A Book of Evasions

Paul Muldoon

  • Visitors Book
    Poolbeg Press, 191 pp, £5.50, November 1979, ISBN 0 905169 22 0

In his budget of 1969, Charles Haughey, then Minister of Finance, granted exemption from income tax to artists resident in the Republic of Ireland. In the past, Irish authors had been much given to exile: now, perhaps, they could afford to stay at home and exercise their proper talents for silence and cunning. That ‘standing army of ten thousand poets’ was then supplemented by a troop of foreign gallowglasses, all benefiting to a greater or lesser degree from this piece of ‘enlightened legislation’, some internationally best-selling soldiers-of-fortune to a very considerable degree indeed. Not since Lebor Gabala, or the Book of Invasions, that pseudo-historical account of the successive colonisations of Ireland from the flood to the coming of Christianity (including those of the Roman Cessair, Parthalan the Greek, the giant Fomorians, the Fir Bolg, the Tuatha De Dannan, the Gaels themselves under the command of the Spanish Soldier) – not since then had such a multinational company established a beachhead. This might be one of Mr Haughey’s more successful – and less contentious – import drives.

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