CELTIC CONNECTIONS: IRISH BOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS

Dark Beauty

Hidden Detail in Harry Clarke’s Stained Glass

Lucy Costigan and Michael Cullen

This book is a sumptuously illustrated follow-up to the award-winning Strangest Genius, featuring previously unpublished images of Harry Clarke’s work, to coincide with the 130th anniversary of the artist’s birth. 

‘There were two sides to his imagination: the religious side, which found its expression in stained glass, and another side which expressed itself in black and white, in designs which had about them something of the macabre …’  Lennox Robinson, dramatist and poet, on Harry Clarke 

Dark Beauty focuses on the minute detail in Harry Clarke’s stained-glass windows, particularly in the borders and lower panels of his work – which are often overlooked, yet full of surprise and artistry. Clarke’s brilliance as a graphic artist is clearly visible in his book illustrations, which are imbued with precise attention to intricate designs, and he applied the same lavish focus to every facet of his stained glass.

The title ‘Dark Beauty’ refers to the duality of Clarke’s work that sees delicate angels juxtaposed with macabre, grotesque figures, and represents the partially hidden details that dwell in the background of his windows – motifs, accessories, flora, fauna and diminutive characters – which may be missed in proximity to the dominance of the central subjects.

From 2008 to 2010, Cullen and Costigan photographed Clarke’s windows in Ireland, England, America and Australia. When they finally sat down to view the resulting 60,000 images, many of Clarke’s minute details and accessories came into sharp focus: the swish and swagger of a huntsman’s plume, the gold-rimmed glasses worn by a parishioner, the swollen face of a thief who has been stung by a saint’s drone of bees, the sparkle of an amber jewel placed in the centre of an elaborate headdress.

Dark Beauty – which features 500 glorious images whittled down from the authors’ collection – extends, amplifies and shines new light on Clarke’s stained glass. This beautifully designed hardback volume allows readers view previously obscured or unnoticed details in all their unique splendour, inspire them to visit Clarke’s work for themselves. (Hardback, 228pp, full colour, 300+ images, €35.00/£29.99) 

About the Authors: Lucy Costigan is from Wexford. Strangest Genius: The Stained Glass of Harry Clarke, by Lucy Costigan and Michael Cullen, was shortlisted for Best Irish-Published Book of the year by the Irish Book Awards in 2010 and for Book of the Decade by Dublin Book Festival in 2016. Lucy’s biography, Glenveagh Mystery : The Life, Work and Disappearance of Arthur Kingsley Porter, was a national bestseller in 2012. Lucy holds Masters’ degrees in Research and Equality Studies.

Michael Cullen is a photographer and cinematographer from Wexford. He photographed the entire stained-glass work of Harry Clarke worldwide from 2008 to 2010 for Strangest Genius. In 2015 Michael’s photography was the basis for The Harry Clarke Colouring Book and he won ‘Best Caravan and Camping Video’ at the 2018 European Awards in Utrecht, Holland.

CLASSICAL CONNECTIONS
50 Fateful Encounters
That Shaped the Course of Music

 This beautiful book by the incredibly talented Noel Culleton is very special. This book is for everybody.  It’s for people who know about music. It’s for people who don’t. It’s for people who are ‘wannabes’ or ‘hasbeens’ or ‘hoping to be’ or whatever. I particularly want to mention the incredible David Mahon. The illustrations, which he researched and executed so magnificently are in their own way, a stand-alone piece of work. I hope it will be in schools, I hope it will be in the libraries.  Anne Doyle, television celebrity and journalist.

 Perfect gift for music lovers 

Noel Culleton and admirers with Classical Connections.

By Rory Murphy

From kings to emperors, peasants to paupers, the melody and harmony of music touches us all. So many of the great pieces of classical music – were often the product of chance encounters, inspired patronage, or even as a means of payment or escape for a composer who found themselves somehow constricted. Such connections had artistic consequences, which would reverberate – literally and metaphorically – for centuries. They include Beethoven, Bernstein, Chopin, Mozart, Verdi and Wagner. 

Classical Connections, subtitled 50 Fateful Encounters that Shaped the World of Music, comprises the stories of 50 composers from the past 250 years who have shaped the world of music.  Among the composers who had fateful connections with Ireland are John Field born in Dublin 1785, George Frideric Handel whose Messiah was first performed in Dublin in 1742 and Hector Berlioz who in 1827, inundated a beautiful blue-eyed actress, Harriet Smithson, a native of Ennis, Co. Clare, with love letters which she completely ignored. He wept, ranted and raved to his friends and even threatened suicide if she did not reciprocate his love. They are all featured in this beautiful new book.

