Archives of the Tholsel Court, Dublin

The Irish Coroner

Milltown: An Illustrated History


The first female translator of the epic into English in over sixty years, Stephanie McCarter addresses accuracy in translation and its representation of women, gendered dynamics of power, and sexual violence in Ovid’s classic.

A Penguin Classic Hardcover

Ovid’s Metamorphoses is an epic poem, but one that upturns almost every convention. There is no main hero, no central conflict, and no sustained objective. What it is about (power, defiance, art, love, abuse, grief, rape, war, beauty, and so on) is as changeable as the beings that inhabit its pages. The sustained thread is power and how it transforms us, both those of us who have it and those of us who do not. For those who are brutalized and traumatized, transformation is often the outward manifestation of their trauma. A beautiful virgin is caught in the gaze of someone more powerful who rapes or tries to rape them, and they ultimately are turned into a tree or a lake or a stone or a bird. The victim’s objectification is clear: They are first a visual object, then a sexual object, and finally simply an object. Around 50 of the epic’s tales involve rape or attempted rape of women. Past translations have obscured or mitigated Ovid’s language so that rape appears to be consensual sex. Through her translation, McCarter considers the responsibility of handling sexual and social dynamics.

Then why continue to read Ovid? McCarter proposes Ovid should be read because he gives us stories through which we can better explore ourselves and our world, and he illuminates problems that humans have been grappling with for millennia. Careful translation of rape and the body allows readers to see Ovid’s nuances clearly and to better appreciate how ideas about sexuality, beauty, and gender are constructed over time. This is especially important since so many of our own ideas about these phenomena are themselves undergoing rapid metamorphosis, and Ovid can help us see and understand this progression. The Metamorphoses holds up a kaleidoscopic lens to the modern world, one that offers us the opportunity to reflect on contemporary discussions about gender, sexuality, race, violence, art, and identity.

‘Look Back to Look Forward’: Frank O’Connor’s Complete Translations from the Irish

Although Frank O’Connor is known primarily, and rightly, as one of the most accomplished short-story writers in English, he was also an accomplished translator. In the long line of Irish writers given to translating poems written in Irish into poems written in English – a tradition stretching back at least as far as Jonathan Swift – he stands out above all the rest.

Between the mid-1920s and the mid-1960s, O’Connor published 121 translations that give voice to the full range of the centuries-old tradition of poetry in Irish. Collected here for the first time, O’Connor’s translations show an uncanny aptitude for carrying over into English verse many of the riches to be found in the originals – the ancient voice of the Hag of Beare lamenting her decline into old age; the voices of the early monks describing the Irish landscape, Irish weather, their religious faith, and, in at least one instance, their cat; the voice of Hugh O’Rourke’s wife torn between loyalty to her husband and a rising desire for her seducer. All these voices haunted O’Connor throughout his career, whatever else he was doing.

O’Connor’s translations spring from a nearly compulsive desire to breathe life into Ireland’s past, to ‘look back to look forward,’ as he once put it; for O’Connor, the Irish-language tradition was not a matter for scholars and archives alone, but a living body of work that was of serious, even urgent, relevance to an Ireland that seemed increasingly and puzzlingly indifferent to it.

It is in large part because of O’Connor’s profound, unmitigated love of the Irish language and its rich, centuries-old tradition of literature – ‘a literature of which no Irishman need feel ashamed’, he once said – that these voices, and so many others, can still be heard.

Perils & Prospects of a United Ireland

Padraig O’Malley’s Perils & Prospects of a United Ireland presents the definitive study of the questions around the future of Northern Irish politics, including the idea of reunification. Focusing on the topics of the Northern Ireland Protocol, the Good Friday Agreement, Brexit, Unionism, Nationalism, the economics of potential reunification or continued partition, and the wide range of Northern Irish identities, this work encompasses the most up-to-date and considered review of political actions so far. A must-read for those interested in the future of Northern Ireland.

