Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Review: The Annals of the Irish Harpers.

 The Annals of the Irish Harpers.   Edited by Sara C Lanier

This book is a recent newly-edited version of the precious works of Charlotte Milligan Fox. It was first published in 1910 and written in the language style of that era.

It is highly academic and yet compelling material for anyone with the slightest interest in local history and culture. It is definitely geared for the academic: particularly for the ethnomusicologist, and of course for the serious traditional Irish musician. For the rest of us at times it can be a laborious read, but always only momentarily, as the turn of a page or two can quite quickly reveal yet more vivid imagery of an era seemingly more romantic than the present.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Closure - a book review


New novel by  David Magee


 I rarely read novels these days but once I started this one I was compelled to keep turning the pages – there are 430 of them. After the first few chapters it was clear that there were going to be many unexpected twists to this tale: a tale expertly crafted to keep the reader ensnared. Obviously the local content was of special interest to me but I think even for strangers to Northern Ireland this would be intriguing – as a detective story/murder mystery.  The characters were all well developed and all quite believable.


The author clearly has much personal knowledge of the intricacies of the ‘troubles’ – of the convoluted interconnection of terrorists, criminals, police intelligence and government bodies. While this is not the purpose or focus of the storyline the Northern Irish reader will not miss the relevance of reference to an underworld that still exists: a world where the media, to this very day, can only venture into when given the nod from above.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

The John Wayne Saga

Davy Agnew, true to his word recently went with me on a mission to Andraid and The Caddy in search of more links to John Wayne's kinfolk. The first stop was to the site of the former cottage of Wullie John Morrison: the old stone white-washed, thatched roof dwelling where Davy Agnew had once carried out renovations. This cottage had probably been built in the 1600's and was most likely the homestead of John Wayne's ancestors.