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The Last of the Name

By (author) Charles McGlinchey
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Blackstaff Press Ltd, Belfast, United Kingdom
Published: 3rd Jul 1986
Dimensions: w 130mm h 190mm
ISBN-10: 085640361X
ISBN-13: 9780856403613
Barcode No: 9780856403613

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Kirkus US
A small and beautiful collection of folksy stories, told by an Irish weaver, that vividly reflects the powerful oral traditions of rural Ireland. Edited by Irish playwright Friel, McGlinchey's stories succeed in capturing the vanished world of 19th-century County Donegal. While McGlinchey's life (1861-1954) spanned a turbulent historical era, his stories are relentlessly local. There are delightful tales of rampaging cattle, drunken schoolteachers, country fairs, and disappearing witches. Not once does McGlinchey mention the 1916 Easter Rising, the Irish Civil War, or WWII, though he lived through them all. Passed down through generations, these stories serve many purposes: to entertain, to educate, to poke fun at authority, to justify the teller, and to praise righteous living. Throughout the telling, McGlinchey's language is as fresh and invigorating as mountain air: "On Sundays in the summer-time all the boys of an age in the townland went up the brook fishing. We fished with our hands, We started up high near the foot of Bulaba and dug sods and stopped up the river. Then we went down and fished." We learn about farm animals, making poteen (moonshine), shearing sheep, and home remedies for various ailments ("The lick of a dog's tongue was good for a cut or a sore"). Bit by bit, McGlinchey paints a detailed portrait of his own life and the history of his community. While these stories have great intrinsic value, such as the fanciful tale of a piper who gets trapped in a cave, they also have clear anthropological worth. McGlinchey's Ireland is gone forever, replaced by a global village of television, computers, and instant communication. Yet to be brought to a Christmas "house dance," where McColgan the blind fiddler played reels and the dancing went on all night, is a rare treat indeed. Brimming with imagination, humor, and subtle wit, McGlinchey's tales will bring a wistful smile to any modern reader's face. (Kirkus Reviews)