Tag Archives: Great irish Non-Fiction

Number 13: Maamtrasna: The Murders and the Mystery by Jarlath Waldron

Selected by: ‘Lobster’

First published: 1992 by Edmund Burke, Dublin.

Why: “This book details the savage murder of an entire family in a beautiful but isolated part of Ireland in 1882. The book looks into the murders, but also the background of extreme isolation and poverty, and the investigation by the Crown forces which followed. The investigation itself was hugely influenced by the politics of the time, serving to heap tragedy upon tragedy, in a way that echoed not just in the area local to the crime, but throughout Ireland, and even had repercussions for the British government of the time. All in all, it’s a fascinating and gripping account of a true story.”

Personal resonance
: “A friend loaned me the book years ago, and it stayed with me as it paints a picture of an Ireland not really known to me, even though I would have spent time in many of the areas mentioned within the book.”

Who would like this? “Anybody with an interest in Irish history or a love of murder mysteries”

Available? Still in stock at De Burca Rare Books. Also available at your local library.

Previously:
Maurice Craig
Damien Shiels
Emily O’Reilly
Graham Howard
David Flanagan
Maura ‘Soshin’ O’Halloran
Kevin C Kearns
Ed Moloney
Gene Kerrigan
Bobby Sands
George O’Brien
Eamonn Sweeney
Terence Patrick Dolan

Great-Irish Non-Fiction’ is a reading list of 100 books chosen by YOU and highlighted over the coming weeks. If you would like to include a favourite leave your suggestion below.

Number 12: Dublin 1660 -1860: The Shaping of a City by Maurice Craig

Selected by: Stan

First Published: 1952, revised 1969, numerous reissues since, most recently a hardback special edition by the Liberties Press in 2009.

Why? “Ostensibly an architectural history of Dublin, it is in fact, a biography of the place, a city that emerges as a capricious and moody character, prone to fits of near catatonic depression and withdrawal, interspersed with periods of manic growth and energy.”

It Stays with You:
“If you spend enough time with it, it teaches you to see the city as Craig did, not as a statically glorious monument to a ragged Georgian peak, but as a constantly re-written text. Though he wrote it at a time when that heritage was beginning to be appreciated, he was neither a snob or a reactionary. He understood the city as a site of struggle throughout – inside and outside the walls, north and south sides, catholic and protestant, and as a stage for a constantly changing population of immigrants.”

Legacy: “More than anything, it reminds you that the boom and bust cycle of the last few decades seems to be written into the DNA of Dublin: the ‘magnificent’ Georgian Squares were thrown up by less than scrupulous speculators who would have been perfectly at home during the Tiger years, and the time during which Dublin briefly swelled into one of Europe’s biggest cities before falling into a near 150 year decline reads like a pre-figuring echo of more recent vanities.”

Availability: Out of stock; Available at Amazon and eBay and in some library branches nationwide (list here).

Previously:

Damien Shiels
Emily O’Reilly
Graham Howard
David Flanagan
Maura ‘Soshin’ O’Halloran
Kevin C Kearns
Ed Moloney
Gene Kerrigan
Bobby Sands
George O’Brien
Eamonn Sweeney
Terence Patrick Dolan

Great-Irish Non-Fiction’ is a reading list of 100 books chosen by YOU and highlighted over the coming weeks. If you would like to include a favourite leave your suggestion below.

Number 11: The Irish in the American Civil War by Damian Shiels

Selected by: Papi

First published: October, 2012 by The History press.

Why: “A painstakingly researched labour of love. The level of detail means it is not a dry recitation of lists and rolls, but an actual look into the human aspects of being an Irishman and woman in the American civil war. The book is written, not as a civil war book, but as a chapter of Irish history that happens to be based within that conflict”

It stays with you: “Because of the staggering stories of both the heartbreak of war, but also the families left behind and futures both lost and made of almost 200,000 Irish soldiers on both sides of the war.”

Who would like this? “Any student of history, or admirer of stories of day to day people in the past – made all the more poignant due to the massive number whose stories aren’t told in the book – would be a big fan of this book.”

Availability: Still in stock; Also available in most library branches nationwide (list here).

