Erskine H. Childers, President of Ireland. A Biography

Erskine H. Childers, President of Ireland. A Biography


21.6 x 13.8 cm. with 24 illus.

Hurriedly summoned from his English public school in November 1922, Erskine Childers was permitted by the Free State authorities to make one brief, final visit to his condemned father in the cells of Portobello Barracks, Dublin, at the height of the Civil War. Not surprisingly, such an emotional ordeal had a profound and lasting impact on the sixteen-year-old boy, who had promised his father in the death-cell to shake hands with and forgive every Minister in the Provisional Government who were responsible for his death, and that if he entered Irish politics himself he would never mention the execution in public, and do everything possible to ensure that the Childers name would become a healing memory.

A little over half a century later when that same schoolboy became President of Ireland he was universally regarded as a man of peace. His sudden death after only eighteen months in office brought the largest gathering of monarchs and rulers ever to assemble on Irish soil, to pay tribute to Erskine Childers in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, while people wept openly in the streets outside.

This work tells of the patient determination that nothing and no one would divert Erskine Childers from the exacting task he had promised to undertake, and of the very considerable contributions to Ireland that he was able to make in the process, in the various ministeries that he headed, and finally as the country’s first citizen, the fourth President of the Republic of Ireland.

Mr. Jack Lynch, Ireland’s premier from 1966-73, and 1977-79, has written a foreword for this biography.

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The Letters of Saint Oliver Plunkett 1625-1681

The Letters of Saint Oliver Plunkett 1625-1681


Edited by Mgr John Hanly

ISBN: 978-0-85105-344-8

27.2 x 18.0 cm.
The illustrated end-papers reproduce a map of Rome published in 1676.
Note that our copies do not have a dust-jacket, only a clear protective cover. We took over a quantity of book blocks from the liquidators of  Dolmen Press in 1987, which we then had cloth-bound. We were unable to find any jackets.

In March 1670 St. Oliver Plun­kett, his long exile over, stepped ashore at Ringsend to the wel­come of friends and relatives. For twenty-two years he had lived in Rome as clerical student and pro­fessor of theology. It was an ex­citing if also a sad time. Oliver Plunkett stepped into Restoration Ireland as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate. For ten years, until his arrest in December 1679, he applied himself to the task of rebuilding and repairing, knowing that the storm was by no means over. In the early years he was a man in a hurry, taking full advan­tage of a period of relative toler­ation and peace. In 1674 he was for many months a fugitive, deter­mined not to forsake his flock until ‘they drag us to the ship with the rope around our necks’. The last few years of his life, including eighteen months in prison, were the years of the infamous Popish Plot of Titus Oates, of which he was the final victim, the last of the martyrs of Tyburn.

For the first time a complete chronological edition of Saint Oliver’s letters enables us to follow the story, as it evolves in his own words, of his work as Archbishop in Ulster, where the Plantation was barely two generations old. He emerges as a man of immense courage, deep conviction and priestly zeal with the sometimes all too human side of one who grew into sainthood; and in the final documents the magnificent calm with which he faced his cruel death stands out.

The Letters of Saint Oliver Plunkett give many interesting insights into various events and characters of his time. His pen ran freely, his policy was to be well informed, and to give a clear picture of all matters touching the Church in Ireland. There are many light-hearted passages too, as when he tells us that the farmer in whose barn he was hiding, and on whom he depended for his food, sometimes came back a little too merry from town, and his guest had to fast. . . .

The letters are printed in their original language, almost always Italian, with translation and com­mentary. The book is edited by Monsignor John Hanly who first worked on these letters for a doc­toral thesis at the Gregorian Uni­versity from 1959 to 1961, and who was Postulator of the Cause of Saint Oliver from 1968 until the canonisation in 1975.

Designed by Liam Miller.


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A Little History of Ireland

A Little History of Ireland

£5.99 pbk

21.6 x 13.8 cm.       63 pp.  1991

ISBN: 978-0-85105-433-9
First published by Dolmen Press in 1973, 2nd enlarged Dolmen edition 1982.

