The Irish Story : Telling Tales and Making it Up in Ireland, Paperback

The Irish Story : Telling Tales and Making it Up in Ireland Paperback

3 out of 5 (1 rating)


R.F. Foster's "The Irish Story: Telling Tales and Making it Up in Ireland" examines how key events in Irish history have been recast and retold to serve a multiplicity of purposes.

In this provocative and extremely funny book Roy Foster demolishes the cliches that surround Ireland's past, examining how key moments have been turned into myths - and, more recently, airbrushed and repackaged for Hollywood and popular culture.

Whether discussing the 'misery tourism' of Famine theme parks, ideas of mystical Celticism, the contested 'Irishness' of Yeats or the sentimentalized childhoods of "Angela's Ashes" and Gerry Adams' memoir, "The Irish Story" brilliantly separates the tall tales from the truth. "Brilliantly scathing ...combative, incisive and immensely enjoyable". (Fintan O'Toole, "Irish Times"). "Inspirational ...challenging, illuminating and witty". (Antonia Fraser, "Irish Times" Books of the Year). "Very funny ...the "Irish story" has rarely received so lively and unbiased an unfolding". (Patricia Craig, "Independent"). "A complex and supremely intelligent revision of Irish identity". (Colm Toibin, "Independent" Books of the Year). "Blazingly good ...lucid and elegant". (John Lloyd, "Financial Times"). R. F. Foster is Carroll Professor of Irish History at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Hertford College, Oxford.

His books include "Modern Ireland: 1600-1972", "Luck and the Irish" and "W.

B. Yeats: A Life".


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304 pages, index, notes
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: British & Irish history
  • ISBN: 9780140296853



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R. F. Foster is a noted historian of Ireland and in this book, he examines and dismantles the often one-sided stories of Irish history, particularly the Republican era. For someone who knows little of Irish history, however, the book can be challenging, and one would need to read more about the subjects Foster discusses in order to better appreciate his work. Also, at times the book is heavy-going with a focus on W. B. Yeats, though since Foster is a biographer of him, then the latter can be excused.