Previously:
Emily O’Reilly
Graham Howard
David Flanagan
Maura ‘Soshin’ O’Halloran
Kevin C Kearns
Ed Moloney
Gene Kerrigan
Bobby Sands
George O’Brien
Eamonn Sweeney
Terence Patrick Dolan

Great-Irish Non-Fiction’ is a reading list of 100 books chosen by YOU and highlighted over the coming weeks. If you would like to include a favourite leave your suggestion below.

Number  10: : Masterminds of the Right by Emily O’Reilly

Selected by: Barbara

First published: 1992 (Attic Press)

Why:Masterminds of the Right investigated and exposed the shadowy world of right-wing forces that plotted the 1983 referendum on abortion and the 1992 Maastricht Protocol to deny women reproductive rights. It is a slim volume that succinctly traces the links and agendas of individuals and organisations at work behind the scenes, but close to Official Ireland, who were determined to introduce and maintain regressive and socially conservative initiatives.”

It stays with you: “Because it is almost chilling to discover the power these people and groups exercised over politicians and the judiciary, not just in the 1980s where a “national” constitutional issue was at stake but much later in 1992 for the great European initiative that was Maastricht. It is also chilling to realise the ease with which these forces moved almost invisibly to wield huge power without any accountability.”

Who would like this? “Anyone interested in the roots of the opposition to the recent referenda on marriage equality and abortion, many of who may be too young to remember the darkness of the 1983 campaign to insert the Eight Amendment into the Irish Constitution, and the shadowy world occupied by the masterminds of the Right.”

Availability: Not currently in print; available on Amazon and elsewhere online; Also available in most library branches nationwide (list here).

Great-Irish Non-Fiction’ is a reading list of 100 books chosen by YOU and highlighted over the coming weeks. If you would like to include a favourite leave your suggestion below.

Previously:
Graham Howard
David Flanagan
Maura ‘Soshin’ O’Halloran
Kevin C Kearns
Ed Moloney
Gene Kerrigan
Bobby Sands
George O’Brien
Eamonn Sweeney
Terence Patrick Dolan

Number 9: A Fan For All Seasons by Graham Howard

Selected by: Cillian

First published: 2017

Availability: On Amazon, Waterstones online store and available as an ebook.

Why?: “It is the only book that I’m aware of that charts the history of the League of Ireland from its inception to the modern day. The book is told with great affection for football throughout the different eras.”

It Stays with you: “It is full of surprising facts, stories and anecdotes from the league. The book brings to life many characters and incidents League of Ireland fans will be aware of either directly or through word of mouth. The writing conveys a sense of being there on the terraces; whether in the 1920s or the 2000s.”

Who would like this?: “Anyone who has an interest in Irish football, local heroes and local sport. Anyone who has passed through a League of Ireland turnstile; from the fair-weather fan to the fanatic season goer.”

Great-Irish Non-Fiction’ is a reading list of 100 books chosen by YOU and highlighted over the coming weeks. If you would like to include a favourite leave your suggestion below.

Previously:

David Flanagan
Maura ‘Soshin’ O’Halloran
Kevin C Kearns
Ed Moloney
Gene Kerrigan
Bobby Sands
George O’Brien
Terence Patrick Dolan

Number 8: ‘Exploring Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way’ by David Flanagan & Richard Creagh and ‘Cycling in Ireland’ by David Flanagan.

Selected by: Brian

First Published: Wild Atlantic Way (2016), Cycling (2018) by Three Rock Books.

Available: From public libraries, bookshops and the publisher: Exploring Ireland’s Wild Athantic Way and Cycling in Ireland.

Why? “Both books are beautifully illustrated and contain comprehensive maps, diagrams, descriptions and tips to help readers get the most from touring along the Wild Atlantic Way or exploring Ireland from a bike saddle.”

Who would like this? “Anyone seeking to explore the West of Ireland by car, bike or foot or planning cycling trips around Ireland.”

Anything else? “For those with a ‘head for heights’, there are also Rock Climbing in Ireland   and Bouldering in Ireland from the same publisher.”

Great-Irish Non-Fiction’ is a reading list of 100 books chosen by YOU and highlighted over the coming weeks. If you would like to include a favourite leave your suggestion below.

Previously:
Maura ‘Soshin’ O’Halloran
Kevin C Kearns
Ed Moloney
Gene Kerrigan
Bobby Sands
George O’Brien
Terence Patrick Dolan

Number 7: Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind by Maura ‘Soshin’ O’Halloran

Selected by: Lilly

First published: 1994

Available? Still in stock and at most library branches nationwide (details here).

