Through Her Eyes: A New History of Ireland in 21 Women
By Clodagh Finn
This well-researched book looks at Irish history from the Neolithic to the digital era through the lives of 21 women. From obscure, prehistoric figures such as the oldest woman in Ireland whose bones were found under the Poulnabrone dolmen, the Celtic goddess Macha and the sixth-century St Dahlin, it moves on to the historical Gormlaith, who was married to Olaf, Norse king of Dublin, and later to Brian Boru; Aoife, daughter of Dermot MacMurrough and wife of Strongbow, and so on up to modern times. Standout figures include Lady Sligo, Hester Catherine Browne, who did much to help her tenants during the Great Famine, Letitia and Naomi Overend, who left their Airfield farm to the State, and Jemma Redmond , a biotechnologist who 3D-printed human tissue.
Above Average at Games By PG Wodehouse Penguin Books, £25
Above Average at Games brings together celebrated comic novelist PG Wodehouse’s writings on sport. These are in the form of short stories and brief discursive essays on cricket, golf, football, rugby and baseball. Wodehouse himself excelled at some and was hopeless at others. He nevertheless writes of them all with great acuity. The golf stories in particular are both hilarious and incisive; Wodehouse brilliantly sends up his own ineptitude (he was an 18 handicap), while managing to write of the sport with keenness of insight. It isn’t surprising that Wodehouse, to whom seriousness was anathema, wrote about sports: like life, they are mere games we take too seriously. –
The Manager’s Tale: New Irish Chamber Orchestra 1970-1980
By Lindsay Armstrong
Somerville Press, ¤20/£18
Lindsay Armstrong’s account of the creation of the New Irish Chamber Orchestra is a chronicle of artistic vision and an indispensable record of concert-giving. For anyone who witnessed it, it evokes vivid memories, almost entirely joyful. For those who didn’t – look what you missed. John Beckett’s Bach cantata series was an unparalleled achievement, while the orchestra’s tours to China, the then USSR, the US, Britain and Europe put Irish classical music on the international map. This was music-making at the very highest level by soloists such as James Galway, Victor Malirsh and Mícéal O’Rourke, and the superb orchestra conducted by André Prieur and led impeccably by Mary Gallagher.