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“Memories are strange entities. They are the thickened skin we build our lives around, the hidden vertebrae of our outward existence, until one day a familiar smell, a chance word or a sidelong glance and boom!”

What would you do if you found yourself pregnant, at fifteen years of age, in the early 1970s – in Ireland? It is almost impossible for us to imagine what life was like for young women who found themselves in this position back then. Girls Like You tells the story of ‘Margaret’, the name assigned to the author while in Bessborough House Mother and Baby Home. After spending seven months in the home ‘Margaret’ gave birth to a baby girl in September 1973. The following year, finding herself pregnant again, she made her way to England where her son was born in Guy’s Hospital, London. Against all the odds she brought her daughter home from Cork. Her son was given up for adoption in London.

Her story, written in memoir form, shines a light on family and society in twentieth-century Ireland. It highlights the powerlessness and silencing of women in a time when Church and State wielded ultimate power over their personal lives, a time where, in the name of keeping the family unit shame-free, women were separated from their children and siblings grew up without any knowledge of each other.

Written with pathos and humour, Girls Like You is a reflection on growing up in the early 1970s in the Irish Midlands. It is a story of love and loss, secrecy and abandonment, forgiveness and integration. It deals with the fallout of this period of Irish history on one individual and her immediate family while exposing the cost of an Irish solution to an Irish problem, a cost which still reverberates in society today as the truth slowly trickles out.

Jacinta O’Connell was born and lives in Athlone, Co. Westmeath. She spent a number of years working in Drugs, Alcohol and Homeless Services before returning to education as a mature student. She holds a degree in English Literature and Theology and an MA in Gender and Sexuality in Literature and Culture. She is a member of the Athlone Writers Group and this is her first publication.

ISBN: 978-1-78605-137-0

Format: Paperback

Publishing Date: June 2021

Seoirse Ó Dochartaigh’s love of Irish place names began when he was seven or eight. A friend told him that he and his family were going on holidays to Ballyhornan. “Where’s that?” Seoirse asked, and his friend pointed in the direction of some far-away hills. “Over there”, he said. It was a green, misty region of rolling hills and tree groves. Seoirse repeated the mantra in a whisper “Ballyhornan, Ballyhornan, Ballyhornan…” It was a similar enchantment to that which the American sailors experienced in the musical South Pacific to “Bali Ha’i”, a mystical island, visible on the horizon but not reachable – an exotic paradise.  Ballyhornan was Seoirse’s Bali Ha’i.

Know Your Place: An Exploration of the Place Names of Ireland is aimed not at the academic but at the general readership. It is exactly what it says on the tin, an exploration, and not an all-embracing compendium. The author has selected a group of place names from each of the 32 counties – about 80 from each. It’s a very personal selection. For each, he discusses the anglicized name, the original Irish name and the meaning of the name. Alongside this are a smaller handful that required some further explanation. At the beginning of each county section, he also provides a paragraph or two on the formation of that county and how it came to be named.

In the course of this exploration, the book provides some insight and enlightenment, and, perhaps, offered a challenge to some long-held (but erroneous) interpretations. The exploration of the place names of Ireland is a never-ending story. 

Know Your Place will appeal to all those with an interest in Irish history and culture, and one’s sense of ‘place’ in the world.

Seoirse Ó Dochartaigh is an Irish painter and writer from Inishowen, Co. Donegal. He has made considerable contributions to the lexicography of Donegal place names and has published his findings and given talks on the subject. As a painter, he has established himself as an artist with a highly individual vision. Among the seven books he has published is Sunlight and Shadow, exploring the world of Irish classical music. It is illustrated throughout with his paintings.

ISBN: 978-1-78605-140-0

Format: Paperback

Publishing Date: 2021

Eight years ago the popular and outspoken priest Tony Flannery was withdrawn from his ministry by his religious congregation, the Redemptorists, under orders from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican. The CDF took issue with some of his writings, saying they were heretical. He was forbidden to perform priestly duties, or to write any articles or give interviews.

Refusing to submit to this sentence, the intervening eight years have given him a greater degree of freedom of thought and action than he had ever experienced during his life as a priest in ministry. From the Outside is a product of what he has ascertained and come to believe during those years. The Church is facing many challenges. A great many people are leaving or have left; priest numbers are declining; clerical sex abuse still festers; women are excluded from ministry and decision-making, and that is becoming more and more of an anomaly as time goes by. Leadership in the Church seems incapable of dealing with these challenges, leaving the Church with a serious credibility issue.

