Ireland by Frank Delaney

I didn’t think I was going to get to this one but it looks like I’ve actually got a bit ahead of myself again and have some time.  Turns out that was a fortuitous happenstance because I’m really enjoying it .   Frank Delaney is a storyteller who writes stories about his native Ireland and the frame of this book tells the story of a storyteller or two beginning  in the 1950s,  but the stories told form the substance of the narrative.

ireland.jpeg
******
Ireland
by Frank Delaney
2008 / 560 pages
read by Frank Delaney
rating:  9 / historical fiction 
*******

Frame – the family of Roland O’Mara,  a 9-year old  boy in Ireland circa 1951, is visited by a traveling storyteller specializing in Irish myths and history.  (The name Roland derives from German but was made famous by the hero of the Frankish military hero in 778.)   The boy becomes completely enamored of the man, his stories and then in Irish history.  All this doesn’t  set well with the boy’s very Catholic mother,  but he pursues it in his own way anyway long after the storyteller has disappeared.  The frame has some to do with Roland’s search for the storyteller as he grows up as well as some personal family issues.

The book as a whole is spellbinding in the delightfully magical sense of the word.  Delaney can not only write good stories, but he tells them with a marvelous light Irish brogue.  And they’re all about the history of Ireland from the beginnings through World War I and a bit beyond for the frame.

The stories –  (a timeline of Irish history): :

Newgrange – 3500 BC:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newgrange

Conail Gulban:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conall_Gulban

Saint Patrick – mid 5th century:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick

St Brendan- 6th century:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brendan

Finn MacCou (?) l:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fionn_mac_Cumhaill

The Book of Kells:  850-https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Kells

And the amazing site: http://digitalcollections.tcd.ie/home/#folder_id=14&pidtopage=MS58_007v&entry_point=1

The invention of Poetry  – 900  (this is the only one which sounds completely invented)

King Briain Boru – 10th century king
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Boru

Lectures (not stories)  Vikings in Ireland – 750
Normans in Ireland –  1169

Strongbow:  12th century / Norman invasion
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_de_Clare,_2nd_Earl_of_Pembroke
Hugh O’Neill – Earl of Tyrone –  16th century: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_O%27Neill,_Earl_of_Tyrone
Battle of the Biscuits
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Ford_of_the_Biscuits

Oliver Cromwell in Ireland –  17th century – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cromwellian_conquest_of_Ireland

Edmund Spenser  – back to the 16th century
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Spenser

Penal Laws in Ireland and Plantation  – 17th century –https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penal_Laws_(Ireland)

Handel’s Messiah – 18th century
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messiah_(Handel)

Battle of Boyne late 17th century – (lots of great history stuff here):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Boyne

Jonathan Swift – 18th century-
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Swift

Ghost storises of Ireland – 19th century and on
http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/ACalend/Dullahan.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/recent/troubles/overview_ni_article_03.shtml

Easter Rising – 20th century
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_Rising

The frame and the stories  interweave in many ways including having Roland’s family listen to the storyteller in person and on the radio and television as well as in hand  written letters as Roland grows up.

NPR Review:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4532548