This book is something of a new departure for the author. Its background is unusual, in that it grew out of the restrictions imposed because of the onset of the corona virus in Ireland. In mid-March 2020, at the onset of national ‘lockdown’, Dunlavin-based author and historian, Chris Lawlor, decided to post a regular series of articles, essays and stories on social media as a diversion from all the Covid-19 related news. The author drew on sources from far and wide, republishing some pieces (the oldest dates from 1984) and combining them with many new pieces which are published for the first time in this collection.
When the diversions ceased on social media, many people suggested that they should be published as a book, to reach people who don’t interact with computers and to put the pieces into readily-accessible hard copy format. Moreover, the book is itself a souvenir of the 2020 covid-19 lockdown in Dunlavin. The short, separate pieces and hotchpotch of different genres may appeal to some readers more than a monograph-style longer book. The complete series contains a hundred separate diversions, and these are now being published together as an anthology in book format.
The diversions contained in the book focus mostly on various aspects of the local history of the Dunlavin region. Though local history predominates, there are also articles on Irish national history, contemporary prose, short stories and even a couple of poems. The topics covered are also diverse. They include the onset of the Great Panic in Dunlavin in 1832; the life and times of Countess Constance Markievicz; the commemoration of the R.I.C. in today’s Ireland; a short story about an eventful transition year class outing; an observation on the cartoons that children watch on television… and much more. There is something for everybody in this quirky, eclectic mix!
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