Seamus MacCall wanted to show that, as a nation, the Irish have much to be proud of and this resolve fired him with a contagious enthusiasm which the reader of A Little History of Ireland cannot help but share. It is a bird's-eye view of the Irish past which is at once lucid and expert and presents a vivid and lively view of its subject. This new edition of A Little History of Ireland has a final section by Catherine MacCall and Börje Thilman which brings the story up to our time.

'It is not very often that one gets the chance to see the whole course of Irish history outlined in sixty pages . . . Because there is no room for unnecessary detail, the facts are simply given to the reader’ Ireland of-the Welcomes

‘MacCall has managed to be at once concise and comprehensive in his coverage and the little book should be a valuable reference work’ The Irish Times

The cover shows the. meeting of Dermot MacMurrough and the Earl of Gloucester from the French metrical history of Richard II (British Museum) after the colour lithograph in Gilbert's Facsimiles of National Manuscripts by kind permission of the Royal Irish Academy.


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The Holy Wells of Ireland

The Holy Wells of Ireland

£8.99 pbk

21.6 x 13.8 pp.      170 pp.        1992 pbk repr. of 1980 edition

Holy wells have been a feature of the religion of the Irish people for longer than records have existed, and while pilgrimages to them are not as common as in the last centuries, many wells are still visited, particularly on the Saints’ or ‘Pattern’ Days, and even now new wells occasionally appear.

In this survey Dr Patrick Logan, author of The Old Gods, Irish Country Cures and Fair Day: The Story of Irish Fairs and Markets, describes many of those wells that are still visited, detailing the features of the pilgrimage and the benefits obtained, together with the legends attached to the wells, the saints they are dedicated to and their Pattern Days, the sites, trees and stones associated with them, and fish that some of them have; he also gives information about the holy islands that have wells.

This collection does not attempt to describe every holy well in Ireland – an impossible task with so many – but Dr Logan has gathered together a collection of the most representative and interesting ones that visitors, pilgrims, and historians, as well as the local people will find it fascinating to read about.

‘What the author has done is to collect . . . a huge amount of important material about the wells, their history, the saints to whom they are dedicated, and their accessories, so to speak, such as the sites, the fish that some still nurture, and even such fascinating things as "swearing stones" and "cursing stones" . . . . A volume that is much needed and that will be a source of fascination to scholars and local historians alike for many years to come.’ Cork Examiner

'Dr Logan has succeeded in packing a great volume of interesting and useful information into this book.' Irish Independent


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Yeats and AE: ‘The antagonism that unites dear friends’

Yeats and AE: ‘The antagonism that unites dear friends’


21.6 x 13.8 cm.    xiv, 291 pp. + 16 pp. with 33 illus.  

During his life, W.B.Yeats formed only a few literary friendships from which he received as much as he gave. One of the foremost was his association with George William Russell. ‘A.E. was my oldest friend’ he confided to an admirer on Russell’s death in 1935. ‘We began our work together.’

This engaging, carefully researched book charts the history and evaluates the significance of the first twenty-three years of that work. It begins with the early months of 1884 when Yeats and Russell first met at the Arts Schools in Kildare Street, Dublin, and ends with their divisive quarrels in 1907 about the policies of the Abbey Theatre.

Taking as its focal point Yeats’s summary of the association – ‘between us as always there existed that antagonism that unites dear friends’ – the book sensitively gauges the pressures that each man exerted on the other. It also examines the way these pressures both affected their respective imaginative developments and shaped the course of the literary movement.

'What Kuch sets out to do, he does scrupulously and with such attention to detail, minutiae even, that his scholarly apparatus takes up nearly a quarter of the book. It is indeed "carefully researched".' Derek Mahon in The Irish Times

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Medieval Galway: A Rambler’s Guide and Map

Medieval Galway: A Rambler’s Guide and Map


7pp, 2 maps 62.0 x 44.3 cm folding to  22.3 x 15.8 cm    42 b&w illustrations  1989

A walking tour of Galway City, including all the features of historical and architectural interest.

