As the Festive Season kicks into swing, there is no better time to browse the bookshelves and savour the literary delights that abound at this time of the year. In Connemara, there is a profusion of new titles in the Local Interest area and we are indeed privileged to have such authors living and working in our midst. Such books will provide invaluable research and historical facts to the generations to come.
Six new titles were launched this year ranging from Memoirs to Archaeology, and local and national History. Jackie O’Grady has proved he wears many caps by publishing his Memoir Green Road to the Lighthouse encompassing his early life as an islander on Clare Island and his subsequent career as a Lighthouse Keeper around the coast of Ireland. He writes fluidly and naturally, interspersed with many humorous anecdotes. A joy to read by one of Connemara’s true gentlemen. Anthony Previte realised a long term ambition by producing a “divine” tome entitled A Guide to Connemara’s Early Christian Sites which will prove invaluable to anyone interested in Archaeology and Ancient Ireland. Anthony personally walked, climbed and trawled the pathways, islands and coastline of Connemara to result in this remarkable guide. A must-have for every walker in Connemara.
Tim Robinson has released Connemara the Last Pool of Darkness, the second part of his acclaimed trilogy. His use of language is such that it paints a picture in the mind and results in us walking the landscape dipping into geology, philosophy and mythology. It resonates
with a magic and luminosity that prevails through to he last page.
Soupers and Jumpers – The Protestant Missions in Connemara 1848-1937 by Miriam Moffi tt details the experiences of the stricken population of Connemara during the Famine and the subsequent fall-out for those converts who for reasons of economic necessity and survival converted to the Protestant religion. Ms. Moffi tt succeeds in outlining these dramatic events and their aftermath by thoroughly researching baptismal and marriage registers resulting in a factual historical account.
The Parish of Ballinakill is profi led in A Patchwork of Dreams 1957 – 2007 compiled and edited by Michael O’Neill, Chairman of Foscadh. Th is beautifully produced book is a compilation of photographs and articles celebrating 50 years of Community Development. It outlines the changes, projects and achievements that have occurred in the parish resulting in this vibrant community.
St. Colman’s Cemetery Inishbofin Island written by Marie Coyne is a testimony to the incredible research she undertook in recording the history of the ancient Church graveyard and burial grounds. Th is is truly an immense work of painstaking sourcing of data coupled with a history of Christianity on the island. A beautifully presented book which should be replicated in many other parishes throughout the country.
Amongst the other books by local authors or on local themes
currently available are:
• Sean South of Garryowen by Des Fogarty
• Connemara Visions of Lar Chonnacht by Michael Gibbons
& Reini Gahan
• Sea Horses by Stephanie Brooks & Karen Mannion
• Cleggan Bay Disaster by Marie Feeney
• Land & People by Eilis Ni Scannlain
• Beyond the Twelve Bens; History of Clifden, Patient
Endurance; Alexander Nimmo & Th e Western District.
All by Kathleen Villiers-Tuthill
• Moments in Time by John Dunne
• Love in a Time of Broken Heart, Reclaiming Father and Songs from the Womb by Benig
• Ranji Maharajah of Connemara by Anne Chambers
• Connemara Wild Flowers by Dieter and Jane Stark
• Portrait of a Parish by Jenny Conboy
• Connemara Stallion; Connemara Whirlwind; Connemara Champion. All by Anne Henning-
• Playing Dead; Outbreak; and Malpractice by Rory McCormac. (Pen name of Maurice O
• Sean South of Garryowen by Des Fogarty.
• Connemara Land of Contrasts by Clifden Book Shop
• Paul Gannon’s very successful book Th e Way it Was is being republished and will be available
again in early December. Th e fi rst edition sold out very quickly and public demand
has resulted in its reissue.
• Tim Robinson has also announced that his fi rst book Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage has just
been republished by Faber & Faber and is currently available which is good news for all
those readers who have yet to discover his Aran Island works.
Enjoy whatever book comes your way this Christmas.
This article appeared in the “Connemara View“. December 2008 editon
The edition that this article appeared in can be downloaded here