Short Stories of Padraic Pearse

Selected & Adapted by Desmond Maguire

This collection consists of stories written between 1905 and 1915, selected and presented in dual-language format by Desmond Maguire. The stories’ themes are varied and include religious experience, family life, folklore and social/political strife. Popular history has taught us to associate Pearse primarily with a nationalistic fervour which is largely absent from these stories; today’s reader is, perhaps, less prepared for the spiritual intensity which pervades them. Love – whether Christian, familial or neighbourly – plays a large part in this collection, showing Pearse, the educationalist and cultural idealist, in a fascinating and refreshing light. Pearse himself did not necessarily regard these stories as “very exalted literature”, but rather hoped that they, and other writings, would answer “the cry of the awakening thousands of Irish speakers for something to read in their own language”. “The dual language format of this book makes Pearse’s graceful idiomatic Irish accessible to all, while the stories themselves – suitable for older children and adults – provide a valuable insight into the idealism and religious sensibility of an earlier age”.

Damien Brady,
Limerick County Library.

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