Author, Dr Noel Culleton, has carried a life-long interest in the composers alongside his career as a scientist and later as chief executive of one of the leading agricultural research institutions in the world – Johnstown Castle. Of his new book, he says: “One objective of this book is to inspire people with the stories of their fascinating lives and the wonderful riches that composers and musicians have given us. Another objective is to make them accessible to everyone, whether active student or professional or a passive reader, who just wants to know more. Some lived a few hundred years ago, but their marvellous music continues to engage us”.

Classical Connections, a fully Irish published title, is lavishly illustrated with colour caricatures of each of the composers by David Mahon who is an established illustrator working in the US, Africa and New Zealand. The book is a perfect gift for music lovers and students of classical music everywhere, at home and abroad.

CLASSICAL CONNECTIONS is published by Three Sisters Press at €25/£22.99 and widely available through bookshops and from ThreeSistersPress.ie


We are the land of the storytellers and we have it in our blood.
Ireland’s Own is part of the very fabric of our nation’s rich
cultural life. It speaks to and for people, and to write a story,
long-held-onto memoir, for the much-anticipated yearly anthology
is a huge goal to aim for. The wonderful writers in this
anthology have done just that.’
Cathy Kelly

 

Ireland’s Own 2019 Anthology of Irish Winning Irish Short Stories and Memories

Edited by Phil Murphy

“Bridget walked slowly into the house and then into the bedroom. As she looked down on Mary her heart was breaking as she thought of the lonely Wednesday evenings without her. Mary wore a green dress that covered her slim ankles. It was a dress too grand for a servant girl but it was given to her by her mistress and her mother had altered it to fit her elegant figure.” The Wake, Mary Connolly , Overall Winner Short Story

From Liam O’Flaherty to Mary Lavin, Maeve Brennan to Frank O’Connor, Irish writers have long embraced and championed the short story form. In recent years, the torch has been proudly carried on by a whole new wave of writers, such as Mary Costello, Colin Barrett and the wonderful Kevin Barry, – all who have found international critical and commercial success following their debut short story collections. Thanks to indigenous magazines such as Ireland’s Own, with its years and years of commitment to new writing, emerging authors find an opportunity to publish their work and gain much needed exposure.

Now The 10th Ireland’s Own Anthology of Short Stories and Memories is about to be published, and it includes 40 winners and highly commended entries from almost 500 participants in the long-running Ireland’s Own writing competitions. The stories and memories cover many facets of Irish life, from bereavement, emigration and joyful celebration, to recollections of old time card-schools, joyriding in a green Volkswagen Beetle and the delights of annual carnival week.

Editor and compiler, Phil Murphy, who retired after nearly 20 years as Ireland’s Own editor, says: The popularity of our writing competitions and the Anthology itself continues to grow and this volume contains entries from 14 Irish counties and various parts of England’.

Kildare is again the county with most entries at six, followed by Dublin with five and Wexford with four. The foreword is contributed by international best-selling author Cathy Kelly, who writes – It speaks to and for people, and to write a story, or a long-held-onto memoir, for the much-anticipated yearly anthology is a huge goal to aim for. The wonderful writers in this anthology have done just that.’

Ireland’s Own, the popular family magazine, has been published without a break since November 1902 and is still thriving at a time when much of the print media is finding life difficult.

The Ireland’s Own 2019 Anthology of Winning Irish Short Stories and Memories is published by Three Sisters Press at €14.99 / £13.99 and widely available through bookshops and from www.irelandsown.ie

Dark Enchantment

Dorothy McArdle

Image result for Dark Enchantment Dorothy Macardle images"

‘… Now cut the pack in three with your left hand, to your left.’ Juliet did this. The mood in which she had approached the reading was a little rebuked by the gravity and dignity that the woman brought to it. As Terka set the cards out in three long columns, her finely shaped head was bent over them. Her long fingers turned them face upwards, one by one, and she stood looking down at them. Wavering light, sifting down through the boughs, made the pictures seem to move.’

