Tracing Your Irish Family History
By Anthony Adolph
WOULD it surprise you to learn that 36 million Americans claim Irish ancestry? That’s almost nine times the population of Ireland itself. And more and more, they’re travelling over there to untangle their family roots.
"Tracing Your Irish Family History" is an ideal jump off point for any budding genealogist, giving professional tips on how to locate family information in Ireland, including in the county archives, tax rolls, censuses, religious and civil registers, as well as many other sources. Guided by Adolph, who is himself a genealogist, he gives good advice on how to search the records in the U.S. and Canada and further afield.
The book’s main achievement is its compelling layout and accessibility, but behind that is the authors deep knowledge of the nation and its history.
Firefly Books, $29.95.
By Ken Bruen
WHEN a letter containing a list of victims arrives in the post, private investigator Jack Taylor tells himself it’s not his business. He has enough to contend with looking out for his friends and avoiding the demon drink.
But then a child is killed and Taylor finds himself caught up in a dramatic search for the killer’s identity. The Irish author has crafted a blacker than night story set in Galway that’ll appeal to his fans and shock newcomers.
Filled with cliffhangers to drive you toward each new chapter and the dramatic climax, Breun has earned his stripes as a crime writer heading to the big leagues.
Shadows of Doubt
By Noel Redican
THE tragic rupture of the Irish Civil War and the struggles in the years that followed it still exert a strong pull on the imagination of Irish historians. In "Shadows of Doubt" historical novelist and Dubliner Noel Redican sets out to clear the name of his uncle Sean Harling, suspected for decades of being a double agent.
When Harling shot and killed Timothy Coughlan, a known IRA member, in 1928 he was officially cleared of all charges. However, his former friends in the Republican movement grew suspicious and he had to flee the country. The scandal surrounding his name lingered for years.
In his new novel, which is informed by his remarkable grasp of the political history of the period, Redican labors to persuade all comers that few who lived through this turbulent period can afford to cast stones at others.
Dufour Editions, $24.95.
The People’s Gallery
By The Bogside Artists
THE murals of Derry have defined the political struggles of the north since 1969. In "The People’s Gallery," the upheavals of each decade of the Troubles are reflected in their vivid and unforgettable work, and always with a special emphasis on how they affected the people of the Maiden City.
Most people are familiar with the sign that reads “You Are Now Entering Free Derry,” but they may not catch the psychological and political importance of that statement. Over decades, what the Bogside artists have done so successfully is to bear witness, to record, to inspire and to help explain the people of the city to themselves, and to make sense of what they have communally lived through.
The artists come from the community, and they share its hopes and aspirations, which helps to give their work its potency and scale. Their work records how a downtrodden social class found its voice and fought for its freedom from oppression.
Their work is never sectarian, they often look outside of Ireland to other struggles that resemble their own – and in this beautifully produced new book you’ll witness the joy of a people discovering their own voice through the artists who recorded and helped shape it.
The People’s Gallery is available from Tom Kelly, 46 William Street, Derry City BT48 9AD, $35.
Happy Earth Day! Ireland sure looks gorgeous from outer space