Why: “This is the story of an Irish woman who went to live in a Buddhist monastery in Japan. It is full of unexpected detail – lots of sweeping and struggling to meditate mixed in with moments of euphoria and humour and fun. At the end of her time there, she really seemed to have attained wisdom and although the monks wanted her to stay on as their leader, she decided her future lay at home.  Sadly, she was killed in a bus accident in Thailand, on holiday before returning to Ireland. It struck me at the time as a huge loss, but I also felt her life had been complete.”

What it meant to me: “It felt honest and real, full of insights and a beautiful read (probably a bit of escapism there too). I came across it randomly in a bookshop and consider it a wonderful find.”

Who would like it: “Anyone who loves the idea of such an intense spiritual experience, but suspects the rigours of monastery life would defeat them within a week.”

Great-Irish Non-Fiction’ is a reading list of 100 books chosen by YOU and highlighted over the coming weeks. If you would like to include a favourite leave your suggestion below.

Previously:

Kevin C Kearns
Ed Moloney
Gene Kerrigan
Bobby Sands
George O’Brien
Terence Patrick Dolan
Eamonn Sweeney

Number 7: Dublin Tenement Life: An Oral History by Kevin Corrigan Kearns

Selected by: Barry

First published: 1994

Available: Still in stock and at most library branches nationwide.

Why: “Kevin C. Kearns’ depiction of Dublin’s inner city slums is both harrowing and sometimes unbelievable. A society cast aside by Dublin City Council. The vision he portrays, through the stories of actual tenants from the slums, is of desperation, community and survival. A must read.”

Personal resonance: “My father gave me this book when I first moved out of home in the early 1990s. I’m still not sure if he was trying to tell me something as I burned the furniture to try and warm my one bed damp basement flat in Drumcondra. Funny but eye-openly dark.”

Who would like this? “Anybody with an interest in social history or the current minister for housing, Eoghan Murphy”

Great-Irish Non-Fiction’ is a reading list of 100 books chosen by YOU and highlighted over the coming weeks. If you would like to include a favourite leave your suggestion below.

Previously:
Ed Moloney
Gene Kerrigan
Bobby Sands
George O’Brien
Terence Patrick Dolan
Eamonn Sweeney

Number 6: A Secret History Of The IRA by Ed Moloney.

Selected by: ‘Otis Blue’

First published: 2002 by Penguin with a revised edition in 2007.

Available? Still in stock and available at most library branches in Ireland.

Why? “No shinner I, but this is a revelatory and essential read about the risks taken to secure peace in the North.”

Craft: “Meticulously written and richly-detailed, for me it’s as much about what Ed Moloney doesn’t say.”

Surprising nugget: “Though not necessarily intended to be sympathetic to Gerry Adams, you sense from this book that History may yet be kind to him.”

Who would like this? “It’s one for revanchists, revisionists and realists.”

Great-Irish Non-Fiction’ is a reading list of 100 books chosen by YOU and highlighted over the coming weeks. If you would like to include a favourite leave your suggestion below.

Previously:

Gene Kerrigan
Bobby Sands
George O’Brien
Terence Patrick Dolan
Eamonn Sweeney

Number 5: Hard Cases: True Stories of Irish Crime by Gene Kerrigan.

Selected by: NIgel.

First published: 1996.

Availability: No longer in stock but available at most library branches with second-hand copies  on Amazon and eBay.

Why:Hard Cases was the first Irish non-fiction book I truly fell in love with. Written with polished journalistic clarity and precision, these are absolutely riveting true crime stories.

It stays with you: “Ending with the epic account of the Border Fox that is tense, fast-paced and amazing with its twists and turns, an extraordinary and vivd sustained narrative of pure human folly. It reads like the best Irish crime film never made.”

Who would like this?Anyone who likes crime writing, true or fiction. Anyone who likes good journalism. Anyone who enjoys good strong, well-written, unputdownable narratives, made all the more hair-raising by knowing this stuff actually happened.

Great-Irish Non-Fiction’ is a reading list of 100 books chosen by YOU and highlighted over the coming weeks. If you would like to include a favourite leave your suggestion below.

Previously:

Bobby Sands
George O’Brien
Terence Patrick Dolan
Eamonn Sweeney

Great Irish-Non Fiction List