Sunday, November 27, 2005

Of Irish Interest

Quick notes on what New York Times readers read about Ireland in the last couple of days. Friday's papers saw "Donabate Journal," a report on the perilous state of the craft of thatching in Ireland, with a bunch of quotes from a cottage owner in the town and a thatcher working on it. Two indices of the trouble -- both the raw materials and the skills often have to be imported -- the latter from Britain:

In contrast to Ireland, Britain saved its thatched roofs through aggressive conservation efforts after World War II and formal training programs, so its style of thatching developed while Ireland's remained relatively static.

Peter Childs, a Briton who has worked in Ireland for a decade, employs those techniques here because the roofs last longer and have a cleaner, more tightly woven look.

The Sunday Book Review has a 2nd review of John Banville's The Sea, a privilege that sometimes happens with big name authors given the vehemently negative nature of the first one. This one by Terrence Rafferty is nowhere as negative and even speculates that the novel began as a parody of a more English style of novel before veering of in another direction. There is also a link to the complete first chapter.

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