Restless and uncertain, 20-year-old Juliet Cunningham leaves her teaching position in a small boarding school in Normandy. Her actor father takes her on holiday, which proves to be an unlikely success given both are distracted by the insecurity of their respective careers – or lack thereof. Juliet is delighted when she finds herself first as a guest, then an employee, at a small hotel in a village in the French Alps. She quickly becomes a key member of staff for its owners Rene and his wife Martine, who is expecting their first child. Coming back to herself in beautiful mountain surroundings, Juliet becomes involved in local life. As she makes new friends and meets fellow wanderers – such as the handsome young Michael – she hears of stories of witchcraft, fortunes told, spells, and even murder. A series of accidents and strange events transform the village atmosphere into one of suspicion and fear, focused on the Romany woman Terka who lives alone in the forest at its core.  But can Juliet prevent such sentiments turning sinister?1
Dark Enchantment is the third Dorothy Macardle novel – following on from the success of The Uninvited and The Unseen – to feature as part of Tramp Press’s Recovered Voices series. The novel will be launched as part of the Dublin Book Festival on November 16th, 2019. Dark Enchantment is published in paperback (RRP €16/£14.99), and will be available from bookshops, online and from http://www.TrampPress.com

‘Dark Enchantment is a novel that allowed Macardle to explore her own disappointment with a world that has not changed enough and where, despite her socioeconomic and educational advantage, she often found herself to be an outsider, unable to succumb to the pressures imposed on women during her time…Recovered Voices prompts us to push back against a canon that is not comprehensive enough. Dark Enchantment fills one of many gaps and is part of an effort to shape a new canon of Irish writers: one that is more dynamic and inclusive.’ From the introduction by Caroline B. Heafey

About the author: Dorothy Macardle was born into the affluent Macardle Brewing family of Dundalk. She attended secondary school at Alexandra College before going on to University College Dublin. Macardle became a committed member of the Gaelic League and later joined Cumann na mBán. In 1918, during the War of Independence, she was arrested by RIC. Following the Treaty, she sided with Éamon de Valera in opposing the agreement. In 1922 she was imprisoned by the new Free State government and served time in both Mountjoy and Kilmainham jails. While in prison, she wrote Earth-Bound: Nine Stories of Ireland, published in 1924. For many years she was best known for her history of the Anglo-Irish and Civil Wars entitled The Irish Republic which was published in 1937 and reprinted several times – as recently as 2005. In the 1930’s Macardle worked as a journalist covering the League of Nations and continued to write both fiction and non-fiction work. Her novels and The Uninvited and The Unforeseen were published in the 1940’s and The Uninvited was made into a Hollywood film in 1944. Macardle passed away in her native Co. Louth in 1958, disappointed by what she regarded as the reduced status of women in the 1937 Constitution of Ireland.

Irish women and Nationalism

Soldiers. New Women and Wicked Hags

Image result for Irish Woman and Nationalism images"Studies of Irish nationalism have been primarily historical in scope and overwhelmingly male in content. Too often, the ‘shadow of the gunman’ has dominated. Little recognition has been given to the part women have played, yet over the centuries they have undertaken a variety of roles – as combatants, prisoners, writers and politicians. In this important and influential collection, the full range of women’s contribution to the Irish nationalist movement is explored by writers whose interests range from the historical and sociological to the literary and cultural.

From the little-known contribution of women to the earliest nationalist uprisings of the 1600s and 1700s, to their active participation in the republican campaigns of the twentieth century, different chapters consider the changing contexts of female militancy and the challenge this has posed to masculine images and structures. Using a wide range of sources, including textual analysis, archives and documents, newspapers and autobiographies, interviews and action research, the authors examine sensitive and highly complex debates around women’s role in situations of conflict.

Irish Academic Press is pleased to announce the publication of a new edition of this seminal collection of interdisciplinary essays examining the often-overlooked role that women have played in Irish nationalism. Complete with a new foreword by Marie Coleman, Irish Women and Nationalism covers women’s contributions to the entire nationalist movement, from the 1641 uprising to contemporary Northern Ireland. The result is analysis that offers new and important perspectives on Irish women’s roles and representation in nationalism. (Published 16 September 2019, Pbk, 240 pp, RRP €24.95 / £22.99, 234 mm x 156 mm.)

Irish Women and Nationalism, first published in 2004 and now reissued with a new foreword by Marie Coleman, is a major contribution to wider feminist debates about the gendering of nationalism, raising questions about the extent to which women’s rights, demands and concerns can ever be fully accommodated within nationalist movements.

 

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