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Pages: 256

Size: 147.32 x 218.44 x 25.4mm | 453.59g

Publisher: Veritas

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As appeared in Intercom, February 2017, 10th Jan 2019

Reviewer: Veritas Publishing

Former RTÉ broadcaster and author John Quinn is no stranger to the many who love radio and in particular those who savour the type of reflective and insightful reminiscences in which he specialises. In this rich and varied anthology he weaves together the stories told by an eclectic group of Irish artists and personalities with whom he has come into contact and who each explore the power of a place that has influenced their lives – for good or ill. From Seamus Heaney visiting Anahorish in south Derry, which inspired his early work, to former Governor John Lonergan, who guided the radio producer through Mountjoy Prison giving a workman-like account and analysis of its structure and inhabitants. Muriel McCarthy, Keeper of Marsh’s library, the oldest public library in Ireland, recalls its founder, Narcissus Marsh who wanted, in the 17th century, to give the citizens of Dublin somewhere to study the great ideas of the time. On the other end of the spectrum is the short horror story of Daingean Reformatory as experienced by musician and actor Don Baker. Interspersed between these guided tours are John Quinn’s own life moulding experiences in places like Auschwitz and Ephesus and his ancestral homeland of Drumacon in County Monaghan. A fascinating and in some respects haunting book of places.

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Veritas Publications

This Place Speaks To Me

by John Quinn


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In this wide-ranging, globe-trotting anthology, a host of Irish artists and personalities talk to John Quinn about the locations that have, for good or for ill, had a profound and lasting influence on their lives. Travel with, among others, Seamus Heaney as he visits Anahorish, the townland in South Derry that inspired much of his early work; accompany actor and bluesman Don Baker on a poignant return to Daingean Reformatory in County Offaly, where he spent two gruelling years as a boy; follow storyteller Eibhlís de Barra on a gloriously colourful stroll through the inner-city Cork of her childhood.

Based on material from the RTÉ radio series of the same name, This Place Speaks to Me is a rich, deeply evocative collection of interviews and is punctuated by John Quinn’s own reflections on life-changing journeys he has made to places as diverse as Auschwitz and Ephesus. From ‘the lived in, rolled up’ landscape of Westmeath in the company of artist Paddy Graham, to the storied environs of Anne and Catherine Gregory’s Coole Park, This Place Speaks to Me invites the reader on a journey around Ireland, and beyond, to explore the inextricable links between people, place and personal growth.

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