The Darkness Echoing: Exploring Ireland's Places of Famine, Death and Rebellion

The Darkness Echoing: Exploring Ireland's Places of Famine, Death and Rebellion

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The Irish Times Top 10 Bestseller!

From war to revolution, famine to emigration, The Darkness Echoing travels around Ireland bringing its dark past to life


Ireland is a nation obsessed with death. We find a thrill in the moribund, a strange enchantment in the drama of our dark past. It's everywhere we look and in all of our beloved myths, songs and stories that have helped to form our cultural identity. Our wakes and ballads, our plays and famine sites, all of them and more come together to tell ourselves and the world who we are and what we have suffered to get here.

Gillian O'Brien had a beloved grandmother who tried on outfits in preparation for her wake. Always fascinated by the Irish preoccupation with death and the rituals around it, Gillian sets out to explore this intriguing habit of ours, to be compelled to celebrate the macabre and relish the darkness of own mortality. In The Darkness Echoing she tours Ireland to find our most haunted and fascinating historical sites, to discover the stories behind them and reveal what they say about Ireland as a nation.

'My history book of the year' Ryan Tubridy

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