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Books By Jonathan Bardon
THE ONLY BOOK ON IRISH HISTORY YOU’LL EVER NEED!
From invasions to rebellions, heroic martyrs to pragmatic politicians, industrial development to mass emigration, A History of Ireland in 250 Episodes by renowned Irish historian Jonathan Bardon will take you on a sweeping journey through Irish history, getting behind the historical headlines to reveal the lived experience of Irish people.
Written in easy-to-read bitesize episodes, Bardon’s original and engaging style will make you feel as though you’re alongside William Smith O’Brien and his rebels at the Battle of Widow McCormack’s Cabbage Patch, traversing the country to banish snakes and convert Celts with St Patrick, and feasting with the Spanish Armada’s Captain Francisco de Cuellar and his wild Irish hosts. From taking up arms with the United Irishmen at Vinegar Hill to standing in solidarity with the workers of the Dublin 1916 Lockout, A History of Ireland in 250 Episodes will take you right to the heart of Irish history.
Featuring a cast of characters that leap off the page, from the well-known, like the hero of the War of Independence, Michael Collins, to the quirky, such as Susannah Cibber, the first soprano to sing Handel’s Messiah, A History of 250 Episodes will thrill, excite and inform you from start to finish. Whether you dip in and out of episodes or devour it from cover to cover, Bardon’s must-have book will teach you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Irish history and much, much more beyond.
In this vivid account, the author punctures some generally held assumptions: despite slaughter and famine, the province on the eve of the Plantation was not completely depopulated as was often asserted at the time; the native Irish were not deliberately given the most infertile land; some of the most energetic planters were Catholic; and the Catholic Church there emerged stronger than before. Above all, natives and newcomers fused to a greater degree than is widely believed: apart from recent immigrants, nearly all Ulster people today have the blood of both Planter and Gael flowing in their veins. Nevertheless, memories of dispossession and massacre, etched into the folk memory, were to ignite explosive outbreaks of intercommunal conflict down to our own time. The Plantation was also the beginning of a far greater exodus to North America. Subsequently, descendants of Ulster planters crossed the Atlantic in their tens of thousands to play a central role in shaping the United States of America.
The book chronicles how ACT faced powerful establishment resistance – both clerical and lay – to a vision that would see children of all religions and no religion educated together.
At the political level it describes how, crucially, ACT persuaded Westminster to pass enabling legislation in 1978. Then, in 1981, came the great leap of faith with the establishment of what would become the flagship of the movement, Lagan College, with a mere 28 pupils. Thereafter ACT embarked on a programme to convince government to make funds available to parent groups, wishing to do so, to found integrated schools. Despite frequent setbacks the movement developed at an impressive pace until, by September 2008, there were 19,183 pupils in 62 schools in every part of Northern Ireland.
Jonathan Bardon has spoken to many of those involved from the outset in the campaigns for shared schools, and trawled through reports, newspapers, the unpublished records of ACT and government files recently opened under the 30-year rule. What emerges is a remarkable tale of determination, tenacity, courage, dedication and, above all, vision by ordinary men and women from both sides of the religious divide. Their example moved Lord Mawhinney to describe them as ‘among the first genuine peace people’. Indeed, it could be said that no account of the Troubles is complete if it omits the story of All Children Together, a story that has given Northern Ireland a platform on which to build a post-conflict society based on respect for all traditions and religions.