Here are forty songs of great beauty which stimulate the intellect and the emotions. I was attracted to the cover. It seems to capture so well the atmosphere of Irish pub music at its best. First surprise - it's a production shot from one of O'Sullivan's stage plays. And if you come here looking for Paddy McGinty's goat or so and so's mounted foot, you're in for another surprise.
O'Sullivan is a playwright, poet, song writer, academic and, it would seem, an all round clever lad. His introduction to this volume is as paradoxical as the cover pic, swooping from the arcane to the quotidian and back in half a sentence.
The songs themselves have a scarcely liminal loppiness of the Irish-English language. But it's there, and, after half an hour's reading you find fresh springy rhythms in your own head and speech. It's a refreshing experience, like dipping into James Joyce and letting his birds settle on your consciousness for a minute or two.
The songs feature love, pain, regret, nostalgia... in other words: the lived and considered life lit by the glow of humour. They provoke thought and elicit memories. The word is 'delightful'.
How much I'd like to hear them sung. How much I have enjoyed reading them. How sure I am that I'll come back to these songs and that phrases will stay with me for a long long time.
You can buy this book all over the place, including for your Kindle. Buy one for yourself and one for your lover! Ulysses (Penguin Modern Classics)