The Corner

Tim Pat Coogan–It’s Not Just Derb

Some readers of the Hibernian persuasion took issue with my

somewhat-less-than-friendly review of Tim Pat Coogan’s book 1916 in NRODT

a few weeks ago

Well, it’s

not just me. Kevin Myers, one of the best opinion journalists on the other

side of the pond (he appears frequently in the London Daily Telegraph as

well as doing a regular column titled “An Irishman’s Diary” for the Irish

Times) recently tackled Tim Pat’s previous book, Wherever Green Is Worn.

That book has just been re-issued in paperback, and Kevin used this as the

occassion to take a hurley stick to our Tim Pat. The Irish Times website

demands that you–gasp!–pay to read it, so for non-subscribers here are

some choice quotes from Kevin: “Without exception, it [i.e. Wherever Green

Is Worn] is the worst book about Ireland that I have ever read, an

execrably written and rambling farrago of errors in which just about the

only things that are crystal clear are an obsession with national victimhood

and the indefatiguably buffoonish egotism of the author…” “The author’s

apparent ignorance of history is at times morbidly compelling, rather like

watching a drunken ice-skater repeatedly fall on his bottom…” “Calling

Henry II, son of Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou and Maine, and Duke of

Normandy, ‘British’ when ‘Britishness’ was not to be invented for another

half a millennium is the sort of witless gibberish Christian Brothers used

to rant a couple of generations ago…” “There are over 700 pages of such

ill-informed vapouring. And what’s more unendurable than his wearying

conceit is the national self-pity that he peddles. Taking the index as a

guide, it is surely telling that there are four pages which refer to the

injustices done to the Birmingham Six and 28 to the Prevention of Terrorism

Act. However, only three pages are given over to the Birmingham bombings

themselves, and though this atrocity (his word) took the lives of, he

admits, ‘21 innocent civilians’ – are there any other kind? – the account

here deals almost entirely with subsequent Irish victimhood…” “Wherever

Green is Worn. Dreary rubbish about the Irish diaspora. Available now in

paperback…”

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