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Frank Delaney's book Ireland is certainly one of the best I have read so far this year. The story flows through the centuries like the many wonderful rivers of Ireland flow through the lush green land.

The author is one of Ireland's foremost historical writers and his knowledge of all things Irish cannot be questioned. Using this knowledge he has written a beautiful and interesting novel that rivals Rutherford's Dublin and many others.

The book starts as far back as the Ice Age, progressing through the centuries to the modern day Ireland of disharmony on the one hand to a tourist paradise on the other. What comes in between is both spellbinding and amazing in the extreme. As we travel through time we meet King's, monks, Norman raiders and many more people who have helped to mould the land into what it is today.

A hugely entertaining book and a must read for anyone who has the slightest interest in Ireland or history.
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on 12 February 2005
This is a really enjoyable read from start to finish. The writing is very descriptive and it details key moments in the history on Ireland through a very moving and clever story. I found this book very entertainitng as well as interesting so its well worth a read if you ask me. Just dont be put off by the word history as its really very very good!
0Comment|9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Frank Delaney's book Ireland is certainly one of the best I have read so far this year. The story flows through the centuries like the many wonderful rivers of Ireland flow through the lush green land.

The author is one of Ireland's foremost historical writers and his knowledge of all things Irish cannot be questioned. Using this knowledge he has written a beautiful and interesting novel that rivals Rutherford's Dublin and many others.

The book starts as far back as the Ice Age, progressing through the centuries to the modern day Ireland of disharmony on the one hand to a tourist paradise on the other. What comes in between is both spellbinding and amazing in the extreme. As we travel through time we meet King's, monks, Norman raiders and many more people who have helped to mould the land into what it is today.

A hugely entertaining book and a must read for anyone who has the slightest interest in Ireland or history.
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on 3 December 2004
This book was a joy from start to finish. It evoked every emotion in me, from sadness, wonderment, awe and happiness. Through the authors descriptive writing I was taken on a journey through time and I remembered stories I was told long ago as a child.
As an ex-pat I embraced this book from the beginning and it didn't disappoint, it gave me my own piece of Ireland on every page.
With books like this, our sense of history and love of storytelling will never die.
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on 19 February 2010
I was given this book to read by a friend as, to be honest, I would never have picked it up myself. As someone who was born and educated in Ireland but of English parents I grew up somewhat distanced from the history I had to learn in school. However, this book brought it all back but in a much more enjoyable and understandable way. It helped me understand so much more about the country I have always lived in and its people. It is a refreshing, interesting book with many insights into Irish life. I will look at the historical sites around me in a different way since reading this book.
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on 29 June 2007
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Having lived in Ireland for a short time I found this a very satisfying book bringing back to life the beautiful Irish scenery and lifestyle I so enjoyed. It clarified some of the Irish history that I have become so interested with. It was most interesting to follow the 'story teller' on his journey around Ireland and Ronan's search for him.
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on 8 April 2012
Its odd how the different nations of the British Isles have bequeathed us such different ways of storytelling. In Scotland, where the modern romantic historic novel was born, Walter Scott narrated us heroic tales of the great and the good. In England it took until more recently, and I think of the wonderfully crafted words of Melvyn Bragg, drawing that country's ancient past to live for the reader. Wales has struggled, as it does with its religious and ethnic definition, with a few, like John Cowper Powys trying to blend her out of her history through a well-spun tale.

Ireland, a land more torn by conflict and turmoil in its hundreds of years of existence than any in these British Isles, now has a turned tale that will please the mind and ear of anyone, told in a manner that is truly, unmistakably and singularly Irish. Delaney has created a structure for his tale-telling that is both of Ireland and of its people. This is a tale of an aged tale-teller and his young self-appointed acolyte. Or is it? You will need to read the book through to find out.

The tale is beautifully told. And the historic fiction of the tale is embraced in its telling. For all history is someone's - his - story. There are few facts in history, just tales told, retold and retained. Delaney takes a small pool of characters and weaves a tale of Ireland and her people round the simple plotline of a wandering Irish story-teller. There are no holds held back. There is ample, if soft, humour. This is not Scott boasting of how great his Scots are; nor Bragg struggling to separate the native Celtic from the invading Germanic; nor Powys trying to create a tale palatable to everyone in Wales. Delaney presents Ireland as a series of tales, not as history. But do not think that this is any less a true history because of it. I now know I knew so little of the country I can see from the hills of SW Scotland, since Delaney gathered me into the crowds, sat me at the story-teller's feet, and drew me in to listen.

If there is a small flaw, it is that the tale of the acolyte is weak in places. But, ignore that, as it may remain true in practice. For these storytellers are not heroic figures, just another part of Ireland's story; apparently. I found this a book to season and read of a chapter an evening. It is not a book to be rushed over. For the story-teller, in the book, structures and selects his tales for the time and season. To read the entire book at a sitting would lose some of its power. Savour and enjoy, don't wolf it down.

This is one book that stands out so far from others I have read recently. Its structure is different and apt. Its telling is just so enjoyable. This non-Irishman truly enjoyed it, and is now wiser about his near-neighbour and her people.
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on 21 June 2010
I love good historical fiction and in this book Delaney has conjoured up a highly readable journey through the popular highlights of Irish history - much of it, as our early tradition dictated, unwritten and passed down through the generations by the wandering seanchaí. There is a great subtely to the construction of this book. Initially the 2 central characters act as the framework over which the stories of Ireland's earliest legends are draped, but all so soon their own journey of discovery becomes as compelling as any of the tales offered up by the seanchaí.
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on 2 December 2012
I just loved this book. I read it in a day, whilst in bed, suffering from severe back pain. It took the edge off the pain & gave me something highly enjoyable to concentrate on! This would appeal to a lot of readers of varying ages...from teens to 'oldies.' As well as affording me much insight to Ireland - in terms of its' geography, history & mythology; all these factors were presented within a gripping fictional storyline. I would compare it to a big, beefy pudding: layers upon layers of varying textures & tastes. A delicious & very clever book!
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on 9 August 2005
This is a very nice and entertaining book, putting you right into the traditional Irish oral/storyteller tradition. The stories told, inspired from the old stories, myths and legends, are fun but very much fiction. I enjoyed it alot, especially because I know the old myths and lengends he draws upon.
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