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Irish Historical Fiction

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Miss Moppet
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Postby Miss Moppet » Sun October 4th, 2009, 9:32 pm

"Misfit" wrote:While it's better classified as a novel in a historical setting and not a historical novel, I loved Susan Howatch's Cashelmara a great deal - this has the added bonus that she parallels the lives of her characters with those of England's first three Edwards.


Cashelmara covers 1859 to 1891, set mostly in Ireland, also in England and the US, with American, Anglo-Irish and Irish characters. You see the effects of famine and get some idea of the political situation. I'd recommend it.

Maeve Binchy has written period fiction set in Ireland - nothing really historical but several novels dealing with young women growing up in the Dublin area in the 1940s, 50s and 60s that give you an idea of how different a society it was then. I enjoyed Light A Penny Candle, Echoes and Circle of Friends - especially the last one.

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Divia
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Postby Divia » Mon October 5th, 2009, 1:58 am

Brigid of Kildare will be coming out this year. I dont remember when but it sounds interesting.
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annis
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Postby annis » Fri October 9th, 2009, 11:32 pm

I see from Ariadne's Reading the Past website that Morgan Llywelyn has a new novel coming out early next year about St Brendan of Ireland, also known as Brendan the Navigator. It's called, surprise, Brendan.


Tim Severin recounted his attempt to duplicate St Brendan's legendary voyage to the New World in his non-fiction book The Brendan Voyage, reviewed a while ago by Carla here.

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Margaret
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Postby Margaret » Sat October 10th, 2009, 3:22 am

I second the recommendation of The Brendan Voyage. Fascinating book!
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parthianbow
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Postby parthianbow » Sat October 10th, 2009, 5:48 pm

"Margaret" wrote:I second the recommendation of The Brendan Voyage. Fascinating book!


I third it! Ditto with his other voyage NF books - Ra etc a la Thor Heyerdahl. Shame his Viking novels don't come up to the same mark.
Has anyone else heard the fantastic and hilarious 'Brendan's Voyage' song by the famous Irish musician Christy Moore? It's great! :D
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annis
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Postby annis » Sat October 10th, 2009, 6:35 pm

Posted by Parthianbow
Has anyone else heard the fantastic and hilarious 'Brendan's Voyage' song by the famous Irish musician Christy Moore? It's great!


I hadn't, but thanks to you and Youtube, I've just been enjoying it :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5o10hT-SMQw

I'm wth you on Tim Severin's fiction. I can't understand yhow someone who writes such ripping non-fic yarns can turn out such turgid novels. I was starting to wonder if it was just me, as so many people love his Viking books.
I tried twice to get through "Odinn's Child" but gave it up as a bad job and moved on to Robert Low's entertaining "Oathsworn" series instead.

Richard Sutton
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Postby Richard Sutton » Thu July 14th, 2011, 3:01 pm

I just read an very interesting take on the ancient wave of conquest of Eire known as the Fir Bolgs. It's called Bending the Boyne, by J.S. Dunn. It adds a fresh take on a subject that has been covered in depth already, that of what happened to the Tuatha De Danaan towards the beginning of the Bronze Age. Concentrating on the first wave of the metals trade from across the sea to the continent, the arguments make a lot of sense and the characters are memorable. The reader may be asked to suspend disbelief a few times, but it pays off! I thought that, added to the exiting literature, it provided a nice bit of nuance.

Richard Sutton
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Postby Richard Sutton » Thu July 14th, 2011, 3:13 pm

I just want to add to the suggestion of Uris' Trinity, that IMHO, no-one who wants to understand "The Troubles" can do without this read. It took me years to get around to reading it, but I think it has the best insight as to the underlying business pressures that created the excesses and resistance among poor working Irish. I find it very difficult now, to watch the broadcast media's obsession with the British aristocracy and almost always flip the channel if the royals are on. Talk about Teflon-coating!

annis
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Postby annis » Thu July 14th, 2011, 6:04 pm

Wasn't there a sequel to Trinity called Redemption? Uris wrote a good story, but I guess he's a bit out of fashion currently. Mila 18, his novel about resistance of the Jewish ghetto in WWII Warsaw was excellent, too.

If we're talking the Irish Troubles, I'd like to add a couple of others:

* J,G. Farrell's Troubles, set in 1919 at the start of the Irish War of Independence, it's one of his blistering tragi-comedies about the results of British Imperial ambition When written it won the Faber Memorial Prize for 1970 and last year scored the Lost Booker Prize.

* The Bog Child, by Siobhán Dowd, a beautifully written young adult novel, both sad and compassionate, set in the 1980s and written about a bright teenage boy whose older brother is in Long Kesh Prison. He discovers the preserved body of an Iron Age girl in a peat bog, and her story becomes entwined with his.
Last edited by annis on Thu July 14th, 2011, 7:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Richard Sutton
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Postby Richard Sutton » Fri July 15th, 2011, 6:02 pm

Redemption, from what I've heard, was not met with much acclaim. It made the mistake of trying to bring the two families (Irish and Ascendant Irish) together in the trenches of war -- WWI, I think. Uris' characters are quite memorable, but I'm not sure I'll take the time to read the sequel. Thanks for the troubles links -- those are new titles for me anyway!


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