Book Review – Graveyard Clay (Cré na Cille) by Máirtín Ó Cadhain

Graveyard Clay (Cré na Cille) by Máirtín Ó Cadhain is set in a graveyard in the west of Ireland in the early 1940s and is a continuing dialogue between those buried there. These are not spirits waiting to be translated elsewhere but rather the coffin-bound corpses of the dead. They have brought with them into … Continue reading Book Review – Graveyard Clay (Cré na Cille) by Máirtín Ó Cadhain

Some Family History

I have ancestors from Ireland, England, Scotland and Canada, most of whom had arrived in Australia by the 1850s, with only a couple of Jenny/Johnny-come-latelys in the late 1860s. I have been obsessively researching them for ten years now after inheriting my parents' papers in the early 2000s. My father attempted to research his forbears … Continue reading Some Family History

Book Review – The Trick to Time by Kit de Waal

The Trick to Time is a poignant story of love and loss. Mona, an Irishwoman nearing 60, lives in a coastal town in England where she makes dolls for a living that she sells in her shop and online. The dolls' bodies are of wood, beautifully carved and finished by an almost reclusive carpenter who … Continue reading Book Review – The Trick to Time by Kit de Waal

One Minute Book Review – The Good People by Hannah Kent

The Good People is set in an isolated village in Kerry, about ten miles from Killarney, in the years 1825 and 1826. It begins with the sudden but seemingly gentle death of Martin Leahy at the village crossroads, the place where traditionally suicides were buried. From the start, it is clear that this is a … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – The Good People by Hannah Kent

Irish Heritage – Thomas McGrath of Finnahy

The parents of my maternal grandfather, John Daniel ‘Jack’ McGrath (1887-1971), were both born in Ireland. Jack’s mother, Margaret Ryan, was born at Drumgoole, Kilkenny in 1851 and migrated to Australia around 1869. His father, Patrick McGrath, was five and a half when his family arrived in Melbourne, Victoria in 1854. Patrick was born at … Continue reading Irish Heritage – Thomas McGrath of Finnahy

One Minute Book Review – The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan

The Spinning Heart is set in a small town in Ireland during the immediate aftermath of the Irish economic recession. The novel comprises twenty-one chapters, each a monologue by a different character, each capable of standing alone. The first chapter centres on Bobby Mahon whose story is revealed in bits and pieces through every other … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan

Irish Heritage – Patrick Connor of Killarney

I visited Kerry recently , a stunningly beautiful part of the world. One set of my maternal great great grandparents, Patrick and Mary Connor, came from Killarney to South Australia in 1840. They arrived on the Mary Dugdale as part of of an immigration scheme which selected sober and hardworking labourers and their families for … Continue reading Irish Heritage – Patrick Connor of Killarney

One Minute Book Review – On Canaan’s Side by Sebastian Barry

On Canaan’s Side continues the story of the Dunnes, the family whose members have appeared in Barry’s books Annie Dunne and A Long, Long Way and in his play The Steward of Christendom. This time it is Annie and Willie Dunne’s sister Lilly, now 89 looking back at her life from the apparent safety of … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – On Canaan’s Side by Sebastian Barry