Paddy McEvoy, Author and Teacher

A Disobedient Irish History Book 1

Readers of Paddy McEvoy’s Humanist “Catechism” series and subscribers to his Blog have been eagerly anticipating his Disobedient Irish History. They will not be disappointed.
Here he is once again, in top form, ploughing the foamy seas of Irish history like some modern-day Brendan, undeterred by leviathans, reefs or stormy weather, and not at all phased by a lack of discernible maps or navigational aids. Well-read and superbly ubiquitous, Paddy McEvoy illuminates his writings with tales, anecdotes, songs and poems and stirs the reader with his obvious passion and enthusiasm for his subject.
Most histories are constrained by the shackles of chronology and the restrictive template of sequential thinking; not so here. Paddy McEvoy’s thought-processes are multi- lateral, his targets diverse and endlessly shifting like North Atlantic ice-floes. In this first book of the history we may start out in the murky mists of Mesolithic Ireland, but by page 10 we are already on the run with the United Irishmen, and by page19, we have bumped into Garrett Fitzgerald. During this 50 topic, whistle-stop excursion, many side trips are taken to explore such destinations as the notion of “caste” in Irish society; and attitudes to Jews in World War Two. We meet saints, scholars and travellers and take a stroll with the Rose of Tralee.
If Brendan (known as “the navigator”) was a little challenged on the “where are we now?” side of historical voyaging, he wasn’t one to baulk at obstacles and was even known to cook his breakfast on the backs of large sea beasts.. Paddy McEvoy knows a leviathan when he sees one, and is inclined to pursue it like some latter day Irish Ahab until he has it harpooned with argument and reduced to blubber through insightful thrusting. In this volume, he is breakfasting on the backs of some very big beasts.
Like Brendan, who was seeking a new perspective from which to view the ancient world, Paddy McEvoy sets himself apart from the orthodoxies and hypocrisies of the history of Ireland drilled into him as a schoolboy, and which he has seen visited on Ireland throughout his adult life. His principal targets are the Church, for the way it has choked and constricted the growth of Irish thought, and those who, over the centuries, have promoted the use of violence in the confused and convoluted cause of Irish nationalism.
The book is sub-titled “Awkward Questions and Divergent Answers” and this is an accurate summary of what this entertaining, energetic and emancipated series of short essays is all about. Designed as the first of several volumes, “A Disobedient Irish History” will transport the reader to familiar places, but by new routes, and challenge her/him to see things from an altogether alternative view-point.
As always, Paddy McEvoy’s ideas and opinions are deliberately provocative and the reader may disagree (sometimes violently), as well as agree, with his conclusions. No matter! The objective of the quest is to disturb the big beasts, sink the smug, harpoon the hypocrites, and re-discover some of the truths skulking deep within the rich and disobedient history of Ireland.

John Young, May, 2013