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The beautiful island of Ireland has endured a history that is pock-marked with struggle and oppression, with religious division and self-serving administrations. It has sacrificed its youth in wars, its generations in famines and emigration but it has never forsaken its calling that Ireland is a beacon of dignity, humanity and a home for words and literature of every description.Across the centuries, whatever its joys or torments, its poets have assembled verse that speaks from its soul. These fifty poems can never be a complete package of Ireland. They give glimpses, aspects, insights and thoughtful views and opinions of a nation that is proud, free and gloried with a history that few others can carry. That few others possess. From Katharine Tynan, Francis Ledwidge, Isabella Valancy Crawford and Thomas Moore to James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and W B Yeats this roll-call of wordsmiths speaks of Ireland and for Ireland.Show more
There is a day in March when people of Irish descent, in whole or part, and those who just wish to partake of the Shamrock Isle's legendary hospitality, come together the world over to celebrate the world's most popular National festival: St Patrick's day.That day is March 17th, the traditional anniversary of his death in 561. Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and is acknowledged as the one who brought Christianity to its shores and drove out the snakes! Although it is now generally accepted that snakes never inhabited Ireland and it's more likely a reference to the driving out of pagans or druids.Now we celebrate not just St Patrick or St Paddy's day but all things tinged with the green, all things Irish and its culture with parades, céilís, parties and the wearing of green clothing or shamrocks, and the hours, long into the night, are filled with laughter and good-natured exuberance. Although the day can coincide with the church rituals of Lent the restrictions on eating and drinking are lifted and this gives added impetus to the imbibing of alcohol, the whirl of dance and the clatter and chatter of a vibrant celebration. Our poets revel with the words and verse on every aspect of the day.Show more
Nature's year begins. Temperatures slowly rise. Green gradually becomes the dominant colour of the landscape. Rain from drenching showers to windy squalls help nourish the land. Nature has embarked on her epic symphony of the year. Each year, each season, each day is a little different from her previous work. Days lengthen as her canvas and palette grows more confident. Colour emerges from the shades of monochrome. She is at work on tasks everywhere.Naturally our classic poets rise to the challenge knowing that they will only be able to detail fragments or broad brush stroke the whole. They ponder, they write, they wonder.In fifty poems we take you on their inspiring journey reflecting on the miracle of Spring.Show more
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born on the 16th October 1854 in Dublin, Ireland. The son of Dublin intellectuals Oscar proved himself an outstanding classicist at Trinity College and then at Oxford. Wilde then moved to London and its fashionable cultural and social circles. With his biting wit, flamboyant dress, and glittering conversation, Wilde became one of the most well-known personalities of his day.His only novel, ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ was published in 1890 and he then moved on to writing for the stage with ‘Salome’ in 1891. His society comedies were enormous hits and turned him into one of the most successful writers of late Victorian London.Whilst his masterpiece, ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, was on stage in London, Wilde had the Marquess of Queensberry, the father of his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, prosecuted for libel. The trial unearthed evidence that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for gross indecency. He was convicted and imprisoned for two years hard labour. It was to break him.On release he left for France. There he wrote his last work, ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’ in 1898. He died destitute in Paris at the age of forty-six sipping champagne a friend had brought with the line ‘Alas I am dying beyond my means’.One of his most beloved legacies has been his five children’s stories which are gathered here in this volume. Much of the writing is very modern, even for today. He explores a range of themes in his own inimitable way, from friendship, generosity and sacrifice through bravado and bragging to the religious overtones of death. Whilst they are firm children’s favourites they also enchant parents and adults.Show more