Brickmaking in Ireland

Mapping South Kerry

The Penguin History of Modern Spain: 1898 to Present

‘Spain is different,’ proclaimed the Franco regime in the 1940s, keen to attract foreign tourists. For the most part, the world has agreed. From the end of its ‘glorious empire’ in 1898 to the dazzling World Cup victory in 2010, the prevailing narrative of modern Spain has emphasized the country’s peculiarity. Generations of historians and readers have been transfixed by its implosion into civil war in the 1930s, seduced by the valiant struggle of the republicans, horrified by the barbarity of the dictatorship which followed. Franco’s Spain was seen as an anomaly in the midst of prosperous and permissive post-war Western Europe. But, as Nigel Townson shows in this richly layered and exciting new history, beyond the familiar image, there lies a radically different history of Spain: of a dynamic and progressive society that fits firmly into the narrative of modern Europe.

Drawing on over forty years of post-Franco scholarship, The Penguin History of Modern Spain transforms our knowledge of Spain and its politics, society, economics and culture. It interweaves cutting-edge Spanish-led research – never before published in English – and testimonies of peasants, housewives, soldiers, workers, entrepreneurs, feminists and worker-priests, for an original and surprising portrait, which allows us, at last, to discern the country behind the veil of propaganda and romantic myths which still endure today

The Best Minds: A Story of Friendship, Madness, and the Tragedy of Good Intentions

A novelist’s gripping investigation of the forces that led his childhood best friend from academic stardom to the psychiatric hospital where he has lived since killing the woman he loved

When the Rosens moved to New Rochelle, New York in 1973, Jonathan Rosen and Michael Laudor became inseparable. Both children of professors, the boys were best friends and fierce rivals who soon followed each other to Yale University.

Michael blazed through Yale in three years, graduating summa cum laude and landing a top-flight consulting job. Then one day, Jonathan received a devastating call: Michael had suffered a psychotic break and was in the locked ward of a psychiatric hospital.

Diagnosed with schizophrenia, Michael was still in hospital when he learned he’d been accepted to Yale Law School, and living in a halfway house when he decided, against all odds, to enroll. Still battling delusions, he managed to graduate, and after his triumphant story was featured in The New York Times, sold a memoir for a vast sum. Ron Howard bought film rights, completing the dream for Michael and his tirelessly supportive girlfriend Carrie, and Brad Pitt was set to star. But then Michael, in the grip of psychosis, committed a horrific act that made him a front-page story of an entirely different sort.

The Best Minds is Jonathan Rosen’s powerful account of an American tragedy, set in the final decades of the American century, an era that coincided with the emptying out of state mental hospitals. It is a story about the bonds of friendship, the price of delusion and the mystery of identity. Tender, funny, and harrowing by turns, The Best Minds is both a beautifully rendered coming of age story and an indictment of the profound neglect of mental illness in our society.

Sean O’Casey: Political Activist and Writer

On the hundredth anniversary of the production of Sean O’Casey’s Dublin plays at the Abbey Theatre, this timely book, Sean O’Casey: Political activist and writer situates O’Casey in the literary and political context of his time. It is written in an accessible style that will appeal to both a general and an academic readership. O’Casey has been widely acknowledged as one of Ireland’s foremost dramatists. Drawing on archival material as well as a close reading of his drama, O’Brien examines the influence of the Young Ireland writers, Charles Stewart Parnell, The Gaelic League, and especially the Irish labour leader James Larkin on his development as a writer and a political activist. This book places O’Casey at the centre of Ireland’s cultural and political history, charting his involvement in the shaping of modern Ireland, which is interwoven with a political and dramatic critique of post-independent Ireland and the wider world.O’Casey was one of the most political writers of his generation, constantly exploring the frontiers between literature and politics. Like his friend Bernard Shaw, he wrote for a purpose. His life reflects the history of the early twentieth century, a period shaped by two great ideas: nationalism and socialism. History and politics are woven into the fabric of his life and his drama.This book is an engaging and highly original account of one of the finest dramatists of the twentieth century, with a focus on the social and political movements that inspired his writing across the entire span of his career, challenging traditional interpretations that have focused almost exclusively on the three Dublin plays and the dramatic aspect of his life. By placing the working-class at the centre of his drama O’Casey gave a voice to those who are rarely heard: the poor, the dispossessed and the tenement-dweller, whose lives he shaped into works of art.

