Sat, Feb

History of Ireland



In this lively, engaging chronicle, best-selling author and storyteller Malachy McCourt delivers his own unique perspective on Irish history. As entertaining as he is informative, McCourt presents the sinners and saints of his homeland in an effort to understand Ireland through centuries of invasion, oppression and suffering.

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Here is a sweeping account of the Irish, from the age of the Tuatha de Danann to the Viking Invasion, through An Gorta Mór (the Great Famine) to the British Occupation, to the modern strife and struggle for independence - with startling insights into how the Irish national character took shape. McCourt shows how scandals undermine the efforts of honest leaders on all sides, and how resentment grew so deeply entrenched. He explores the controversial relationship between Charles Parnell and Kitty O'Shea, and its actual role in the nationalist hero's downfall. He takes you into the private lives of Daniel O'Connell, Bobby Sands, Gerry Adams, and other players in the drama and tragedy - and he makes you understand the milieu that produced them.

Ireland has made a contribution to literature, diplomacy, and popular music not remotely matched by countries many times Ireland's size. In this volume, McCourt unveils a new take on the fiction, poetry, drama and music that are Ireland's best-known export. Here are James Joyce, William Butler Yeats, Samuel Beckett, and Bono as you have never seen or understood them before. Readers of this unparalleled history of the Emerald Isle will come back to where they are and get to know the place for the first time.


Malachy McCourt was born in Brooklyn, USA and from the age of three was raised in Limerick, Ireland.  A very undistinguished academic career plus the need to eat led him to leave school at the age of thirteen to begin work in Ireland and England as a laborer.

He returned to the land of his birth at the age of twenty and again worked at the manual tasks such as longshoreman, truck loader, dishwasher, until he became an actor.  That career took him to Broadway and Off-Broadway and regional theatres in plays such as Mass Appeal, Da, The Hostage, Inherit the Wind, Carousel and Translations.  The soap operas such as Ryan's Hope, Search for Tomorrow, One Life to Live, and All My Children were also a good source of work and sustenance as were the movies Molly Maguires, She's the One, The Devil's Own, Green Card, and TV movies such as You Can't Go Home Again and The Dain Curse. Due to a heavy schedule of writing, book signings and public appearances McCourt had to take a sabbatical from the acting trade but is now back after completing five movies Happy Hour, Guru of Sex, Gods and Generals, and Ash Wednesday plus a running part in the HBO prison series Oz.

In the early seventies he was one of the first radio talk show hosts on WMCA and also worked at WOR, WNYC and WABC. He was a frequent guest on the Tonight Show, Merv Griffin and Tom Snyder shows and most recently he was a guest on Conan O’Brien and the Late, Late Show on CBS.

 Malachy McCourt has been the recipient of awards from various organizations such as:
City Club of New York  (Gadfly Award), New York Magazine (Best of New York Award), Turning Point Inc. (Humanitarian Award), World of Hibernia (Super Irish Award), Irish America Magazine (Top 100 Irish Award), NYCLU (Florina Lasker Civil Liberties Award).

Malachy has had articles published in many periodicals including  New York Newsday, National Geographic, Conscience Magazine and New York Times.

As well as being the co-author of the play A Couple of Blaguards with his brother Frank, Malachy has written his own New York Times bestseller memoir, A Monk Swimming, published by Hyperion Press. His memoir, Singing My Him Song, now out in paperback is published by Harper Collins. Running Press recently published four of Malachy’s books: the history of the song Danny Boy, a history of The Claddagh Ring,  Voices of Ireland, an anthology, and Malachy McCourt’s History of Ireland. Recent books, Harold Be Thy Name and Bush Lies in State, are published by Welcome Rain.  In the works is I Never Drink When I’m Sober for Harper Collins.   Malachy writes a column, Sez I to Myself, that appears  in the Manhattan Spirit, The Westsider and Our Town in NYC. (Read his latest article).

Malachy McCourt is happily married to Diana for almost four decades, has five grown children and is grandfather to four. He owes a great deal to his friend Bill W.