by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of you who are Irish or Irish at heart! I’m not a bit Irish myself and I usually wear my green with purple for St. Urho’s Day the day before. But anyone can enjoy a book or movie set in the lovely Irish countryside or populated with interesting Irish-American characters. Following is a sample of the newer Irish-related titles we have available at the Litchfield Library.
A fascinating new biography, The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero tells the story of Thomas Francis Meagher in the 19th century. Author Timothy Egan won the National Book Award in 2006 for “The Worst Hard Time,” a nonfiction account of the Dust Bowl. Meagher was an orator during the Great Famine of the 1840s who led a failed rebellion against English rule. He escaped from a prison colony in Australia and arrived in New York at the beginning of the Irish migration. He led the Irish Brigade from New York in major battles of the Civil War, surviving improbable circumstances. His dream was to bring seasoned Irish-American troops back to Ireland to win their freedom.
The movie Brooklyn was nominated for best picture, best actress, and best adapted screenplay at this year’s Academy Awards. Eilis Lacey is a young woman in Ireland in the 1950s who goes to America to find work and also finds love, but she has to choose between the countries when circumstances change. Our library also has the novel by Colm Toibin that is the basis of the movie.
An Irish Doctor in Love and at Sea is part of the Irish Country series by Patrick Taylor. These books are set in a small village called Ballybucklebo, where young doctor Barry Laverty and older doctor Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly practice together. In this latest installment, readers also get stories of Dr. O’Reilly’s World War II experiences in a naval hospital and aboard a warship. These books are recommended for fans of James Herriot and Jan Karon.
Irish Meadows won a "Fiction from the Heartland" contest from a major romance writers’ association. This faith-based novel by Susan Anne Mason tells the story of two sisters in 1911 who try to follow their hearts and their own ideas for their lives. Meanwhile, their Irish immigrant father insists they must hurry up and marry well in order to save the family’s horse farm.
The movie Song of the Sea was nominated for the Oscar for best animated film last year. Siblings Saoirse and Ben go on a journey to find their mother who has disappeared, discovering the secrets of the selkies and the fairies. Rated PG, this movie has been highly recommended by some of our young library patrons.
An Early Wake by Sheila Connolly provides some light entertainment for fans of cozy mysteries. Part of the County Cork mystery series, American Maura Donovan continues to run her pub in Ireland and decides to bring in live music. But when she finds a dead musician in her back room, her plan to keep her pub alive gets a bit complicated.
Telling stories is an important part of Irish culture. May the luck of the Irish be yours today and every day when you choose a story to read or to watch.