New Irish non-fiction
Published Friday, March 13, 2009, 1:51 PM
Updated Thursday, June 27, 2013, 7:48 PM
At The Edge Of Ireland
By David Yeadon
The Celtic Tiger may have had its paws trimmed of late but for author and illustrator David Yeadon that’s all to the good. An explorer of the world’s secret places, he has written over 20 noted books about his travels and one criteria unites them – his fondness for remote communities and their daily round.
Forget the tourists trails and Blarney Stones, Yeadon presses on to the Beara Peninsula in southwest Ireland, where he finds soaring mountain ranges, spectacular coastal scenery and roads already half reclaimed by nature. Romantic Ireland is far from dead and gone, he discovers, and a hidden world of Craic, music seisuns, seanachai storytellers and ceili dances soon reveals itself to his delighted gaze.
Harper Collins, $16.99
By John Garrity
Ireland is as famed for its majestic golf courses as it is for its writers. In "Ancestral Links" we join one man – John Garrity, a writer for "Sports Illustrated" and "Golf Magazine" – as he returns to the northwest of Ireland (where his great-grandfather once left for America) that is now home to an unforgettable golf course. Part memoir and part travelogue, this is a book for golf enthusiasts and for all those who treasure Ireland’s remarkable golf courses. Golfing has been an obsession in Garrity’s family for generations and this book tells of it how it has captivated and continues to hold the imagination of each of them.
Kenny’s Choice: 101 Irish Books You Must Read
By Des Kenny
Des Kenny’s family have run bookshop’s in Galway since 1940 and like his parents before him, he’s been a bookseller all his working life. Educated in his native city and also at the Sorbonne in Paris, Kenny recently hit on the fascinating idea of releasing a list of 101 Irish authors who, in his own words, demand to be read. This is a democratic selection, well in keeping with the philosophy of his famous shop, and there is obvious joy in the making of it. From J.M. Synge to Maeve Binchy to Patrick Kavanagh to William Butler Yeats, the thrilling diversity of Irish letters has rarely been more authoritatively sampled. As enjoyable to read as it is to refer to, Kenny’s evocative list deserves to be read and reread in its own right.
Dufour Editions, 34.95
By Terence O’Reilly
Here’s a winters tale. It turns out that two deluded Irishmen fought for Nazi Germany during the Second World War and military historian Terence O’Reilly has the story. Having been captured by the Germans in Guernsey, John Brady and his friend Frank Stringer decided to switch sides: they had been soldiers in the Irish Regiment of the British Army, now suddenly they were being recruited by the dreaded SS, the German special forces, and were trained by German Military Intelligence.
Unfortunately, the bizarre story didn’t end there. Brady – from Co. Roscommon - and Stringer – from Co. Leitrim – quickly fell under the command of Otto Skorzeny, the man who had rescued Benito Mussolini from prison in Italy, and they were involved in some of the most ferocious fighting of World War Two during the last days of The Third Reich.
If you want to know how on earth two mild mannered Irish country boys ended up swearing allegiance to Adolf Hitler – and it’s instructive, so you really should – then Terence O’Reilly’s meticulously researched book is mandatory reading.
A Course Called Ireland
By Tom Coyne
It’s last remaining refuge of a certain class of the American male: the solitary golfing trip. On the wrong side of thirty, married and staring down what he calls “the barrel of impending fatherhood,” author Tom Coyne plans the ultimate golf vacation – back to the ancient courses of Ireland where his father had first taught him to love the game.
Luckily for Coyne the entire Irish coastline from north to south, east to west, is one giant round of golf. Ireland actually boasts 40 percent of the world’s golf links, a remarkable statistic. So packing up his clubs and saying goodbye to his patient wife, Coyne sets out, for one last hurrah before maturity.
Since Irish golfers never use golf carts, neither did Coyne, but he takes it a step further by deciding to trek around the entire country on foot, spending sixteen weeks covering nearly sixty courses. He lives out of a backpack, washes his clothes in a sink, avoids feral dogs and survives all four seasons in one Irish afternoon. He also writes humorously and evocatively about everything he encounters in this deeply affectionate portrait of Ireland and its unforgettable courses.
The Smart Shoppers Guide To Ireland
By Patricia Preston
Looking for an authentic Saint Brigid’s cross? The perfect Aran sweater? What about the best tweeds and woolens? Or how about where to find the highest quality Irish whiskey? You’ll find them all in "The Smart Shoppers Guide to Ireland," an indispensible guide to the four green fields that could teach the Irish themselves where to find the best Irish goods.
Written by Patricia Preston, a New Yorker who’s been a regular traveler to Ireland for over 40 years - she leads three tours a year to the old sod - you can say with certainty she’s become an Ireland expert.
From the most humble Irish scone to high-end smoked salmon, from farmhouse cheeses to gourmet Irish spreads, you’ll never need to wonder again. Presented in the most clear-sighted way, Preston has chapters that feature where to shop in Dublin and then the four provinces. There’s even a handy chapter on how to reclaim the VAT (value added tax) at the airport on the way home. Oh and if you’re using a credit in Ireland, tell them to charge you in euros rather than dollars, you’ll get a much better rate. Advice like this makes "The Smart Shoppers Guide to Ireland" an essential reference tool.
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