"Medieval Galway is one of the most absorbing and attractive documents on Old Galway published for a long time. The first sheet has a present day street map (1:2500 scale) of present day Galway with a comprehensive index pointing out the medieval remains that are left and can be seen from the street. Most of the features are illustrated in fine line drawings. The second sheet shows reproductions of maps of Galway drawn in 1583, 1610 and 1651, each with an explanatory text. This map is a delight, a most enjoyable way to learn about Galway City's history and heritage. It can be used by everyone, schoolchildren, tourists and Old Galway experts." Galway Advertiser.

2 A2 maps

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The Waves of Tory / Tonnta Thoraí

The Waves of Tory / Tonnta Thoraí


The Story of an Atlantic Community / Scéal Pobail Atlantaigh

21.0 x 26.6 cm.    vi, 138 pp.  2006  fully illustrated with  colour photographs and maps  Bilingual English/Irish  text

In a world where everything seems tame and familiar, islands promise wildness and difference. Tory Island, the most remote and exposed of all the inhabited Irish islands, is no exception to this rule. The great seas ranging in from the Atlantic and the strong currents sweeping along its southern coast have isolated the island thus helping in the retention of a way of life that has long since disappeared on the mainland and the survival of Irish as the spoken language.

The Waves of Tory tells the story of this small community in terms of their attachment to the land, their reverence for and awe of the sea, and their well-preserved egalitarian society, where dancers, musicians, storytellers and painters take pride of place. The text, in English and Irish, is interlaced with legends and tales of the supernatural, and illustrated with accounts of island customs and beliefs.

The Tory islanders are a people whose roots go back to prehistoric times; typical is the King of Tory, Patsy Dan Rodgers, whose office is pre-Christian in origin. Links with the past are everywhere in evidence from the Iron Age fort, home to Balor of the Evil Eye, to the impressive remains of the early Celtic Church of St Colmcille. Superimposed on this pattern are the clustered settlements and vast open fields of the ancient Rundale farming system and the piers, boat rests, and kelp-pits, the products of man’s more recent activities on the sea and the shore. These survivals from the past strike deep resonances with those in search of the “real” Ireland.

The Waves of Tory comes at a time when Ireland’s Atlantic heritage is under threat as it has never been before. Important changes have taken place on Tory in recent times, which have threatened the very existence of the island community; the demise of farming and the cessation of fishing have encouraged persistent rumours of evacuation. It would be a tragedy if this little island, which has given so much to Irish music, song, dance, art and storytelling, were to be evacuated like many other Atlantic communities during the twentieth century. This book will help to alert a wider audience to the vibrant culture that still pertains in this very special place on the uttermost edge of Europe and to the need to conserve it for the benefit of generations yet to come,

The King of Tory is tireless in his efforts to save his island home from evacuation. In his own words “May God in Heaven help us if we don’t win. No matter where you are, the place where you are born and reared is the place you love best. We have every right to stay here. We want to remain here and hand it on to the future generations”.


Jim Hunter has a deep interest in Irish culture and traditions of the countryside. He has travelled throughout Ireland collecting myths and folklore, which he uses to enliven his writings. He has broadcast regularly on radio and television and has written a series of books on local history. He first visited Tory in 1957 and over the years has done much to promote the island through the organisation of guided tours and primitive art seminars. He has also mounted exhibitions of Tory art and arranged cultural events to highlight island music and dance throughout Northern Ireland.


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Mr Gregory’s Letter-Box, 1813-35

Mr Gregory’s Letter-Box, 1813-35


General Editors of the Coole Edition: T.R.Henn CBE and Colin Smythe

With a Foreword by Jon Stallworthy

ISBN: 978-0-900675-41-6

While the editing of Sir William Gregory's Autobiography was largely a matter of shortening the manuscript, Mr. Gregory's Letter-Box was a much greater editorial effort, for Lady Gregory had to create linking passages for the letters, filling in the social and historical background.

