'Last of the Name'


This book, 'The Last of the Name', edited and introduced by Brian Friel deals with the life and times of Charles McGlinchey. Living in a time of extreme transition Charles McGlinchey has become a man of great historical importance. Seldom leaving his native townland he acquired great scope for observing and recording his environment.

In his late eighties, Charles McGlinchey and Patrick Kavanagh, local schoolmaster of Gaddyduff National School, struck up an intimate relationship that exists between a storyteller and a listener.

McGlinchey, mindful of his age was keen to extol his knowledge and experiences to an attentive listener. Similarly, Patrick Kavanagh was keen to document the days of yore and patiently transcribed McGlincheys' stories by longhand. This rewarding relationship has resulted in what has become an invaluable slice of history.

Charles McGlincheys narratives unearthed the occurances and intricacies of the Clonmany area that risked being long forgotten. The legends of Clonmany were opened by McGlinchey and set free onto its people so that they could learn about the origins of their locality. Tales of the simple but significant ways of life were a strong feature of McGlincheys' memoirs, so much so that they have formed the basis for this book.

McGlinchey's stream of consciousness style of conversation told to Patrick Kavanagh has been concentrated into eighteen chapters dealing with themes ranging from the famine, emigration and landlords to poteen, poets, publicans and pilgrimages.

The manuscripts detailing McGlincheys stories lay dormant for many years until Desmond, son of the late Patrick Kavanagh, gave them to Brian Friel to edit into bookform. 'The Last of the Name' is the finished product of the journey between the storyteller, Charles McGlinchey to the listener, Patrick Kavanagh and finally to you the reader.

In 1999, the first translation of 'The Last of the Name' was published in french, 'Le Dernier Du Nom'. The Gaelige translation is due to be launched at the 2002 Summer School.



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