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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.


Fri, Nov 3, 2017

The Round Towers

The Round Towers of Ireland are remarkable among the world's ancient monuments; one author has called them 'Elegant, free-standing pencils of stone.' Today, 65 survive in part or whole. Hand-crafted in native stone and cemented with a sand, lime, horsehair and oxblood mortar - a technique imported from Roman Britain - it's said by many historians that they were built by monastic communities to thwart Viking invaders. And yet, there's reason to believe that the towers were built long before Christianity came to Ireland. Whatever their origins, monasteries did indeed flourish where the round towers existed. And why not. These imposing edifices provided a watch tower, a keep and a refuge.
Image: By kind permission of Stephen Cassidy, The Cassidy Clan.

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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