Along with these issues, From the Outside also deals with a much more fundamental and intractable problem, namely the problem of Church doctrine. Many of what are regarded as fundamental doctrines in the Church date from the early centuries of Christianity. To hold that what was defined about God over fifteen hundred years ago must be accepted without question in the twenty-first century is no longer credible. Flannery outlines what needs to be changed, both in the content and language of doctrine, and in the images and metaphors used.

Challenging and controversial, From the Outside asks the Church leadership to look again at some of its basic doctrines. Change is needed.

Tony Flannery is a Redemptorist priest, well known for his writings on a variety of Church issues. His previous books include A Question of Conscience (2013), From the Inside: A Priest’s View of the Catholic Church (1999), Keeping the Faith (2005), and Death of Religious Life? (1997).

ISBN: 978-1-78605-102-8

Format: Paperback

Publishing Date: October 2020

“The messages of hope, kindness, love, care and optimism resonate through every chapter of this wonderful book.”

– Joan Freeman, Founder of Pieta House, former Senator

 

 

Enda O’Doherty is an extraordinary man with an extraordinary story to share. In I’m Fine! Thoughts on Life, Addiction, Love and Health, co-written with journalist Dermot Keyes, he brings us on a journey from his youth and alcohol-soaked adulthood, through the birth of Enda 2.0 – sober and with a passion for helping others – to his new life as an endurance athlete and inspirational motivational speaker.

 

Over a dozen years into sobriety and revelling in his new life, Enda has undergone a physical and emotional re-awakening as an endurance athlete, which has, incredibly, included carrying a washing machine from Belfast to Waterford in 2015 (covering nine marathon distances in eight days), and hauling his appliance to within a few hours of the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in 2017, both in aid of charity.

 

I’m Fine! traces the highs and lows of a life fully lived, the debt he owes to his family, how he has positively exploited his addictive personality, and his passion for teaching, while also disclosing his own ‘survival toolkit’ on how to make tomorrow better than today.  

 

Fuelled by 29 years as a teacher, and 6 years as a motivational speaker, this deeply personal adventure demonstrates the power of the human spirit along with Enda’s efforts to promote positive mental health. Reflective, entertaining and inspiring, Enda’s story is one worth reading if wringing every drop out of life is on your ‘To Do’ list.

 

Enda O’Doherty is a teacher, endurance athlete and motivational speaker. He is also an advocate for positive mental health and a long-term supporter of mental health charities.

 

Dermot Keyes is assistant editor of the Waterford News and Star.

ISBN: 978-1-78605-105-9

Format: Paperback

Publishing Date: October 2020

“A crucial text”
– Rev Bill Shaw, CEO of 174 Trust, Belfast

“Touching … thoughtful collection … of rich testimonies”
– Prof Maggie Scull, Syracuse University, London

The working-class community of Ardoyne has been described as a Catholic and Nationalist island within the Protestant Unionist sea of North Belfast. No other community suffered as much during the Troubles as Ardoyne. During the three-day period of 14–16 August 1969, stoked by the Battle of the Bogside in Derry, long-lived tensions in the area boiled over into riots. Streets became battlefields, houses went up in fire, and the first of many lives were lost.

Ardoyne ’69: Stories of Struggle and Hope explores the stories of 14 people who share one experience in common – the violence of 14, 15 and 16 August 1969. The book highlights their memories, but also asks how they interpreted the violent events they witnessed, and what impact these events had upon their subsequent lives.  It illustrates how people from the one community who experienced a common event have different memories, interpretations and reactions to what they saw. Stories come from people as varied as IRA prisoners and a local teacher to an RUC officer, an Irish Times journalist, a former Director General of RTE and a former President of Ireland.

Illustrated by contemporary photographs, Ardoyne ’69: Stories of Struggle and Hope is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how seismic events can shape our lives in radically different ways. 

Brian McKee is an Ardoyne man to the core. He has almost 40 years’ experience of teaching, retreat work and youth ministry. The majority of his work is in the field of peace and reconciliation in the parish of Holy Cross, Ardoyne, with the Passionist Peace Office. He is also manager of the nearby Passionist Retreat and Conference Centre at Tobar Mhuire, Crossgar.

ISBN: 978-1-78605-100-4

Format: Paperback

Publishing Date: November 2020

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