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Book Review: Mother Ireland

Long before Frank McCourt (Angela's Ashes) and Nuala O'Faolain (Are You Somebody?) reminisced about the hardships and humor of their Irish childhoods, acclaimed novelist Edna O'Brien captured the soul of Ireland and its people in her 1976 memoir, Mother Ireland.

Out of print for many years, Plume (a division of Penguin Publishing), has re-issued this extraordinary gem, so that it will take its rightful place among contemporary Irish classics.

Mother Ireland includes seven essays seamlessly woven into an autobiographical tapestry. In her lyrical, sensuous voice, O'Brien describes growing up in rural Co. Clare. from her days in a convent school to her first kiss to her eventual migration to England.

Blending her own personal history with the history of Ireland, she effortlessly melds local customs and ancient lore with the fascinating people and events that shaped her young life. The result is a colorful and timeless narrative that perfectly captures the heart and soul of a harshly beautiful country. Rendered with grace and beauty, resonating with emotion and passion, Mother Ireland is an ode to a time, a place, and a people that one can leave, but never leave behind. “One of Her Best” William Trevor

Review edited and adapted from the Penguin Group.

Brief Bio:
Edna O’Brien was born on December 15, 1930, in Tuamgraney, County Clare. She was educated at the National School in Scariff, the Convent of Mercy at Loughrea, and the Pharmaceutical College in Dublin. She married Ernest Gebler in 1951, but the marriage was dissolved in 1964. She has two sons, Carlos and Sasha.
Co. Clare remains so much in O’Brien’s veins that the people there continue to find themselves in her works; of these a dominant figure has been a mother or several mothers (Mrs. O’Brien died in spring 1977). The content of her work has also been coloured by Irish lore and history and by distinctive geographic features such as Druids’ circles and the Holy island (Inis Cealtra) in Lough Derg. In 1959 O’Brien moved to London, where she maintains residence, but she often returns to Ireland.
Image & Content Source:

To purchase this book and/or find other works by Ms. O’Brien, please click Mother Ireland.


Wed, Jan 3, 2018

Ilnacullen, Co. Cork - an Island Garden

Located in the sheltered harbour of Glengarriff in Bantry Bay. Ilnacullin, which means island of holly, is a small island known to horticulturists and lovers of trees and shrubs all around the world as an island garden of rare beauty.
The vivid colours of Rhododendrons and Azaleas reach their peak during May and June, whilst the hundreds of cultivars of climbing plants, herbaceous perennials and choice shrubs dominate the midsummer period from June to August.
Because of its sheltered situation and the warming oceanic influence of the Gulf Stream, the climate is favourable to the growth of ornamental plants from many parts of the world.
Even for those who aren’t particularly interested in gardens, there are many other scenic views, especially in the surrounding waters where seals frequent the rocks on the southern shore.
The cover photo on Bridget's book The Traditional Irish Wedding shows a wrought iron garden gate on Ilnaculen. I took that photo. To see it, go to the home page. It's part of the opening paragraph Failte.
Resource: Copy and Image - Cork Guide

Click for More Culture Corner.

Visit 30 of Ireland's most beautiful gardens. Includes a stunning collection of 200 full-color photos.


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March 4, 2011
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