Mr. Gregory's experience in the post was unequalled: he held it for eighteen years and saw Viceroys and Chief Secretaries come and go. Not for nothing was he said to be the real ruler of Ireland. He served under five Viceroys – Lords Whitworth, Talbot, Wellesley, Anglesey, and Northumberland — and seven Chief Secretaries, the most important being Robert Peel (later Prime Minister), Charles Grant, Henry Goulburn and William Lamb (later Lord Melbourne, and Prime Minister).

Little more than a decade before Mr. Gregory's appointment, Ireland had lost its Parliament, and he had to carry out policies decided upon by a government who found it difficult to understand the Irish situation, and had no sympathy with the Roman Catholic majority of the population. Thus Mr. Gregory's term of office was dominated by the Napoleonic War, periodic disturbances, famines, the visit of King George IV, teaching his various superiors 'the ropes', and maintaining as smooth government as possible during the mounting campaign for Catholic Emancipation. The Letter-Box therefore supplies anyone interested in the period with a fascinating and valuable insight into an important epoch of Irish history.

Mr. Gregory's Letter-Box was first published in 1898 in a small edition which has been out of print for well over half a century. This volume has additional material intended for inclusion in a later edition which Lady Gregory kept in her copy of the book, as well as an extensive biographical index, doubling as notes for the text.


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Lady Gregory’s Diaries 1892-1902

Lady Gregory’s Diaries 1892-1902


Edited by James Pethica

ISBN: 978-0-86140-306-6

22.3 x 15.5 cm.    with 16 pp. with 36 illus.

These diaries, covering the decade or so following the death of her husband in 1892 until they peter out in 1902, chart the course of Lady Gregory's gradual but remarkable remaking of her life. Widowed at thirty-nine, with a London social circle composed mainly of her husband's friends, broadly Unionist in her political views, and with only a few minor publications to her name, she was by her fiftieth year an influential Nationalist, close friend of the major figures of the Irish literary movement, widely acknowledged as the hostess of a `workshop of genius' at Coole Park, and on the threshold of lasting literary prominence in her own right.

The rich account these pages give of Lady Gregory's life in the 1890s and of her deepening friendship with and patronage of W.B.Yeats radically changes the existing image of her evolution as an Irish writer and Nationalist. As the only contemporary diary kept by a major figure in the Irish literary movement during these years, their day-to-day record of the summer visits of Synge, George Moore, AE, Hyde and others to Coole, of the early years of the Irish Literary Theatre, and of the swiftly changing allegiances and tensions in her extensive literary circle, provides a revealing and frequently corrective counterweight to the narratives of these years written long afterwards (in the light of later autobiographical imperatives) by Yeats, Moore, Lady Gregory herself and others.

James Pethica was born in England and educated at Oxford, and is currently Assistant Professor of English at the University of Richmond, Virginia. He has published a number of articles on Yeats and Lady Gregory, and is at present completing a book on their literary partnership and creative collaborations. His edition of Yeats's Last Poems was published in the Cornell Yeats series in 1997.

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The Easter Proclamation of The Irish Republic 1916

The Easter Proclamation of The Irish Republic 1916


ISBN: 978-0-85105-289-2

18.4 x 13.0 cm      10 pp. set in Uncial type, with reproduction of the original Proclamation, the pivotal document of the Easter Rising

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Tales of the West of Ireland

Tales of the West of Ireland


Edited by Gertrude M. Horgan

21.6 x 13.8 cm.
Published first by Dolmen Press in 1966

During a period spent in the west of Ireland in 1964-65, Gertrude Horgan discovered the tales which James Berry had contributed to a local paper, The Mayo News, during the last years of his life, and decided to edit the present collection, first published by the Dolmen Press in 1966. In doing this she added an important body of work to 19th century Irish literature and rescued the author from oblivion.

