Foster is indeed the quintessential chronicler of Irish history, the most influential, probably, since Leckey. F.S.L. Lyons was, I think, a better writer and a better historian, but he did not engage a subject in the same epic scope that Foster does.

For a bit of whimsy mixed with your history -- while still managing to find a comprehensive survey of Irish history -- try Seumas (sic) MacManus's "Story of the Irish Race". Written at the end of the nineteenth century (if memory serves me correctly), it still treats what now most consider to be artifacts of Irish mythology (the Fir Bolg, the Tuatha de Danaan, Cuchullain, etc.) as history. Very entertaining and surprisingly informative.

Karl Bottigheimer's Ireland and the Irish" is a competent overview of Irish history, from the coming of the Celts to the "Troubles" of the late 20th century.

And for those who like their Irish history with a little right-wing spin, there's always Maire and Conor Cruise O' Brien's Concise History of Ireland.

Hope this helps.

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

"According to Irish folklore, if a master knitter placed her needles in the hands of a newborn baby, that baby would grow up to be a master knitter herself. The tale has it that master knitters willing to share their status were hard to come by and liquor was often used to ply the needles out of the older woman's hands and into the baby's."

2008 Knitting pattern a day Calendar

hahahaha - I love it!

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