A intriguing new take on Irish history, exploring the ways in which outside influences have shaped Ireland from 433 B.C. to the modern day.
Author Neil Hegarty gives readers a fresh perspective on Irish history in this comprehensive and engaging book that places Ireland in an international context. Hegarty offers a new look at Irish history, challenging the accepted stories and long-held myths associated with Ireland. This book transports readers to the Ireland of the past, and, through events such as the Europe’s 16th century religious wars, the French and American revolutions, and Ireland’s policy of neutrality during World War II, examines how world events have shaped the country from 8000 BC to the present. Spanning Irish history from the first settlement to the current financial crisis, this book is sure to fascinate anyone who is interested in Ireland and its past.
About Neil Hegarty
NEIL HEGARTY’s short fiction and essays have been published widely, and his writing has appeared in the Irish Times and Daily Telegraph. Neil holds a PhD in English literature from Trinity College Dublin. He lives in Dublin, Ireland.
This island nation’s history teems with explosive, emotional issues that partisans tend to view in simplistic, black-and-white terms; such readers will find no encouragement here. “Nothing reduces me to despair more than a vision of Irish history that reduces the debate about the past to a simple paradigm of the Irish versus the English, who was right and who was wrong, as if history could be reduced to a crude morality play,” writes Irish author Hegarty (Dublin: A View from the Ground, 2008, etc.) at the outset of this ambitious survey of nearly 1,600 years of Irish history. His primary theme is that Ireland is a land repeatedly invaded and settled by foreigners, from the Vikings who founded Dublin to the Scottish Presbyterians invited into Ulster by the government of James I, and that each of these groups has contributed to the ethnic, religious and cultural diversity and conflicts on this divided island. Ireland has also been deeply affected by such outside influences as the Counter-Reformation and the French Revolution, and has in turn affected Europe and North America by the almost constant emigration of its people. Hegarty highlights the complexities underlying Ireland’s ongoing conflicts and sails through them without passing judgments, calmly observing as one communal massacre inspires another, or as British government policies fail to relieve the devastation of the Famine, or the Irish Free State descends into civil war. The broad scope of the work requires that the author move along briskly. There is no dreary catalogue of early Irish kings; even such giants as Oliver Cromwell and Charles Parnell receive only about a dozen each, and cultural history is given short shrift. The resulting focus on political events and social movements at the expense of colorful personalities and illuminating anecdotes, combined with Hegarty’s consistently objective tone, render the narrative sometimes disappointingly bland but never dry. – Kirkus Reviews
“The Story of Ireland: A History of the Irish People” by Neil Hegarty
The Washington Post Book Review – March 16, 2012 (Excerpt)
The collapse of the Celtic Tiger four years ago, in a spectacular collision of private and public corruption amid a wildly inflated real estate bubble, was a dreadful blow to the people of Ireland, who with some justification thought that after centuries of poverty and disappointment, their country had at last come into its own. As Neil Hegarty writes in “The Story of Ireland,” however, the implosion was easily explained by Irish history:
“There are specific cultural reasons why such a situation evolved. The history of Ireland had propagated a sense of failure and of inferiority, encapsulated in the forced emigration of generation after generation of young people in search of opportunities that their homeland simply could not provide. The economic boom seemed to put this traumatic history firmly in the past: it belonged in another era — virtually in another country. The ongoing moves towards resolving what had seemed an intractable conflict in Northern Ireland, moreover, served to copper-fasten this sensation that Ireland had indeed left its scarred past behind. The result was exuberance and confidence on a widespread scale.” [Read the full article...]
THE BLEEDING HILLS
A Novel by Wilfried F. Voss
I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith.
- 2 Timothy iv. 7
The Irish War is officially a part of history, but not for Finnean Whelan, an IRA veteran of almost 40 years. British Intelligence has produced evidence that he is the mastermind behind a conspiracy to assassinate the First Minister of Northern Ireland. For Whelan this is not only a mission of revenge, but marks the beginning of a journey into the past and the return to the one true love: Ireland. [More...]
The Bleeding Hills is available at Amazon.Com, Amazon.co.uk, Barnes & Nobel, and any other good bookstore.