The Irish Story

The Irish Story

Telling Tales and Making it Up in Ireland


R.F. Foster's The Irish Story: Telling Tales and Making it Up in Ireland examines how key events in Irish history have been recast and retold to serve a multiplicity of purposes.

In this provocative and extremely funny book Roy Foster demolishes the clichés that surround Ireland's past, examining how key moments have been turned into myths - and, more recently, airbrushed and repackaged for Hollywood and popular culture.

Whether discussing the 'misery tourism' of Famine theme parks, ideas of mystical Celticism, the contested 'Irishness' of Yeats or the sentimentalized childhoods of Angela's Ashes and Gerry Adams's memoir, The Irish Story brilliantly separates the tall tales from the truth.

'Brilliantly scathing ... combative, incisive and immensely enjoyable'
  Fintan O'Toole, Irish Times

'Inspirational ... challenging, illuminating and witty'
  Antonia Fraser, Irish Times Books of the Year

'Very funny ... the Irish story has rarely received so lively and unbiased an unfolding'
  Patricia Craig, Independent

'A complex and supremely intelligent revision of Irish identity'
  Colm Tóibín, Independent Books of the Year

'Blazingly good ... lucid and elegant'
  John Lloyd, Financial Times

R. F. Foster is Carroll Professor of Irish History at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Hertford College, Oxford. His books include Modern Ireland: 1600-1972, Luck and the Irish and W. B. Yeats: A Life.

About the author

R F Foster

Learn More

More from this Author

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more