Like William Carleton, James Berry, a native of County Mayo, came from peasant stock. He spent his whole life in the West until his death at the age of seventy-two in 1914. The material of his tales comes from the people of Mayo and Galway, and introduces the smugglers, the packmen and the raparees of the West. Mainly handed down to him by word of mouth, they tell of poor communities living in a bleak and beautiful countryside against a background of secret societies, man-hunts, smuggling, murders, wakes, rebellion and starvation. Some go back hundreds of years, evoking the legendary past of Connemara, while others are Berry’s own tales of the Ireland of his youth when the shadow of the Famine hovered over the West.

Gertrude Horgan was, until her retirement, Professor of English at Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

‘When I left down the book, I had a deeper understanding of rural Ireland in the 19th century than I ever had before, because in Berry’s tales it comes to meet the reader, open-eyed and unembarrassed.’  Augustine Martin in The Irish Press

‘A marvellous book, readable, amusing and educative.’ Etienne Rynne in Hibernia

‘A book I would wholeheartedly recommend.’ Eileen O’Brien in The Irish Times

‘A notable addition to Celtic lore. ’ Choice

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Beauty for Ashes. Selected Prose and Related Documents

Beauty for Ashes. Selected Prose and Related Documents


Selected Prose & Related Documents

336 pp. 23.4 x 13.5 cm illus. in colour and monochrome

Poet of the Second World War and peacetime dramatist, Francis Warner was 75 this year (2012). This, the first selection from his prose, gives readers of his work some indication of the historical and intellectual background from which his poetry has sprung: of 'the giant race before the flood' who lived on to help shape Britain's post-war imagination.

Starting with memories of the Blitz and his poem 'Blitz Requiem', Warner recalls his schooldays at Christ's Hospital, Horsham, recovering from six years of war, and the role played by music.

He writes of his friends: 'Henry Chadwick: Musician', Kathleen Raine as fellow poet, C. S. Lewis and the Psalms, Henry Moore, Francis Bacon, Edmond Blunden, and Samuel Beckett, reproducing the manuscripts off two short plays Beckett discussed with and gave to him. Other subjects include W. B. Yeats, Benjamin Britten and the Japanese Noh plays, Samuel Palmer as poet, and Hugh Wybrew's Liturgical Texts of the Orthodox Church.

The book concludes with 'Francis Warner as Musician in Performance' an illustrative CD with music by Honegger, Vaughan Williams, and Warner's collaborator the composer and organist David Goode: and Stephen Cleobury conducting the Choir of King's College Cambridge singing one of their anthems.

Francis Warner DLitt, Hon. DMus, is Emeritus Fellow of St Peter's College, Oxford, and Honorary Fellow of St Catharine's College, Cambridge.


Armageddon and Faith: a Survivor's Meditation on the Blitz, 1940-45
Blitz Requiem
Remembrance Sunday Sermon, King's College Chapel, Cambridge, 2011
Four War Sonnets
Christ's Hospital Three and Sixty Years Ago
Henry Chadwick: Musician
The Song that is Christmas
A Cambridge Friendship: Kathleen Raine and Francis Warner
C. S. Lewis and the Revision of the Psalter
A Blessing on C. S. Lewis's home in Oxford, The Kilns
Foreword to Hugh Wybrew: Liturgical Texts of the Orthodox Church
The Bones and the Flesh: Henry Moore and Francis Bacon
Samuel Palmer's Poem 'The Sorceress'
James Joyce's Poetry
J. M. Synge's Poetry
Edmund Blunden's Pastoral Poetry
Richard Wall's rondeau cycle In Aliquot Parts
Japanese Noh plays and W. B. Yeats, Benjamin Britten and Samuel Beckett
Manuscript of Beckett's Breath
The Absence of Nationalism in the Work of Samuel Beckett
Manuscript of Beckett's Sans, and covering Letter
A Cup of Coffee in Paris, by Penelope Warner
Francis Warner as a Musician in the1950s, by Bernard Martin
Compact disc: Francis Warner as Musician in Performance
Anthem for Christ the King

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