The Road from Castlebarnagh

ISBN: 978-1871305692
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Paddy’s musical memoir, the adventures as a boy musician more than half a century ago, growing up in a small thatched house without running water or electricity, near the town of Daingean in County Offaly. It was a time when the social life in the Irish countryside was often centered around the hearth fire, where stories were told by friends and neighbours who rambled into each other’s homes. Paddy says:

I want to introduce readers to the many colourful characters who shaped my own perception of Irish life and culture, and bring them into an older world where house dances, going out with the Wren on Saint Stephen’s day, and other pastimes were part of the norm. With other stories—of thatching the house with my father, the ringing of the big pig, the boys’ National School, turf cutting, the ghostly confrontation and the Banshee—I want to reach into the hearts of readers and remind them of a bygone way of life that helped to nurture our humanity and enrich our imaginations. The book is written in an easy-going, storytelling style, with a good amout of dialogue that I hope captures the way people spoke in our locality when I was a child. All of my old neighbors and friends who are now gone return to life on these pages, with their own distinct personalities and eccentricities.

This book is intended for people who are interested in Irish traditional music, and for those who are curious about life in rural ireland in the mid-20th century.  There’s a particular emphasis on my own development as a traditional musician, of course, and the whole process of growing up within the music. Many people have encouraged me to write down these stories, which I remember in detail and have keep stored in my memory, just as I remember the notes of a particular tune, and where and from whom I learned it. I don’t know of any other Irish traditional musician who has written such an extensive and detailed memoir as this. I think this story has a unique perspective, rooted as it is in music, the value of sharing, and in a time and place that are no longer. There is a need for this book because it provides a deeper cultural context for a whole generation of Irish people, and traditional musicians in particular, who will recognize and relate to my struggles and triumphs in creative expression.

Read an excerpt

You can also order here at Paddy’s Online Shop, and at all good bookstores in Ireland and the US, as well as through, and, Barnes & Noble,IndieBound (various indie booksellers), and directly from Orpen Press.

THE ROAD FROM CASTLEBARNAGH is also available as an e-book from Orpen Press, in Kindle editions from and, fromiTunes,  Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and via the independent booksellers’ e-book format, Kobo.

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