In The Fields of Athenry , James Charles Roy leads us through the Irish past and present with the central theme of his own personal experience with the renovation of a run-down castle -- really a crumbled tower -- that he purchased more than thirty years ago. Moyode Castle, located near the County Galway market town of Athenry, was built in the sixteenth century by the DolIn The Fields of Athenry , James Charles Roy leads us through the Irish past and present with the central theme of his own personal experience with the renovation of a run-down castle -- really a crumbled tower -- that he purchased more than thirty years ago. Moyode Castle, located near the County Galway market town of Athenry, was built in the sixteenth century by the Dolphins, an Irish-speaking family directly descended from French-speaking Norman adventurers who had invaded Ireland four centuries earlier. This old tower house and the rich agricultural lands it guards has witnessed every strand of Irish history, from the heroic exploits of Celtic warriors long celebrated by Yeats and Lady Gregory, through the Easter Rising of 1916 when IRA insurgents used the building as a lookout. It stands today as a powerful, timeless symbol of the tumultuous ebb and flow of fortune, both good and bad, that characterizes Irish history.Roy weaves his personal story of the purchase and renovation of Moyode into a wide ranging historical conversation, leading us to a topic of real interest to Ireland today and our sense of history more broadly: the historical nostalgia we attach to Ireland and the fact that our romantic image flies directly in the face of development and boom times in the "Celtic Tiger" of the twenty-first century. Few know, for example, that today Ireland produces and ships more software abroad than any other country in the world with the exception of the United States, though we all know the story of Angela's Ashes. With this theme in mind, Roy leads us to question what attracts us -- or perhaps more aptly him -- to the rubble of a castle from Irish days long past....
|Title||:||The Fields Of Athenry: A Journey Through Irish History|
|Number of Pages||:||344 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Fields Of Athenry: A Journey Through Irish History Reviews
Wonderful compliation of history and story-telling. Really really really enjoyed it.
In the late 1960s, the author did something out of character. On a whim, he bought a motorcycle, went to Ireland and drove around - in the winter. Not exactly a dream vacation, but the implications in his words were he is still surprised by what he did way back then. In Ireland, he discovered these great maps (and aren't all maps great?) with Irish castles, fell in love with one of them and bought it. Okay, it wasn't quite so simple but he writes lovingly of the rather bizarre process of purchasing his castle. His castle at Athenry is the focal point for a history of Ireland. He generally brings it all back to the owners and land around it, and by making the history personal, he makes it available. This is a great overview of Irish history. It is NOT a romantic view of Irish history, however. The author does not paint the Irish as a romantic and tragic people, nor does he paint the British in a particularly great people either. Included in between the history chapters, are wonderful glimpses of Ireland from the time he purchased Moyode castle, through the last economic boom. He writes - again, lovingly - about his neighbors, of camping in the cold rain with cows trampling his tent, of the local pubs and priests, of hiring contractors to restore the castle. These are wonderful chapters, and while I thoroughly enjoyed the history, I would have been content reading more.I don't think I particularly liked the author, though I'm not sure why. He struck me as a bit of a cheapskate, somehow. But he was so clearly smitten with the maps and the castles, and his descriptions of the people and the area - while not romanticized - are incredibly loving, that its hard not to love them.
I bought this book years and years ago and I finally read it now...and it was ok, but I was more interested in his discussion of rebuilding the castle than I was in the history he told of Ireland...I think I am too unfamiliar with the history of it and it just went over my head.