Ireland A stranger appears at young Ronan's Irish countryside house in 1951, and, in exchange for dinner and a bed, spins legends of long-ago knights, kings,… 2005-02-15 Fiction HarperCollins
Review

Ireland (2005)

Details Release Date: Feb 15, 2005; Writer: Frank Delaney; Genre: Fiction; Publisher: HarperCollins

A stranger appears at young Ronan's Irish countryside house in 1951, and, in exchange for dinner and a bed, spins legends of long-ago knights, kings, and tyrants. Ronan is captivated by the storyteller's accounts of Patrick, pre-sainthood, and the building of Newgrange (an Irish stone structure that predates Stonehenge). When his chilly mother, Catholic sensibilities offended, banishes the old man from the house, Ronan begins a lifelong quest to find the man and solve the mysteries of his family's past, while forging his own career as a historian. Part period saga, part domestic drama, Ireland sometimes strains with over-wrought prose (''the echo of a sob tripped his breath''). But Delaney gracefully collects essential myths — and invents a few, too — in his heartfelt ode to the oral tradition.

Originally posted Feb 21, 2005 Published in issue #808 Feb 25, 2005 Order article reprints