The Land War in Ireland: Famine, Philanthropy and Moonlighting

This book addresses perceived lacunae in the historiography of the Land War in late nineteenth-century Ireland, particularly deficiencies or omissions relating to the themes of the title: famine, humanitarianism, and the activities of agrarian secret societies, commonly referred to as Moonlighting. The famine that afflicted the country in 1879-80, one generation removed from the catastrophic Great Famine of the 1840s, prompted different social responses. The wealthier sectors of society, their consciousness and humanitarianism awakened, provided the bulk of the financial and administrative support for the famine-stricken peasantry. Others, drawn from the same broad social stratum as the latter, vented their anger and frustration on the government and the landlords, whom they blamed for the crisis. The concern of marginal men and women for the welfare of their less fortunate brethren was not so much the antithesis of altruism, as a different, more rudimentary way of expressing it.The volume’s opening chapter introduces the famine that tormented Ireland’s Atlantic seaboard counties in the late 1870s and early 1880s. The four chapters that follow develop the famine theme, concentrating on the role of civic and religious relief agencies, and the local and international humanitarian response to appeals for assistance. The 1879-80 famine kindled benevolence among the diasporic Irish and the charitable worldwide, but it also provoked a more primal reaction, and the book’s two closing chapters are devoted to the activities of secret societies. The first features the incongruously named Royal Irish Republic, a neo-Fenian combination in north-west County Cork. The volume’s concluding essay links history and literature, positing a connection between agrarian secret society activity during the Land War years and the Kerry playwright George Fitzmaurice’s neglected 1914 drama The Moonlighter. This original and engaging work makes a significant contribution to our understanding of modern Irish history and literature.

The Tilson Case: Church and State in 1950’s Ireland

David Jameson’s The Tilson Case: Church and State in 1950s’ Ireland tells the story of one the most extraordinary causes celebre of twentieth-century Ireland, which followed the marriage of Ernest Tilson, a Protestant, to Mary Barnes, a Catholic, in Dublin in 1941. Since this was a mixed marriage and the couple wished to be married in a Catholic church, both were obliged to sign a pledge agreeing to raise any children of the marriage as Catholics. Nine years later, Ernest reneged on that promise when he removed three of his four sons to the Protestant-run Birds’ Nest orphanage in Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin, intending to educate them as Protestants. To recover her sons, Mary took a case to the High Court and won; her husband appealed this ruling in the Supreme Court and lost. Widely reported in newspapers in Ireland, Britain and the United States, this bitterly contested dispute pitted the Catholic and Protestant churches against each other and polarised Ireland along confessional lines.

Beyond the Wall: East Germany, 1949-1990

‘Utterly brilliant . . . Authoritative, lively and profoundly human, it is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand post-World War II Europe’ Julia Boyd

‘One of the best young historians writing in English today. . . Well-researched, well-written and profoundly insightful, Beyond the Wall explodes many of the lazy Western cliches about East Germany’ Andrew Roberts

In 1990, a country disappeared. When the Iron Curtain fell, East Germany simply ceased to be. For over forty years, from the ruin of the Second World War to the cusp of a new millennium, the GDR presented a radically different German identity to anything that had come before, and anything that exists today. Socialist solidarity, secret police, central planning, barbed wire: this was a Germany forged on the fault lines of ideology and geopolitics.

In Beyond the Wall, acclaimed historian Katja Hoyer offers a kaleidoscopic new vision of this vanished country. Beginning with the bitter experience of German Marxists exiled by Hitler, she traces the arc of the state they would go on to create, first under the watchful eye of Stalin, and then in an increasingly distinctive German fashion. From the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961, to the relative prosperity of the 1970s, and on to the creaking foundations of socialism in the mid-1980s, Hoyer argues that amid oppression and frequent hardship, East Germany was yet home to a rich political, social and cultural landscape, a place far more dynamic than the Cold War caricature often painted in the West.

