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2020 in Books

I forget who said “when I’ve had too much reality I open a book”, but for many the pages of a good book have provided a welcome refuge from the real world of 2020. Fortunately, there have been many excellent new titles to escape into and our new catalogue is a round up of some of the new books that have been published in the last eleven months.

Among the books offered are many popular authors as well as a few newcomers. Two in the fiction category that I particularly enjoyed are “Love” by Roddy Doyle – a wonderful tale of friendship, and “That Old Country Music” by Kevin Barry – an eclectic collection of short stories. But my favourite book of the year is “Thirty Two Words for Field” by Manchan Magan. It isn’t just a book about words and the Irish language, but a book about how we see, understand and interpret the world around us.

The year has also seen the welcome reprinting of “The Bogman” and “The City of Tribes” by Walter Macken in the Modern Irish Classics series from New Island Books, and the publication of two new titles by Alice Taylor.

Major new titles for children have been long awaited but the last few weeks have seen new books by J.K. Rowling, David Walliams, Eoin Colfer and another book in the long running Wimpy Kid series. The Irish illustrator and author, Oliver Jeffers has also released “What We’ll Build” – a beautifully illustrated follow up to “Here We Are”.

The “Books of 2020 Catalogue” can be downloaded or read online here.

All the titles are available to purchase on our website (subject to availability) and many are being offered at a discount until 1st December 2020.



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New Catalogue of Books related to Irish History published before 1950

We have recently acquired two collections of books related to Irish history that were published before 1950 and compiled a short catalogue of titles. The catalogue includes titles covering a long period of Irish history but has a number of notable titles related to the nineteenth century including a rare copy of “Three Lectures on Gaelic Topics” by Padraig Pearse. The catalogue is available here.

Further information is available about any of the titles.

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George Macnemara of Cong

“George Macnemara of Cong. Folklore and Facts. 1722-1760” is a fascinating and very readable account  of the life of one of the most celebrated characters in the history of Cong. The work is the culmination of many years of research by local historian and archivist Brigid Clesham.

George, a Catholic gentleman from County Clare, leased the Cong Abbey estate during the 18th century and is celebrated in local folklore as the highwayman of Cong. But his real life is just as complex and fascinating as that of the folk hero that was created during the 19th century. Drawing on documents and archives from around the world Brigid has meticulously reconstructed the life of a Catholic middleman during the Penal era. 

Hero or villain? Outlaw or philanthropist? Brigid has written a detailed account of the life of George Macnemara which contributes substantially to our knowledge of the history of Cong during the 18th century and illustrates life under the Penal Laws in the West of Ireland. The book is highly recommended to all interested in the history of the period and the West of Ireland particularly Cong and the surrounding area.

Click here to purchase a copy of the book.

George Macnemara of Cong. Folklore and Facts. 1722-1760. Brigid Clesham. Mayo Historic Estates. Cong. 2020. 9781916366701

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Achill Painters – An Island History

Local author Mary J. Murphy dropped into the shop yesterday with copies of her new book “Achill Painters- An Island History”. The beautifully illustrated book explores the rich history of painters associated with Achill. Copies of the book are available for sale in our bookshop in Cong.