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Cracker Culture

Ian Jackman, 7 September 2000

Irish America 
by Reginald Byron.
Oxford, 317 pp., £40, November 1999, 0 19 823355 8
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Remembering Ahanagran: Storytelling in a Family’s Past 
by Richard White.
Cork, 282 pp., IR£14.99, October 1999, 1 85918 232 1
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From the Sin-é Café to the Black Hills: Notes on the New Irish 
by Eamon Wall.
Wisconsin, 139 pp., $16.95, February 2000, 0 299 16724 0
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The Encyclopedia of the Irish in America 
edited by Michael Glazier.
Notre Dame, 988 pp., £58.50, August 1999, 0 268 02755 2
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... those of Sara alone. ‘The Irish diaspora isn’t what it used to be,’ warns the poet Eamonn Wall, part of a new generation of immigrants: the well-educated ‘New Irish’ who came across in the 1980s. In the age of relatively cheap air travel many can commute, leavening the sense of exile (and reducing the tendency of immigrants to believe their home ...

Rolling Back the Reformation

Eamon Duffy: Bloody Mary’s Church, 7 February 2008

... who had been involved in a notorious hoax, in which an oracular voice issuing from a hole in a wall in Aldersgate Street praised the Lady Elizabeth and denounced Catholicism to a large crowd. Croft, whom Myles Hogarde called ‘the party that played bo-peep in the wall’, stood at sermon-time in a specially constructed ...

Tush Ye Shall Not Die

John Bossy, 23 February 1995

William Tyndale: A Biography 
by David Daniell.
Yale, 429 pp., £19.95, September 1994, 0 300 06132 3
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The Renaissance Bible: Scholarship, Sacrifice and Subjectivity 
by Debora Kuller Shuger.
California, 297 pp., £32, December 1994, 0 520 08480 2
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... There must be an ecumenical spirit at work at Yale University Press for, having just given us Eamon Duffy’s masterly and devoted evocation of English Christianity before the Reformation, The Stripping of the Altars, they have now made things even with David Daniell’s William Tyndale. Tyndale’s life is soon told ...


Ronan Bennett, 16 December 1993

De Valera: Long Fellow, Long Shadow 
by Tim Pat Coogan.
Hutchinson, 772 pp., £20, October 1993, 9780091750305
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... took the logic of his strong feelings about Northern Catholics a stage further. In 1921-2, when Eamon de Valera was playing his disastrous. Machiavellian games in the course of the negotiations that eventually partitioned Ireland, John W. Nixon, a District Inspector of the Royal Irish Constabulary (later reorganised as the RUC), led a police murder gang in ...

How did we decide what Christ looked like?

Frank Kermode: How Jesus Got His Face, 27 April 2000

The Image of Christ 
edited by Gabriele Finaldi.
National Gallery, 224 pp., £14.95, February 2000, 1 85709 292 9
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... unusual in being topical rather than theological. Under the heading ‘Sign and Symbol’ we find wall paintings from the catacombs along with much later paintings, not only Zurburán but Holman Hunt. Roman coins are placed in the same tradition, the same gallery, as Philip Webb’s beautiful William Morris-inspired Cross of 1897. Other sections on ‘The ...

Antigone in Galway

Anne Enright, 17 December 2015

... Casement – thrown in a lime pit in Pentonville Prison in 1916 and repatriated in 1965 – when Eamon de Valera got out of his sickbed to attend and a million people lined the route. Thomas Kent was buried in the family plot at Castlelyons and the taoiseach, Enda Kenny, gave the graveside oration. ‘Today,’ he said, ‘we take him from the political ...


Susan McKay: Jean McConville, 19 December 2013

... people were killed that year and thousands injured. News reports describe the police meeting a ‘wall of silence’. Bulletins issued by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association claim that army patrols threw children into armoured cars ‘full of jeering thugs’ and took them to be tortured by ‘RUC sadists’. A British major is said to have boasted ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2000, 25 January 2001

... lies down, a handkerchief over his head against the sun, he is effectively turning his face to the wall. Still I come away with no notion that this is the last time I shall see him. People keep ringing up to console me. It’s like being consoled for the destruction of a view or the disappearance of a part of the landscape. 8 August. To the Cottesloe in the ...


Colm Tóibín: The Great Irish Famine, 30 July 1998

... the sight of “poor wretches” who had built “wigwams of fir branches” against his demesne wall.’Yet in 1847, as the famine in Ireland became increasingly serious, Sir William Gregory drafted what is often described as ‘the infamous Gregory clause’ in the Poor Law legislation for Ireland going through the House of Commons: any family holding more ...

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