St Patrick’s Day has just been and gone, and it’s made me feel very patriotic. It’s the perfect time to take the Reading My Country Tag and chat a little about the Emerald Isle. This tag originally was created by Booktuber Cook Read Create, but I’ve decided to take it as a written exam and spare you the horror of my voice.
What country are you going to talk about?
What is your favourite childhood book from your country? (If you don’t have a favourite, name a popular children’s book from your country.)
My favourite book from Ireland that I read as a child was Under the Hawthorn Tree by Martia Conlon McKenna. It’s a historical fiction book, based around the time of the Great Famine. I can still clearly remember my teacher in 4th Class (when I was 10) reading it aloud to the class.
What is a book from your country that you read in school? (Primary school or high school, your choice!)
Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel is a play featuring the five Mundy sisters, their brother Jack, and Michael, whose mother is one of the aforementioned Mundy sisters. The Mundy siblings are hit with prejudice, bereavement, and poverty, but they endeavour to get through it and support each other unconditionally.
What is a book set in your favourite area of your country? And/or what’s a book set in a place you’d like to visit in your country?
Despite not coming from Galway, it’s my favourite part of Ireland. I actually grew up in Waterford, about a three hour drive south of Galway city. I’ve never read anything set in Galway, though, so I don’t feel like I can properly recommend any. What I can recommend is Charlie Byrne’s bookshop which is about a ten minute walk from Eyre Square. A trip to Ireland’s western city is incomplete without a visit to the city’s best independent bookshop.
What is a historical fiction book set in your country?
I’ve already mentioned Under The Hawthorn Tree, but if you’re looking for something more adult-orientated I’ve still got you covered. Try The Wonder by Emma Donoghue. It tells the tale of Anna, an 11-year-old child who’s come to the attention of the world – and nurse Lib – has not eaten a morsel of food for over three months.
What is a classic book from your country?
There are lots of classic books from Ireland. We are, after all, known as the land of saints and scholars. We’ve lived up to the scholars name quite well, with famous Irish authors including James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, Bram Stoker, and Jonathon Swift to name just a few. These are some of the classic authors Ireland is well known for, and there are scores of contemporary authors to watch out for as well.
What is a book from your country that you haven’t read but would like to read?
I’ve attempted to read Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt for years, but never actually finished it. I really do have to get it ticked off this year.
What are some of your favourite authors or books from your country?
I could be here for a while naming them all out. Top spots have to go to Marian Keyes, Louise O’Neill and Peadar Ó Gúilín.