CONFRONTED with a selection of six books on Ireland it Might be Imagined that even the most inssttiahle appetite would be satisfied to a degree of " overindulgence,and yet at the end g the last book the feeling was ef a pleasant repast completed, with a possible craving for further sustenance in the not too listant future.
Individual selection of each volume presented a problem not inlike a cattle fair of the land in ti
'es a :ion; a glance at this. look
wer that. a friendly remark about
inother, a tussle with fourth, ind then an argument (in which all oincd) finally to make the barThe bargain in this selection of >rinks, not unlike any form of westering. turns out to be the most (xpensive choice. The fact renains that in this case, as so often, ill the other tempting offers may, mite rightly, be regarded as a 'good buy,each in its own way. IT1HE reason for choosing "Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, toscomnion is that it is pertaps the most comprehensive of ii the books in question.
It is a travel book, one of a eries " This is Ireland," but it
'leases not only the armchair reveller and whets the appetite f the probable wayfarer. but lays a role in the telling of hissry arid legend. The reader may he reminded of sany happy visits or introduced to ew delights. A visit to Croagh 'atrick. for example, from where t. Patrick is said to have banished 11 snakes and venomous reptiies reins Ireland (some maintain it to ave been at Lough Derge Rosommon Castle and the Dominian Priory. the Oratory of Saint lolaise at Innishmurray. Sligo 'riory and the grave of Yeats. lere then is a book to satisfy the istes of a variety of readers.
OLLOWING on the in terest created by the ormer book, it was fascinating a indulge in the wealth of gendary Ireland offered in Legends of Iteland."
It may he the unaccustomed It may he the unaccustomed
iaclic names which quite naturli crowd this book, or it might ,e suggested that the style does ot lend itself to easy reading. but pplying the necessary concentra[on this book proves worth furher study, and might excite the ninitieted to delve into all forms if folk-lore. Ireland is indeed rich in this phere, for is not every Irishman lune able (and willing) to add to I at a moment's notice. This book xplores many of the greater and he lesser of its tales, " The Dream f Angus 0g," "Deirdre." " CuchuRion " and that amusing story of The Demon of Gluttony " in vhich it is said: ,.' I warned you last night.' said ie, but I might as well try To look for wool on a goat, Row a rudderless boat. Catch water in a sieve.
Without woman kind live,
Give warning to a sinner, Make pepper my dinner,'". . .
" MHE Crying of the
Wind" is an account If a journey in Ireland. leasantly told, but not of the tandard of Richard Hayward's
■ ook, with which, of its nature,
Mavo„Sligo, Eeitrim. Roscommon. by Richard Hayward, illustrated by Raymond Piper (Arthur Barker, 21s.). Legeltdsof Ireland. by 1. J.
Campbell (Batsford, 15s.).
!then Colquhoun (Peter Owen, 15s.).
The Red Petticoat and nther .stories. by Bryan MacMahon (Macmillan, 12s. 6c1.1. The Big Windows, by Nadas O'Donnell (Cape, 12s. 6d.). The Ballads of a Bagman, by Sigerson Clifford (Macmillan, 8s, ed.).
it must bear comparison. However, the author has a personal touch which may make it more acceptahle to many readers. It is a pity that the spelling of Lough Derg in the Scottish manner (Loch Derg) suggested that it was more of a visitors' report than a native's rambling. Bryan MacMahon has published yet another hook of short stories "'The Red Petticoat' and other stories." Each and every story in this volume is a great joy.
The author is a story-teller in the best Irish tradition. and it is difficult to select any particular item.
If, however, I were forced to do so, I would choose "Evening in Ireland," a meeting between an old priest and a young man on the country road, and their ensuing conversation: economy of words, extravagance of imagination. brevity of situation, but height of entertainment.
"rpuE Big Windows," by .1Peadar O'Donnell is the author's first novel for many years, and is a welcome addition to the field of Irish fiction. The setting. a glen shut in by high hills. a smallholder's young wife newly come. missing the merrier days of her former home, settling to her strange surroundings, some 50 years ago. Ti is an exciting and a moving story. and for those who look for a novel with both heart and soul, written with unfailing understanding for the simple human-being this book is worth every penny of
Finally " The Ballads of a Bogman " which. in S own way, concludes this selection on a lyrical note. A verse .from "The Tinker's Wake " is perhaps the most fitting end: They sat on the sugawn chairs And the stools the neighbours • brought, We gave them porter to drink And they prayed as they blew the froth.
The Crying of the Wind, by