The night they burnt Cork city to the ground...

SONGS FOR A BURNING CITY by Ger FitzGibbon, paperback 228pp, €17.50, £15.50

On the evening of December 11, 1920, a production of The Gondoliers is in full swing at the Cork Opera House when word comes through that the Black and Tans and Auxiliaries are rampaging through the streets and setting buildings on fire.

Songs for a Burning City, a fascinating work of imagined history, provides a kaleidoscopic account of the turmoil of that infamous night as seen through the eyes of individual members of the cast and audience.

For some it will be anopportunity for looting, or even romance. For others it will be an evening that changes the whole direction of their lives.

SONGS FOR A BURNING CITY by Ger FitzGibbon, paperback 228pp, €17.50, £15.50

On the evening of December 11, 1920, a production of The Gondoliers is in full swing at the Cork Opera House when word comes through that the Black and Tans and Auxiliaries are rampaging through the streets and setting buildings on fire.

Songs for a Burning City, a fascinating work of imagined history, provides a kaleidoscopic account of the turmoil of that infamous night as seen through the eyes of individual members of the cast and audience.

For some it will be anopportunity for looting, or even romance. For others it will be an evening that changes the whole direction of their lives.

FitzGibbon’s ensemble of vivid characters buttonholes the reader right from the start. A funny, tender, humane novel about small heroisms in the face of large terror. — MARY MORRISSY
Ger FitzGibbon’s novel is as perfect an evocation of the past as you could hope to read: an operetta wrapped in a historical novel, teeming with Cork life and wit, powered by a love of the city and a born storyteller’s command of character and plot. —GLENN PATTERSON

The author: Ger FitzGibbon, former Head of Drama & Theatre Studies in UCC, now works as a freelance writer and director. His professionally produced plays include Ghostlight; The Rock Station; The Bed; Tenebrae; Johnno’s Wars; The Hairdresser’s Calendar; The Four-Faced Liar. He has written adaptations based on Sheridan, Chekhov and the stories of Eamon Kelly. He is currently engaged with Theatre Makers Limited in developing a satirical theatre piece based on the Táin Bó Cuailigne. His directorial work ranges from O’Casey to Beckett and W. S. Gilbertto Dario Fo.

One woman’s story of betrayal and survival

THE PRICE OF SILENCE by Phyl Herbert, paperback 200pp, €17.50, £15.50

It was the ‘Swinging Sixties’ and the first time Phyl Herbert had made love. When she
became pregnant, she told no one except her married lover, who asked, ‘Are your sure I’m the father?’

She hid her pregnancy in London before returning to St. Patrick’s Mother and Baby Home in Dublin to give birth to a baby girl. Six weeks later, she watched as a car drove her daughter away to an unknown destination. Despite the heartbreak, in her innocence she thought she was free to start her life all over again. She did not bargain, however, for the toll that keeping a secret would exact throughout her adulthood.

After twenty-six years her daughter made contact with her. The Price of Silence explores how their reunion progressed.

THE PRICE OF SILENCE by Phyl Herbert, 2023, paperback 200pp, €17.50, £15.50

It was the ‘Swinging Sixties’ and the first time Phyl Herbert had made love. When she
became pregnant, she told no one except her married lover, who asked, ‘Are your sure I’m the father?’

She hid her pregnancy in London before returning to St. Patrick’s Mother and Baby Home in Dublin to give birth to a baby girl. Six weeks later, she watched as a car drove her daughter away to an unknown destination. Despite the heartbreak, in her innocence she thought she was free to start her life all over again. She did not bargain, however, for the toll that keeping a secret would exact throughout her adulthood.

After twenty-six years her daughter made contact with her. The Price of Silence explores how their reunion progressed.

Phyl Herbert tells Miriam O’Callaghan how she came to write The Price of Silence.

