• West Cork Literary Festival 8-15 July 2022

I Have a REALLY Big Idea…

Writing.ie | Magazine | The Big Idea
barbarascully tv 140x210

By Barbara Scully

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This is the Big Idea section and I HAVE A BIG IDEA…..

Buy some Irish non-fiction books this Christmas – for yourself or as gifts. There is a huge selection of really gorgeous, home produced books to choose from. Here is just a small sample of some that caught my eye recently.

the_elephant_in_the_church_a_woman’s_tract_for_our_times_by_mary_t_malone 140x210THE ELEPHANT IN THE CHURCH, A Woman’s Tract For Our Times by Mary T Malone. Published by Columba

Mary T Malone is a Theologian who spent 40 years in Canada where she taught in Toronto’s St Augustine’s Seminary and other universities. She has written many books on the subject of Women and Christianity.

The Elephant in the Church is interesting because the author says that the ordination of women is a distraction from a bigger problem. She says that if by some miracle women were ordained tomorrow they are going to be forced to operate in a patriarchal organisation. She makes the point that from the beginning of Christianity women were seen as inferior – saying we were created second and sinned first but were saved by childbirth.

Pope Francis referred to needing the “feminine genius” in the church. Femininity says Mary is a prescribed behaviour. Had Pope Francis referred to Female Genius she would have been more impressed.

If you have any interest in the Catholic Church and its very weird attitude to women this book is an interesting read.

hidden_cities140x210HIDDEN CITY, Adventures and Explorations in Dublin, by Karl Whitney. Published by Penguin Ireland

We sometimes seem to feed visitors to our capital city such a diet of clichéd toss that I am was really charmed to find this book which provides a very different and perhaps quirky perspective. But what’s more is that it is beautifully written.

“When I thought of Dublin, the city where I’d lived for most of my life, I thought of edgeland housing adjoining lonely link roads, smashed glass in supermarket car parks, the trickle of a pungent river as it passes through a concrete pipe below a dual carriageway, mobile phone masts disguised as trees on high ground. It was, it has always seemed to me, a city defined more by its margins than by its centre and more by its hidden placed than by its obvious landmarks”

This is a very personal book and the author takes us on a journey to these marginal and hidden parts of Dublin in a prose that is liberally sprinkled with anecdotes of his childhood and life and with real time conversations with people and historians along the way. Karl Whitney is from Tallaght and so this is his first port of call and the first chapter. Here we get a fascinating insight into how Tallaght was sold in the 70s.. the development of Kilanarden being painted as a kind of rural paradise of modern living.

Other places uncovered include the hidden rivers of the Liberties… the Bull Wall and lighthouse and the on the flight path to Dublin Airport. All throughout there is both a kind of affectionate exasperation with our capital city which can only be expressed by a true blue Dub.

This is a book to settle down with on a rainy Sunday afternoon….

doorstep_wilderness170x210DOORSTEP WILDERNESS, A Wilder Side of Dublin, By Paul Hughes Published by The Collins Press

If you are a Dub with any interest in the wildlife of the city and the suburbs then go on and treat yourself to this stunning book. It is beautifully produced by The Collins Press and is full of stunning photography.

Basically this book is a study of the abundance of wildlife the author found in a relatively small around the River Dodder in Ballsbridge. Paul Hughes has captured this side of our city in all its diversity and its bloody beauty.

There are swans, moorhens and ducks on the river. A family of foxes, Kingfishers, sparrow hawks, herons squirrels, even an Otter fishing for flounder – in Ballsbridge?

It is the photos that make this book – and the wildlife are captured through a full wheel of the year.

It is so easy to miss what is right under our noses. This book should awaken us all to the beautiful creatures we share this city with.

its_the_little_things_francis_brennans_guide_to_life140x210IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS… Francis Brennan’s Guide To Life
By Francis Brennan. Published by Gill & McMillan

Another national treasure it is not before time that we have a book from the wonderful, effervescent Francis Brennan. For those who don’t know – Francis is co owner of the magnificent Park Hotel in Kenmare and star (with apologies to his brother John) of the RTE programme, ‘At Your Service’.

This book is exactly like the man himself… its charming, old fashioned and very uncontroversial. Some of it is mildly annoying…. particularly the first section which mentions children a lot. But then I always get ansty when those who have never parented tell parents how to parent.

If you enjoy the man – you will enjoy this book… There’s nothing earth shattering or controversial between the covers but it is liberally sprinkled with funny anecdotes which will keep you amused. And ultimately it’s about tea in china cups and gentle (as opposed to genteel) refinement… and being kind and nice to everyone.. and sure what’s wrong with that.

(c) Barbara Scully

Barbara Scully is a  am a regular panellist on TV3’s Midday programme, she also contributes to RTE Radio programmes including Tubridy on 2FM and the John Murray Show on RTE Radio One in addition to Newstalk programmes including Talking Point, Global Village and the Marc Coleman programme.
With her creative writing hat on my writing also features occasionally on Sunday Miscellany on RTE Radio One.
Her writing appears in various Irish newspapers including The Irish Times, The Sunday Independent, The Examiner and magazines including Irish Tatler, Woman’s Way, Irish Homes, Interiors and Living, Home and Home and Beautiful Kitchens.
Barbara blogs at From My Kitchen Table
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