Tearing Stripes Off Zebras

Nessa O’Mahony, editor

Tearing Stripes of Zebras
of Women Writing in Ireland

9781851323005 paperback, €20

9781851323104 limited edition hardback, €50

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Tearing Stripes off Zebras is an anthology of new literary writing by thirty-three women who, at one time or another, have participated in the WEB writers’ group which emerged in the mid-1980s after some contributors attended workshops organised by the Women’s Education Bureau (WEB), the national association of Irish women writers. WEB was the brainchild of Arlen House founder Catherine Rose, who appointed poet Eavan Boland as Creative Director.

As an editor at Arlen House from 1978, Boland did much extraordinary work to develop, mentor and promote Irish women writers. The founders of WEB writers’ group initially met at these empowering, transformative workshops, and they have been meeting continuously for almost forty years, making WEB one of the longest-running writing groups in Ireland. Over the decades, WEB writers and alumni have established highly successful literary careers, publishing books, having plays and film scripts produced, and winning prestigious literary prizes.

This anthology of new poetry, prose and drama, edited by Nessa O’Mahony, is dedicated to the memory of Eavan Boland.

Berries for Singing Birds

Eileen Casey

Berries for Singing Birds

ISBN: 9781851322176

’To look on is enough/In the business of love’ says Patrick Kavanagh and Eileen Casey’s gaze is deeply loving and clear eyed. She gives us glimpses of her life and the lives of her family and community framed with reverence for the natural world. It is suburban Dublin: the kitchens, the backyards, the front gardens, the shopping centre, the Luas, the municipal parklands, hammered out in powerful epiphanies. For all that the work is suffused with birdsong and wing spans and feathered ecstasy – the airy wonder of finch, mistle thrush, blackbird, pigeon, plover, robin, crow – the poems are rooted deep in the daily struggle for human survival. Her birds are both real and emblematic, fit carriers of this poet’s desire to celebrate and transcend. A community builder herself, no history of the literary life of Tallaght would be complete without Eileen Casey’s enormous contribution to the writing lives of others. But here, in this collection, we have her own precious lyric worked out in poems both angelic and earthbound.

– Paula Meehan


Within this armful of poems, from ’Workhouse’ through to the ’Lilly Pilly Tree Song’, images conjured by her words express a subject matter that is laden with pain. Eileen Casey’s poetry is so evocative. Readers meet orphan girls, following the promise of home, travelling to the ends of the earth. Descendants, decades later, are testament that some of these lasses lived lives filled with abundance while others fared less well in the newly-colonised land of Australia.

– Dr Christina Henri (Hon Artist-in-Residence, Cascades
Female Factory Historic Site, South Hobart, Tasmania)


Mary Coll


ISBN: 9781851321636

The second collection by Limerick poet and playwright includes ‘Laundry’ about a Mother and Baby Home where the author was born. ‘Laundry’ has had an enormous international readership after being published in the Irish Times in 2017, and in 2021 after the controversial Final Report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes was published.


My grandfather sent everything to the nuns
for a thorough cleaning,
including my mother.
Fervently they washed every stain away,
held us up to the light
so there’s hardly a trace of me left in her
or her left in me.
Things are forever getting separated in the wash,
a fawn silk stocking,
a tiny pink sock with no matcher,
the price to be paid for getting your laundry done.

Honest Walls

Luke Morgan

Honest Walls



9781851321681 limited edition

’a high degree of poise … is pursuing new and sophisticated ways of showing us what we have already seen. It is a debut that reveals no shortage of skill or potential’ – Poetry Ireland Review

’Luke Morgan is a poet here to stay’ – Des Kenny, Galway Advertiser

In Luke Morgan’s poetry, life happens. Here is a lively voice, a voice alive to ideas and language. Whether he is imagining a cafe in lift-off, remembering a drive with his mother, playing with a skeleton in a Science lab, standing naked before his bedroom window or capturing fragile relationships, Luke Morgan connects us to the moment, maps it, brings us beyond it and changes the way we might look at the world.

– Niall MacMonagle

Sailing to Omeath

Francis O’Hare

Sailng to Omeath

ISBN: 9781851322183

Sailing to Omeath is a Yeatsian dream of escape from the mind-numbing banalities and demands of adult and modern life. In these poems the poet locates some temporary shelter from the storm in memories of childhood, sacred sites of personal pilgrimage and life-affirming muses. If the dream often founders on the rocks of responsibility and reality, that is a price worth paying as the poet finds his ultimate safe harbour in the formal rites of poetry itself. If these poems offer the reader anything it is the promise of Byzantium in a down to earth contemporary Irish context whilst recognising and celebrating the ’mere complexities’ that bind and bound us all.



Poetry by Maureen Boyle
Photography by Malachi O’Doherty

ISBN: 9781851322213

Maureen Boyle thinks herself back to the past, reinterpreting, making the image new, wondering what it is like to be someone else … Her imagination is strongly visual; memories are pictures.

– Ciaran Carson


Strabane is in ’a pocket of mountains’ and the love act is in the naming – the gap at Barnes Mor, Glenties. Here are the stories of boys, mere children, waiting in this same square to be hired by a rich farmer who came and squeezed young muscles before making his choice. Here is talk of hard borders and heartache; the harsh life of the mill workers; the dark secrets of the river; a journey with the poet’s father on the last train to Sion Mills. The poet recalls the bombed drapery shop ’when in the name of Ireland underpants and socks would fly into the sky’. This is a bittersweet, haunting love song to home.

– Nuala McCann, The Irish News


There is much to celebrate and enjoy here, Boyle delivering a well-rounded collection whose subjects and themes are diverse and stimulating. The poems move easily from historical to personal and back, with stand-out notes along the way. The Work of a Winter is the reward of Boyle’s years of craft and study, and is a fine debut amongst the work that publisher Arlen House has delivered to audiences.