COMMENTS ON THE PRICE OF SILENCE

“Phyl Herbert has written her own story with remarkable courage. She bears witness to sexual hypocrisy validated by the repressive mores and dictates of church and government. Yet her story is ultimately one of hope and survival. And love. It is written in elegant simple prose that will haunt you long after you’ve turned its final powerful pages.” — Gabriel Byrne

“A powerful memoir. In writing about herself, Phyl Herbert has written about the landscape of silence that surrounded so many women’s lives in the twentieth century.” — Cathy Sweeney

‘You can never know anyone—not even your own mother.’

THE DEEP END by Mary Rose Callaghan, paperback 200pp, €17.50, £15.50

Mary Rose Callaghan was shocked one day when she was 13 to see her mother jump without warning into a bitterly freezing Irish Sea even though she suffered from asthma.

Seeing her dive into “the deep end” sparked a curiosity about her mother’s life—a curiosity that led eventually to this enthralling and poignant memoir of growing up in Dublin from the mid-1940s in a family that had fallen on hard times because of the failure of her father’s business.

The Deep End deals mainly with Mary Rose’s relationship with her mother, which endured through all the hardships and her mother’s descent into mental illness. In the end, she realises that despite all the pain and suffering, her mother had left her one great gift for life.

‘You can never know anyone—not even your own mother.’

THE DEEP END by Mary Rose Callaghan, paperback 200pp, €17.50, £15.50

Mary Rose Callaghan was shocked one day when she was 13 to see her mother jump without warning into a bitterly freezing Irish Sea even though she suffered from asthma.

Seeing her dive into “the deep end” sparked a curiosity about her mother’s life—a curiosity that led eventually to this enthralling and poignant memoir of growing up in Dublin from the mid-1940s in a family that had fallen on hard times because of the failure of her father’s business.

The Deep End deals mainly with Mary Rose’s relationship with her mother, which endured through all the hardships and her mother’s descent into mental illness. In the end, she realises that despite all the pain and suffering, her mother had left her one great gift for life.

“An utterly enthralling memoir. An eventful childhood, full of joy and trauma, is followed by the life of adventure in the world of literature. Mary Rose Callaghan blends her personal story with the story of her time seamlessly. Her sure-footed artistry, her complete lack of pretension, and wry sense of humour which make this book a delight to read. Just wonderful!”—Eilís Ní Dhuibhne

“This is an enchanting memoir, a hymn to an extraordinary mother in an ocelot coat, and a charismatic father who could talk anyone into anything, a book so readable that I never wanted it to end. As Callaghan navigates the Scylla and Charybdis of growing up, a lost Dublin springs to life in all its charm and eccentricity.”—Ivy Bannister

The unsung heroes of the Troubles

Paperback 200pp with full-colour images
€18.50, £15.90

The author:  Lieutenant Colonel Dan Harvey, now retired, has served on military operations at home and abroad for over 35 years. He is the author of several books on Irish military history, inclluding Soldiering Against Subversion: The Irish Defence Forces and Internal Security During the Troubles, 1969-1998 (2018) and  A Bloody Day: The Irish at Waterloo (reissued 2017).

Car Bombs and Barrack Busters tells for the first time the remarkable story of a unique group of elite solders who continually risked their lives to disarm explosive devices planted by paramilitaries on the south side of the Irish Border.

 The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit of the Irish Army was established as part of the Ordnance Corps in 1973 following the spillover of ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland into the Republic.

 Members of the Corps had dealt with unexploded bombs and sea mines from the Second World War, but now even more highly trained officers were needed to deal with the growing campaign of terror that threatened the security of the State.

 The book provides a fascinating account of the history of the Ordnance Corps, including its operation overseas in peace-keeping missions, and explains clearly for lay readers all the technical aspects of bomb-disposal. Much of the story is told by those directly involved. They recount their experiences without any sense of self-importance or recognition of their own bravery; they are too grounded for that and often, with a good dose of black humour, are self-deprecating about their achievements and honest about their mistakes.