Still waiting on news of a US distributor; we will keep you posted on that… In the meantime, it’s available here at Paddy’s online shop, and at all good bookstores in Ireland, as well as through Amazon.co.uk, and Amazon.com (via various Irish booksellers), and directly from Orpen Press.
Here’s a bit from the preface:
“My childhood days were spent working around our farm and going to school, cutting turf and thatching the house with my father. I grew up immersed in Irish rural culture—storytelling, music, and house dances that traced a long line back into the past; with characters, customs, and ways of life now long gone. The characters who people these pages are my parents and sisters, friends and neighbors, schoolmates, fellow musicians, workmates—all ordinary folk from the Irish countryside, who worked and played and squabbled and endeavored to keep themselves and their families afloat in hard times.
When money was scarce, as it always seemed to be when I was young, people had to entertain themselves with local stories, conversation with visiting friends and ramblers. Our house had its share of people who stopped in for a chat or a cup of tea, and I was raised on stories—of hard work and ruined harvests, of Gaelic sports, little people, ghost stories and hauntings. I began building up my own repertoire of stories as well: about the time my father got in our first wireless, and when my mother bought my first musical instrument—a mouth organ—from a travelling peddler…
Writing down these memories was almost like getting to know my parents and younger sisters all over again, from a time when we were all so young and seemingly more innocent. All the characters of my childhood were suddenly alive again, and despite all the hardship, the easy social give-and-take of that time still envelops me like a warm handshake.
I also found that through and against all the stories of daily life runs the strong counter-melody of an awakening creative consciousness, a slow recognition of the one vital imperative in my life: playing Irish traditional music. That realization of that imperative overtook me as a young child, so these are also the recollections of a young musician who had to learn tunes by ear from listening to the wireless—in those days my only source of inspiration. Without the aid of a tape recorder, my struggle to get to the heart of the music was an arduous journey, one of constant challenge and soul-grinding frustration.
And yet all of these things shaped me, the music and the stories by the fire, the hardships and the laughter. These stories are the reason you might hear the rasp of the corncrake or the howling curses of our neighbor Mick Hayes in the way I play a reel, or feel the cold wind blowing across the bog in the mournful melody of a slow air.”
Read more about the book, including another excerpt, here.
Book reviewers and media people interested in review copies should get in touch with Paddy directly via e-mail (PaddyOBrienBox@gmail.com), or contact publicist Peter O’Connell at:
Peter O’Connell Media
29/30 Dame St, Dublin 2, Ireland
Phone: + 353 (0)87 681 4499