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‘The Dirty Dust’ by Máirtín Ó Cadhain

To mark St. Patrick’s day, I thought I’d write a short post about an intriguing new book that arrived in the shop last week. The Dirty Dust, or
Cré na Cille, by Máirtín Ó Cadhain has been described by Colm Tóibín as ‘the greatest novel to be written in the Irish language, and among the best books to come out of Ireland in the twentieth century.’ Composed almost entirely of the bantering, gossiping dialogue between its deceased characters (The Dirty Dust is unique in that every one of its characters is dead and buried in the ground that gives the book its title), the novel has long been regarded as a daring comic masterpiece and a major contribution to the rich tradition of Irish modernism but has never before been available in English. Now, thanks to a major new translation by Alan Titley published in a handsome hardback edition by Yale University’s Margellos World Republic of Letters series, this raucous and ribald classic should find the wider readership it richly deserves.
The Dirty Ground is published by Yale University Press and is available from Golden Hare Books now.