Powerfully told, and drawing on a vast array of never-before-seen interviews, letters and records, this is the definitive history of the other Germany, the one beyond the Wall.

Among Others: Friendships and Encounters

It’s the other people around you, says Michael Frayn, who make you what you are. So he would like to say a brief word, looking back on life from his ninetieth year, about a few of the people who have formed his own particular world.

Some were friends; some not; some more than friends. Some have had a profound effect; some only a passing one. Some you may know yourself; some you certainly won’t. Some he now wonders if he ever really knew himself. The last of his subjects in this selection, and the longest and closest acquaintance of all, is his own body, a companion on life’s road at least as idiosyncratic and puzzling as everyone and everything around it.

Among Others is a patchwork memoir of a lifetime’s encounters. Truthful and loving, sometimes elegiac, sometimes comic, it is a celebration of the endlessly intriguing otherness of others.

Free and Equal: What Would a Fair Society Look Like?

An uplifting vision of a new, egalitarian liberalism, and a bold practical programme for how we can reinvigorate democracy and transform capitalism

Despite the enormous problems we face and widespread dissatisfaction with the status quo, it’s surprisingly hard to find a coherent vision of what a better, fairer society would look like.

Free and Equal provides that vision. In this hugely ambitious and exhilarating debut, philosopher and economist Daniel Chandler argues that the ideas we need are hiding in plain sight, in the work of the twentieth century’s greatest political philosopher, John Rawls. Although they have revolutionised philosophy, his ideas have had little impact on politics – until now. Taking Rawls’s humane and egalitarian liberalism as his starting point, Chandler builds a careful and ultimately irresistible case for a progressive agenda that would fundamentally reshape our political and economic institutions.

This is a book brimming with hope and possibility – a much-needed alternative to the cynicism that pervades our politics, setting out a ‘realistic utopia’ that can galvanise people from all walks of life. Free and Equal has the potential not only to transform contemporary debate, but to offer a touchstone for a modern, egalitarian liberalism for many years to come, cementing Rawls’s place in political discourse, and firmly establishing Chandler as a vital new voice for our time.

Collected Poems

Anne Stevenson (1933-2020) was a major American and British poet. Born in Cambridge of American parents, she grew up in the States but lived in Britain for most of her adult life. Rooted in close observation of the world and acute psychological insight, her poems continually question how we see and think about the world. They are incisive as well as entertaining, marrying critical rigour with personal feeling, and a sharp wit with an original brand of serious humour. Her posthumously published Collected Poems is a remaking of Anne Stevenson’s earlier Poems 1955-2005 (Bloodaxe Books, 2005), expanded to include poems from her final three books, Stone Milk (2007), Astonishment (2012) and Completing the Circle (2020), drawing on sixteen collections which are presented in their original order of publication.

The Penguin Book of Korean Short Stories

This eclectic, moving and richly enjoyable collection is the essential introduction to Korean literature.

Journeying through Korea’s dramatic recent past, from the Japanese occupation and colonial era to the devastating war between north and south and the rapid, disorienting urbanization of later decades, The Penguin Book of Korean Short Stories captures a hundred years of vivid storytelling.

Here are peddlars and barmaids travelling across snow-laden fields; artists drinking and debating in the tea-houses of Seoul; soldiers fighting for survival; exiles from the war who can never go home again; and lonely men and women searching for connection in the dizzying modern city. The collection features stories by some of Korea’s greatest writers, including Yi Sang, Hwang Sogyong, Yi Munyol and Pak Wanso, as well as many brilliant contemporary voices, such as Han Kang and Kim Yongha. Curated by Bruce Fulton and introduced by Kwon Youngmin, this is a volume that will surprise, unsettle and delight.

Simply Lies

Killer twists. Heroes to believe in. Trust Baldacci.

Simply Lies is an intense thriller featuring Mickey Gibson, a former New Jersey detective, from the number one bestselling author David Baldacci.


