Monday, November 20, 2023

Is there a mainstream, accessible, book about Northern Ireland?

Someone who doesn't live in Northern Ireland asked me recently if there was such a book. He expected that, maybe back in 2021 for the centenary, that a prominent Northern Ireland journalist, columnist, writer or publisher would have produced such a thing. But I don't think it exists.

Go into a high street or airport bookshop and you're likely to find a lot of geeky political books, Troubles era writing, various polemics and plenty of anti Northern Ireland stuff. But, as far as I know, there is no publication that's nicely written, easy to read, well illustrated, that just sets out a positive story as to why there is a Northern Ireland and why Northern Ireland has some merit. 

The sort of thing I could give to my children, relatives and overseas friends.

I suppose it would have to be 'softly unionist' as the very existence of Northern Ireland presumes that. For all the chatter and bluster and the wall-to-wall commentators, there is no basic book. There are lots of talkers but precious few doers. Hyper-narrow theologians but few evangelists. Denouncers but few persuaders. Ranters but few raconteurs. Complainers but few constructors. 

Please let me know if I am wrong, I would love to see the book. But maybe, as the quote below - extracted from this article - says, "we doubt our inheritance".