– Colin Dardis, Lagan Online


’It is, in fact, a remarkable insight into Northern Ireland from one of its best writers and most thoughtful observers: one of the few capable of choosing a detached observation point and looking at the problem from different angles. Maybe that’s something to do with his passion for photography and an instinct for knowing that the most tellingly accurate shot is never the most obvious one. Anyway, Fifty Years On is the best book that Malachi O’Doherty has written.

– Alex Kane


Malachi O’Doherty skilfully weaves his personal family history through the layers of turmoil engulfing this city.

– Yvette Shapiro


This thoughtful chronicle of how a society has changed in the adult lifetime of one man is witty, poignant and beautifully written.

– Sam McBride

Paddy Lambe's In Paradise

John McGuckian

Paddy Lambe’s In Paradise

ISBN: 9781851322145

Paddy Lambe, somewhat like Stewart Parker, tried to have an ordinary or normal life during the violence of the Troubles. As a schoolmaster in Belfast, running inter-community football and college teams he managed to dodge live bullets and mayhem, but was injured in the Mint Imperial explosion which lead to a loss of his essential sense of security and even his sense of self. John Montague claimed that he spent most of his life wandering around the world searching for ’self’. This doesn’t work for Lambe, who travels from Ballymena to Bolognola, to Paris, Lisbon and Visby; from Dinn’s Inn to Deerfin. Instead, he escapes into the past and into childhood, constantly returning to the thoughts of his first home, his mother’s birthplace. Eventually he wonders if ’Baile Bhuí and the sea over Antrim basalt’ is close enough. The laughter of grandchildren lightens his heart, but still the ’yellow bird’ must escape the hawk and the hare the hounds, the grandson the Tuatha de Danaan! For Paddy, Paradise.



McGuckian’s use of dialect helps him to see beneath the surface of the cultural schisms by which he is surrounded and to celebrate our shared inheritance … he elegises the landscape of Ulster.

– Nessa O’Mahony, Poetry Ireland Review

The Volary

Erin Halliday

The Volary

ISBN: 9781851322138

Available from

Book Depository


That the sixth book of Homer’s Odyssey offers an Irish poet the lens to explore the inner psyche and embodiments of a young woman of the twenty-first century will not surprise Erin Halliday’s growing readership. If ever an argument for the endurance of the classical writers and the relevance of the ancient myths were needed, this marvellous new work makes it. The collection is not an upcycling however; it is a deep interrogation of received interpretations and a veritable remaking of the old stories. Erudition and passion are its hallmarks and if there are wings, and wingéd creatures, and transports of delight everywhere in these poems, they offer more than flights of fancy. They are grounded in the body’s earthbound mortal suffering. Deeply informed by Erin Halliday’s doctoral research in classical modes of literary expression and her experience as a gardener, these poems shine with integrity and invention.

– Paula Meehan

Like Keats, Erin Halliday launches herself into a poetic career in which a concept of poetry is not first and foremost a manner of writing but a manner of reading, of transforming what one had read into a way of life. Steeped in classical myth and Anglo-saxon lore, using words as esoteric as gynandromorphic or glossarist, she twists Latin and Greek sources under a Hellenistic ’lens shift on the coppery gods’ of Belfast and Down.

– Medbh McGuckian

One Eyed, Full Throated: An Anthology of American/Irish Poets

Nathalie Anderson, editor

One Eyed, Full Throated: An Anthology of American/Irish Poets

ISBN: 9781851322121


Nathalie Anderson
Drew Blanchard
Roslyn Blyn-LaDrew
Matthew Boyleston
Rand Brandes
Heather Corbally Bryant
Siobhán Campbell
Christine Casson
Brendan Corcoran
Tyler Farrell
Deborah Fleming
David Gardiner
Renny Golden
Julie Henigan
Patrick Hicks
Ben Howard
Catharine Kasper
Kathryn Kerr
Kathryn Kirkpatrick
Joseph Lennon
James Liddy
David Lloyd
Ed Madden
Mary Madec
Iggy McGovern
Thomas McGuire
Ethna McKiernan
David McLoghlin
Ray McManus
John Menaghan
Ann Neelon
Thomas O’Grady
Elizabeth Oness
Donna Potts
Thomas Dillon Redshaw
Adrian Rice
James Silas Rogers
Séamus Scanlon
Charlene Spearen
Daniel Tobin
David Ray Vance
Drucilla Wall
Eamonn Wall
Lawrence Welsh

Fourth Floor Flat

Terry McDonagh

Fourth Floor Flat

ISBN: 9781851321964

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In Terry McDonagh’s Fourth Floor Flat, the reader is invited into the freewheeling mind of a writer sharing his ’houseful of thoughts’ from his upstairs vantage point. ’I flick through day and dark’, he tells us. With a lightness of touch underpinned by McDonagh’s deep joy in language, we become enthralled by the wide-ranging meanderings of a questing, restless imagination.

Geraldine Mitchell

This is a book of wonderful craft and energy. Terry McDonagh draws on moments of keen insight and humanity and melds them in vibrant, imaginative and profound language.

Austin Vaughan

In this relentless roller coaster of images McDonagh pulls off a brave commentary from his fourth floor flat juxtaposing the urban contemporary with the Mayo of his youth. No sacred cows are safe as the absurd and surreal are seamlessly blended allowing Hamburg and Kiltimagh to be effortlessly thrown into the same mix. McDonagh is primarily a poet of displacement and, considering the flux around us today, perhaps he is the one we should be reading.

Ger Reidy