Spring Reading ListPublished 24/03/2023
The global spotlight was on Ireland last week, as much of the world joined us in celebrating St Patrick’s Day. This week, to keep the momentum going, we’ve pulled together a spring list of current and upcoming books capturing, and reflecting on, Ireland specifically through sense of place, landscape, history and language.
The Home Scar by Kathleen MacMahon is a story of half-siblings Cassie and Christo, now living on opposite sides of the world, who are trying to leave their painful past behind them. When a dramatic storm in Galway hits the headlines, they’re drawn back to Ireland’s west coast to finally face their past. As the visit unfolds, unhappy memories come to the surface, bringing with them the potential to finally make peace with all the losses endured.
Published by Penguin, February 2023. Available here
The Táin: The Great Irish Battle Epic, by Alan Titley and illustrated by Eoin Coveney, is a new children’s retelling of Ireland’s great epic legend featuring the hero Cúchulainn and the warrior Queen Maeve. When Queen Maeve’s army marches north to steal the great brown bull of Ulster, Cúchulainn, sworn protector of his homeland, is standing in her way, ready to challenge each one of Maeve’s warriors in a bid to hold them off until reinforcements arrive. Ireland’s most important myth is retold in English for children by the great scholar of Old Irish, Alan Titley. From the source material, Titley has produced a gripping translation that sparkles with wit and humour, while comic artist Eoin Coveney’s illustrations lend a modern feel. This is Celtic myth as you haven’t read it before.
Published by Little Island, March 2023 (Guideline Age 7 – 10)
Freya Harte is not a Puzzle by Méabh Collins is an illuminating and compelling look at the challenges of adolescence. All Freya wants is to fit in but for as long as she can remember the simple things – introducing herself to new classmates, remembering her timetable – have seemed difficult to her. As everyone starts to lose patience with her she feels more alone than ever so, when she is diagnosed as autistic, she doesn’t want anyone to know. On a class trip to the Gaeltacht, a staple part of many Irish childhoods, things finally come to a head, threatening to reveal her secret. A heartwarming story about friendships and embracing ourselves as we are.
Published by The O’Brien Press, March 2023. Available here
Liam Lynch: To Declare a Republic by Gerard Shannon is a long-awaited new biography of General Liam Lynch, a key figure in the Irish Revolution who remains one of the most celebrated of his era. In this biography, the first in nearly forty years, historian Gerard Shannon delves into a wide array of archival material to create a detailed, nuanced portrait of a hugely significant and influential figure in Irish history.
Published by Merrion Press, March 2023. Available here
Fáilte romhat chuig an bhféasta filíochta! Cnuasach álainn de naoi ndán is fiche, idir sheandánta agus véarsaí úrnua cumtha ag an bhfile aitheanta, Gabriel Rosenstock. Ar an taifeadadh fuaime cloistear an craoltóir cáiliúil Sinéad Ní Uallacháin agus páistí Scoil Naomh Gobnait, Dún Chaoin ag aithris na ndánta le tionlacan ceoil nuachumtha ó John Ryan. Tá an leabhar maisithe go hálainn ag Tarsila Krϋse agus Úna Woods agus tá sé éasca péasca teacht ar an taifead fuaime, níl uaibh ach cód QR a scanadh!
Welcome to the poetry party! Púcaí Schmúcaí is a collection of twenty nine poems, some you may have heard before and some newly composed ones, all written by well-known poet Gabriel Rosenstock. The recorded tracks feature the familiar voice of radio presenter Sinéad Ní Uallacháin along with school children from Scoil Naomh Gobnait in Dunquin, Co. Kerry, accompanied by music composed by John Ryan. To listen, simply scan the QR codes! The Púcaí Scmúcaí package is lovingly brought together with beautiful illustrations by Tarsila Krϋse and Úna Woods.
Published by Futa Fata, April 2023 (Guideline Age 5 – 9). Available here
There’s Something I Have to Tell You, Michelle McDonagh’s debut novel, is brimming with complex family dynamics, thwarted hopes and hidden pain, all centered around a tragedy occurring on a farm in the Irish countryside. When the bodies of wealthy matriarch Ursula Kennedy and her farmer husband Jimmy are pulled from the slurry pit, shock ricochets throughout the family and community, and soon the rumours are flying. As the story unfolds, a toxic secret that has been simmering for decades is set to finally come to the surface. A gripping and propulsive read that will keep readers guessing until the end.
Published by Hachette Books Ireland, April 2023. Pre-order here
Island of Woods: How Ireland Lost its Forests and How to Get them Back by Paul McMahon is a comprehensive and engaging overview of the history of Irish forestry. Forestry in Ireland has never been so contentious and Island of Woods takes a sweeping historical view, tracing the history of Irish forests over the last 10,000 years. It examines the state of Irish forestry today and sketches a way forward for our woods that balances commercial, environmental and social goals – a vision of a different type of forestry that could transform the Irish landscape and re-establish a genuine tree culture in the country. It will appeal to anyone who cares about the Irish landscape and environment.
Published by New Island, April 2023. Pre-order here
Wild Waters by ecologist and author Richard Nairn is an eye-opening journey exploring and celebrating the rivers and lakes of Ireland through a unique mix of nature, history and personal experience, considering their importance from the times of our ancestors through until today, and contemplating the consequences for them as the rapid deterioration of our natural environment continues.
Published by Gill Books, May 2023. Details here