Document Type

Book Chapter


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5.4 SOCIOLOGY, Anthropology

Publication Details

Máirtin Mac Con Iomaire and Eamon Maher (eds), ‘Tickling the Palate’: Gastronomy in Irish Literature and Culture (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2014).


John McGahern (1934–2006) was a writer with a keen sense of place. His novels and short stories are mainly set in the northwest midland counties of Leitrim and Roscommon and they bring to life a vast array of characters and situations that provide invaluable insights in relation to what it was like to live in traditional rural Ireland during the middle and later decades of the last century. Religion, the land, complex familial relations, emigration, the dancehall phenomenon, sexual abuse in the home, all these issues are courageously broached and realistically presented. McGahern’s stark portrayals also attracted the unwanted attentions of the Censorship Board, which saw fit to ban his second novel, The Dark, in 1965, for containing material that was deemed injurious to public morality. The banning led to McGahern’s dismissal from his position as a national school teacher in Scoil Eoin Baiste in Clontarf and to his temporary exile to England.