BOOKS FROM THE ATTIC

Treasures from an Irish Childhood

Written by
Alice Taylor
,
Photographs by
Emma Byrne
Books from the Attic

Alice Taylor takes a journey back to the 1940s and 1950s in rural Ireland through the well-used schoolbooks that she has kept from that time. Poetry, legends, stories and history evoke a way of life, and pace of life, that's long changed.

Hardback:
€19.99
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Electronic Book (ePub):
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Hardback:
256 pages
Size:
216x135 mm
ISBN:
9781788492140

Also available as an Electronic Book (ePub)

ISBN:
9781788492423

Alice Taylor takes a look back at the well-used schoolbooks she used in her youth in the 1940s and 1950s. Flicking through the pages of the books and recalling poetry and prose she learned at school, Alice reminisces about these texts, how she related to them and how they integrated with her life on the farm and in the village.

In her warm, wise way, Alice reflects on poems and stories on topics ranging from birds, trees and nature to fairy tales and legends, and ties them in with her own knowledge and memory of traditional country life.

Containing the text of the poems that readers will remember from their own school days, and evocatively illustrated with photographs of the school books and Alice’s notes on them, as well as nature, flora, fauna and objects associated with schools of old, this is a reminder of childhood days and a treasure trove of memory.

Alice Taylor lives in the village of Innishannon in County Cork, in a house attached to the local supermarket and post office. Since her eldest son has taken over responsibility for the shop, she has been able to devote more time to her writing.

Alice Taylor worked as a telephonist in Killarney and Bandon. When she married, she moved to Innishannon where she ran a guesthouse at first, then the supermarket and post office. She and her husband, Gabriel Murphy, who sadly passed away in 2005, had four sons and one daughter. In 1984 she edited and published the first issue of Candlelight, a local magazine which has since appeared annually. In 1986 she published an illustrated collection of her own verse.

To School Through the Fields was published in May 1988. It was an immediate success, and quickly became the biggest selling book ever published in Ireland. It launched Alice on a series of signing sessions, talks and readings the length and breadth of Ireland. Her first radio interview, forty two minutes long on RTÉ Radio's Gay Byrne Show, was the most talked about radio programme of 1988, and her first television interview, of the same length, was the highlight of the year on RTÉ television's Late Late Show. Since then she has appeared on radio programmes such as Woman's Hour, Midweek and The Gloria Hunniford Show, and she has been the subject of major profiles in the Observer and the Mail on Sunday.

Alice has written nearly twenty books since then, large exploring her village of Inishannon, and the way of life in rural Ireland. She has also written poetry and fiction: her first novel, The Woman of the House, was an immediate bestseller in Ireland, topping the paperback fiction lists for many weeks.

One of Ireland's most popular authors, her most recent book is And Life Lights Up.

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Emma Byrne is a graphic designer and artist. She is a graduate of Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design. She has won numerous awards for her design including The IDI (Irish Design Institute) Graduate Designer of the Year, the IDI Promotional Literature Award for her work on Brown Morning, and a Children’s Books Ireland Bisto Merit Award for her work on Something Beginning With P: New Poems from Irish Poets. She has illustrated many books, including Best-Loved Oscar Wilde, Best Loved Yeats, The Most Beautiful Letter in the World by Karl O’Neill, a special edition of Ulysses by James Joyce, and A Terrible Beauty by Mairéad Ashe Fitzgerald. She lives in a thatched house in Co. Wexford.

Other books by this author
  • And Time Stood Still
  • Across the River
  • House of Memories
  • Quench the Lamp

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