Did you read 'Angela's Ashes'? How many years ago? What did you think? The book, while widely lionized, had a fair share of critics, who questioned, among other things, its accuracy. What, in fact, do you consider the greatest Irish memoir of all time? [Read our interview, in either Irish or English, with Pádraig Breathnach, the translator of 'Angela's Ashes' as Gaeilge, published in 2011 by Limerick Writers Centre.]

Tags: Angela's Ashes, Antrim, Arts, Baile Átha Cliath, Books, Dublin, Frank McCourt, Gaeilge, Gaelscoileanna, Galway, More…Limerick, Literature, Moycullen, Toome

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I'd certainly rank 'Angela's Ashes' highly. I suspended disbelief, it was so artfully and convincingly written. As far as its veracity, I have no idea, but most people seemed to have put that question aside in judging it. I will have to read more -- can't recall any other Irish memoirs I've completed. I'll have to think on that.

When I first visited Ireland (in the 1970s), I thought that Limerick was the most unattractive city I visited, so I found it easy to accept McCourt's description of it during WW II. His criticism was unsparing, even concerning himself as a thief. I think there was a "Chamber of Commerce" reaction to the book among some Irish. And that's understandable.

Mary Robinson's recently published memoir, Everybody Matters, is thought-provoking reading.

Limerick is an interesting Irish phenomenon in its own right, I'd say, Jim. It had its own pogrom of its small Jewish population (Wikipedia), its infamous "Broken Treaty," several mayors assassinated by the British, a reputation as one of the most orthodoxly Catholic of Ireland's cities and more distinguishing characteristics.

Did not read Angela's Ashes, so it may be unfair to comment. However, I did try, and browsed through the book. I could not begin to identify with this depiction of an Irish identity. Perhaps this was due to place and time, but I was raised as I would describe as an Irish-Catholic-American. My roots are from Donegal, & Mayo after 1900, and Tyrone in 1850.  

An rud a lionas an tsuil lionann sean croi.

What fills the eye fills the heart.

 

Attachments:

Lovely expression, Maire. where have you travelled in Ireland? Ger

I didn't enjoy Angela's Ashes.  I thought the book was tinged with bias and a lot of what he wrote was a reflection of his own, dare I say, bigotry .My maiden name is O'Rourke and my grandmother (Mary Grue) was from THE MOY (near Armagh) and my grandfather Patrick O' Rourke was from Sligo. Just for interest sake. I am also the proud mother of Frances O'Neill who has just finished her opera The Last Torch.

Ah, excellent, Mary!  So we are very likely related.  I've been conversing back and forth with Frances about helping with her opera since meeting here at The Wild Geese.  Really excited about this effort to tell some of our family history in such a creative / beautiful way.  My last Irish-born O'Rourke ancestor left home for America long before yours left for Scotland.  Mine left in the 1730s!

mary mc ginnis said:

I didn't enjoy Angela's Ashes.  I thought the book was tinged with bias and a lot of what he wrote was a reflection of his own, dare I say, bigotry .My maiden name is O'Rourke and my grandmother (Mary Grue) was from THE MOY (near Armagh) and my grandfather Patrick O' Rourke was from Sligo. Just for interest sake. I am also the proud mother of Frances O'Neill who has just finished her opera The Last Torch.

Mary a chara, failte to The Wild Geese. Out of curiosity, which of those of us who've responded have purchased Frank's book, which is drawing decidedly mixed reviews here? I found it riveting and poignant, but can't speak to its accuracy. A copy was given me and gratefully accepted. 

A dear friend Chuck Laverty is from The Moy, which is in Tyrone, no? His father raised horses there, and, in fact, sold them to many countries to use in their cavalries.

I read Angel's Ashes years ago and found it to be a "good read" but not sure how accurate.

I did read Macklin's Trilogy of "The Famine Years", bought them in Ireland and "think" they are a good take on the cause of it all and as they were novels, made for good reading. It was even more interesting to me, as part of my Irish family came to Canada in 1842. listed as "destitute immigrants" and settled on "terrible" free land in Ontario Canada.

Have also read Edward Rutherford's novels, "Princes of Ireland" and "Rebels of Ireland", political novels and agfain do not know for sure how accurate but Rutherford usually gets to the bottom of things in his novels.



Janet Bruton said:

I read Angel's Ashes years ago and found it to be a "good read" but not sure how accurate.

I did read Macklin's Trilogy of "The Famine Years", bought them in Ireland and "think" they are a good take on the cause of it all and as they were novels, made for good reading. It was even more interesting to me, as part of my Irish family came to Canada in 1842. listed as "destitute immigrants" and settled on "terrible" free land in Ontario Canada.

Have also read Edward Rutherford's novels, "Princes of Ireland" and "Rebels of Ireland", political novels and agfain do not know for sure how accurate but Rutherford usually gets to the bottom of things in his novels.

Never read it....I think I will get this book soon....

Kerry, it is a memorable book, witness its huge sale internationally!

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