From war to revolution, famine to emigration, The Darkness Echoing travels around Ireland bringing its dark past to life
Ireland is a nation obsessed with death. We find a thrill in the moribund, a strange enchantment in the drama of our dark past. It's everywhere we look and in all of our beloved myths, songs and stories that have helped to form our cultural identity. Our wakes and ballads, our plays and famine sites, all of them and more come together to tell ourselves and the world who we are and what we have suffered to get here.
Gillian O'Brien had a beloved grandmother who tried on outfits in preparation for her wake. Always fascinated by the Irish preoccupation with death and the rituals around it, Gillian sets out to explore this intriguing habit of ours, to be compelled to celebrate the macabre and relish the darkness of own mortality. In The Darkness Echoing she tours Ireland to find our most haunted and fascinating historical sites, to discover the stories behind them and reveal what they say about Ireland as a nation.
Dr Gillian O'Brien is a Reader in Modern Irish History at Liverpool John Moores University. She is the author of Blood Runs Green: The Murder That Transfixed Gilded Age Chicago and is a former Irish Research Council awardee.
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