Born OTD in 1961, Rebecca Solnit. She has written on a variety of subjects, including feminism, the environment, social history, politics, place, landscape and art. In this acclaimed exploration of the culture of others, Rebecca Solnit travels through Ireland, the land of her long-forgotten maternal ancestors. “A Book of Migrations” portrays in microcosm a history made of great human tides of invasion, colonization, emigration, nomadism and tourism.

Enriched by cross-cultural comparisons with the history of the American West, “A Book of Migrations” carves a new route through … More

Born OTD in 1868, James Connolly. From Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein, to conservative Irish nationalists and the Church, many groups have claimed Connolly as their own, his ideas and strategies used and distorted to justify particular political positions. Kieran Allen breaks this mould, assessing the founder of the Irish Marxist movement ideas from a revolutionary socialist perspective.

Allen considers the strengths and weaknesses of Connolly’s revolutionary strategy, the effect of his commitment to international socialism on his … More

Solnit became an Irish citizen in 1986 thanks to some “fancy detective work” by an uncle who tracked down her mother’s Irish roots. “I’ve been in hybrid California, world capital of amnesia, nearly all my life,” she says. The new passport gives her an opportunity to explore notions of identity, memory and travel as a stranger in a strange land. Although ostensibly a travelogue, Solnit’s wonderfully discursive text ranges far and wide, through the geography and history of Ireland, tourism, migration and travel. Descriptions of places and people segue into brilliant meditations on metaphor, exile and nomadism.

Her meeting with Ireland’s Travellers (“hated, isolated and sometimes admired”) is a painful reminder of the US civil rights issues … More

Here Comes Everybody, subtitled ‘An Introduction to James Joyce for the Ordinary Reader’, was commissioned by Joyce’s own publishers, Faber and Faber, in 1963. Burgess’s original title was ‘James Joyce and the Common Man’, and he introduces the book with a provocative statement: ‘If ever there was a writer for the people, Joyce was that writer.’ Here Comes Everybody was Burgess’s third non-fiction book, following in the wake of English Literature: A Survey for Students (1958) and Language Made Plain (1964). Written between January and August 1964, Here Comes Everybody was published in 1965. The American edition, published by Norton in the same year, was retitled Re Joyce. The book was widely reviewed on publication, and it quickly established itself as a useful guide to Joyce’s work.

Burgess divides Here Comes Everybody into three sections. The discussion proceeds chronologically, taking in each of Joyce’s early published works … More

OTD in 1918 Countess Markievicz was the first woman elected to the UK House of Commons. Markievicz was an Irish politician, revolutionary, nationalist, suffragist, socialist, the first woman elected to the Westminster Parliament, and was elected Minister for Labour in the First Dáil, becoming the first female cabinet minister in Europe.

Twenty illustrated essays on Irish women, historical and contemporary, who have defied cultural norms around femininity and achieved great things. … More

A captivating retelling of the story of Grace O’Malley, the Pirate Queen of Ireland. Grace is a true daughter of the fearsome O’Malley clan, and while still a child she yearns to help her father fight to keep Henry VIII’s invading English armies out of Ireland. But battlefields are not seen as places for women, and for years she must sit idly at home while her father and her husband march off to defend their homeland. When English conspirators brutally murder her husband, though, Grace will remain idle no longer.

She herself leads men into battle on the high seas, where her prowess as a sailor and her ability with … More

Born OTD in 1939, Irish poet, playwright and translator, Seamus Heaney. The poems in Seamus Heaney’s collection The Spirit Level keep discovering the possibilities of ‘a new beginning’ in all kinds of subjects and circumstances. What is at stake, in poem after poem, is the chance of buoyancy and balance, physical, spiritual and political. Private memories, classical scenes, humble domestic objects – a whitewash brush, a sofa, a swing – are endowed with talismanic significance, while friends and relatives are invoked for their promise and steadfastness.

Throughout the collection, Heaney addresses his concerns, which inevitably include the political situation in his native Northern Ireland, in a … More

Born OTD in 1954, Robert Gerard Sands. This is the best-selling biography of the IRA resistance fighter and hunger-striker, Bobby Sands. In this updated, new edition, Denis O’Hearn draws from a wealth of interviews with friends, comrades, fellow prisoners and prison wardens, to provide a faithful and shocking insight into life in Northern Ireland’s H-Block prisons, an exploration of the motivations and thoughts of the Republican strikers and the story of one of the world’s most radical, inspirational figures.

Following his journey from its very beginnings – an ordinary boy from a working-class background in Belfast to a highly … More

Born OTD in 1882, Irish novelist, short story writer, poet, teacher, and literary critic, James Joyce. He contributed to the modernist avant-garde and is regarded as one of the most influential & important authors of the 20th century. Joyce’s fictional universe centres on Dublin and is populated largely by characters who closely resemble family members, enemies & friends from his time there. Ulysses in particular is set with precision in the streets & alleyways of the city. Shortly after the publication of Ulysses, he elucidated this preoccupation somewhat, saying, “For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal

A complete account of the life and times of James Joyce in the form of a graphic novel. From his … More

First published OTD in 1922, James Joyce’s Ulysses. Since its publication, the book has attracted controversy & scrutiny, ranging from an obscenity trial in the United States in 1921, to protracted textual “Joyce Wars”. The novel’s stream-of-consciousness technique, careful structuring, & experimental prose—replete with puns, parodies, & allusions—as well as its rich characterisation & broad humour, have led it to be regarded as one of the greatest literary works in history; Joyce fans worldwide now celebrate 16 June as Bloomsday.

Ulysses is divided into the three books (marked I, II, and III), and 18 episodes. The episodes do not have … More