Former Jersey City detective and single mother of two, Mickey Gibson, now works for global investigation company, ProEye, to track down assets of the wealthy who have tried to avoid their creditors. One day she gets a call from a colleague, Arlene Robinson, asking her to visit the home of a notorious arms dealer who has cheated some of ProEye’s clients in the past. Mickey arrives at the mansion to discover the body of a man hidden in a secret room.


It turns out that nothing is at it seems. The arms dealer did not exist, and nobody at ProEye knew of Arlene Robinson. Mickey had been tricked and now the cops were involved. The body was that of Thomas Lancaster who’d been in Witness Protection having had links with the mob.


Now begins a cat-and-mouse showdown between hardened ex-cop, Mickey, and a woman with sociopathic tendencies who has no name and a mysterious past. She intends to get what she wants and people who get in her way will die. For Mickey to stop her, she must first discover her true identity and what damaged her all those years ago. And the truth behind why she selected Micky to become her nemesis . . .

I Curse You with Joy

Tiffany Haddish is back with her highly anticipated new essay collection, I Curse You With Joy. In more than a dozen stories Tiffany is candid about her highs, lows, and everything in between. If you thought you knew Tiffany Haddish, oh you had no idea. I Curse You With Joy is the equivalent of being six months into a relationship, where you’re all in-the wig is off now, no makeup, no false lashes, no heels either! Stories run the gamut from Tiffany’s viral head-shaving video on Instagram where she found personal blessings right down to her scalp, her journey as a female stand-up comedian and auditioning for SNL to being the first Black women comedian to host it, and a bittersweet story of reconnecting with her estranged father after 20 years.

James Joyce and the Irish Revolution: The Easter Rising as Modern Event

A provocative history of Ulysses and the Easter Rising as harbingers of decolonization.

When revolutionaries seized Dublin during the 1916 Easter Rising, they looked back to unrequited pasts to point the way toward radical futures-transforming the Celtic Twilight into the electric light of modern Dublin in James Joyce’s Ulysses. For Luke Gibbons, the short-lived rebellion converted the Irish renaissance into the beginning of a global decolonial movement. James Joyce and the Irish Revolution maps connections between modernists and radicals, tracing not only Joyce’s projection of Ireland onto the world stage, but also how revolutionary leaders like Ernie O’Malley turned to Ulysses to make sense of their shattered worlds. Coinciding with the centenary of both Ulysses and Irish independence, this book challenges received narratives about the rebellion and the novel that left Ireland changed, changed utterly.

A Life in Medicine: From Asclepius to Beckett

In his memoir, A Life in Medicine: From Asclepius to Beckett, Eoin O’Brien, a cardiologist with an international reputation as a clinical scientist, describes his life in medicine and literature. He depicts his relatively privileged up-bringing in a medical family in the impoverished city that was post war Dublin and his intensely Catholic schooling in St Conleths School and Castleknock College, and how he would eventually rebel against religion.

O’Brien describes his training in medicine in the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin and in its teaching hospitals, the Richmond and the Rotunda with personal vignettes of his teachers and the teaching of medicine. Moving to England to train as a cardiologist, he describes from the unique vantage point of a front-line doctor the early development of the exciting speciality of cardiology with the introduction of coronary care units, defibrillation and pacemakers to reverse the then horrendous mortality from heart attack.

Back in Dublin, O’Brien describes the practice of medicine, the establishment of a research unit that would gain international recognition for research on the treatment of high blood pressure, and his role in many activities, including journalism and humanitarian activities.

O’Brien’s interest in literature brought him into close friendship with many remarkable writers and artists that included Nevill Johnson, Samuel Beckett, Con Leventhal, Edith Fourneir, Brian O’Doherty and Niall Sheridan and in the final section, he writes with about these associations, giving unique glimpses into the lives of many remarkable people. His recollections of Samuel Beckett, alone, make this an essential text for those interested in the Novel Prize-winning writer.

Douglas Hyde: Irish Ideology and International Impact

Spectral Mansions: The making of a Dublin tenement 1800-1914