The Fields Of Athenry: A Journey Through Ireland

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Basic Books, Nov 10, 2008 - History - 256 pages
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 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.

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THE FIELDS OF ATHENRY: A Journey Through Irish History

User Review  - Kirkus

A chronicle of Ireland, as seen from the parapet of a run-down tower. In 1969, when Roy (Islands of Storm, not reviewed) was a longhaired young man touring Ireland on a motorcycle, he bought Moyode ... Read full review

The fields of athenry: a journey through Irish history

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Twenty years ago, Roy (Vanished Kingdom) bought and began renovating a crumbling medieval tower in Moyode, Galway. Since then, he has traveled back and forth between Newburyport, MA, and Moyode ... Read full review



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Page 275 - Samuel Eliot Morison, Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus (Boston: Little, Brown, 1942), 567-68; James Lockhart and Stuart B.
Page 131 - They feast together with great jollity and healths around. Toward the middle of supper the harper begins to tune and singeth Irish rhymes of ancient making. If he be a good rhymer he will make one song to the present occasion. Supper being ended, it is your liberty to sit up or to depart to your lodging: you shall have company in both kind.
Page 287 - ... of State were examined, the libraries of ancient monasteries were ransacked, and " Mr. Attorney was ordered to get together such documents as the Tower of London could afford, and to send them severally to Ireland under the Great Seal."|[ After much study the Crown, lawyers made out the following " Brief of his Majesty's title to the Counties of Roscommon, Sligo, Mayo, and Galway, in the province of Connaught."^[ King Henry III.
Page 278 - Memoirs and Letters of Ulick, Marquis of Clanricarde, and Earl of St. Albans; Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and Commander in Chief of the Forces of King Charles the First in...
Page 72 - Mayo of the English (Cong) of St. Ffechine, the Abbey of Athedalaragh (Boyle), Ailfynn, Uaran, Roscommon, with many other churches. God and the patrons of these churches shewed their miracles upon him, that his entrails and fundament fell from his private place, and it trailed after him even to the very earth, whereof he died impenitently, without shrive or extream unction, or good buryall in any church in the kingdom, but in a waste town.
Page 246 - They did not die in anger, or with any sense that Ireland was ungrateful to them, these men. Liam Mellows wrote to his mother : " The time is short, and much that I would like to say must go unsaid. But you will understand ; in such moments, heart speaks to heart. At 3.30 this morning, we (Dick Barrett, Rory O'Connor, Joe McKelvey and I) were informed that we were to be 'executed as a reprisal.
Page 132 - Because, said he (swearing with some warmth), I will cover that part, or any other your lordship shoots at, by hanging out both my daughters in chairs. It is true," adds Castlehaven, " the place was not of much importance ; but this conceit saved it...

About the author (2008)

James Charles Roy has been a peripatetic "independent scholar" since 1970, when he left Time Inc. He has written innumerable articles on Irish history and five distinguished books, including The Fields of Athenry and Islands of Storm, a Book-of-the-Month and History Book Club selection. He divides his time between Moyode Castle in County Galway and his home in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

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