Franco-Irish connections

Essays, memoirs and poems in honour of Pierre Joannon

Jane Conroy, editor

Hardback €49.50
Catalogue Price: €55.00
ISBN: 978-1-84682-212-4
October 2009. 408pp; ills.

‘Pierre Joannon, born in 1943, has been a key figure in Franco-Irish relations for decades not just in the cultural sphere but in politics too. He is a co-founder of Études Irlandaises, and President and founder of the Ireland Fund of France. Since 1973, he has been the consul general of Ireland in five south-eastern departments. He is also an outstanding academic who has published several historical books on Ireland such as Le Livre irlandais, L’Hiver du Connétable, and Charles de Gaulle et l’Irlande. He embodies much of recent interaction between the two countries, and in the photographs he is seen with a veritable roll call of notable academics, politicians and literary figures many of whom are among the 34 contributors of essays, memoirs and poems which make up this volume. This is not just a tribute to a good friend of Ireland, but also a varied look at Franco-Irish connections over the centuries', Books Ireland (December 2009).

‘THIS BOOK of essays is a timely reminder of the deep bonds that link France and Ireland. Jane Conroy has gathered together a remarkable group of people from a variety of walks of life to pay homage to a man who has been, in the words of Brendan Kennelly, a “quiet bridge-builder”. Pierre Joannon, former President of the Ireland Fund of France, whose eclectic interests include history, the law, film, literature, philanthropy and most of all Ireland, has been working to further the connections between Ireland and France for more than 40 years. Many of the essays in the volume examine those connections ... The volume has been structured in alphabetical order and so rather than dipping into pockets of history, memoir and literature, the reader adopts an approach not dissimilar to the big bird hovering on Anne Madden’s majestic painting that adorns the front cover of the book. And so it is that we swoop down on passages such as Seamus Heaney’s adaptation of Guillevic’s Herbier de Bretagne , or Montague’s Vendange , recalling his own voyage of initiation into the French countryside. We pause too on what David Norris has called “ledges”, regaling ourselves with tales of trips to Monaco, behind the scenes happenings at the Cannes Film Festival, or the real story of Graham Greene’s involvement in the GPA Book Award ... This book also places Ireland very firmly at the heart of the European adventure ... One is struck in reading successive essays by the pertinence to contemporary Franco-Irish relations of many of the topics addressed ... This stimulating, multi-faceted book, prefaced in French by another Irish Frenchman, Michel Déon, is a fitting tribute to the many endeavours of Pierre Joannon', Clíona Ní Ríordáin, Irish Times (5 Dec 2009).

‘Pierre Joannon, an “unreconstructed hibernophile, yet objective observer of Irish history” … has served us for most of his life and Franco-Irish Connections is a worthy festschrift … [this book] is a collection of sundry information, some centuries old and some up-to-date … the cover has a reproduction of ‘A Bird’ by Anne Madden; it contains poems by Heaney, Kavanagh, Kennelly, Montague and Pádraigín Haicéad, and 28 essays, may by or about celebrities', Caitriona MacKernan, Books Ireland (April 2010).

‘This book is a festschrift in honour of Pierre Joannon, a major contributor to the field of Franco-Irish studies and a public figure who has done much to enhance Franco-Irish relations during the second half of the twentieth-century … One of the memoirs in the book (by Frédéric Grasset) describes Pierre as a “Dubliner by heart and culture, in Connemara by choice, acclaimed by Derry, welcomed in Kinsale, the most Irish of the French, or perhaps the most French of the Irish!” (p. 113). Conroy’s book is a large volume featuring contributions from eminent scholars, friends and politicians and the list of contributors reads almost like a “who’s who” in the field of Franco-Irish cultural relations … as the title indicates, the contributions range in style and include personal reminiscences, poems and scholarly contributions and there is something here for everyone … this book is a superb contribution to the field of Franco-Irish studies. The volume is well-illustrated with photographs and maps and the presentation is clear and well-edited … the book is a worthy tribute to both Pierre Joannon and to the field of Franco-Irish studies. This volume is to be recommended for every university library. It is also a highly engaging read for anyone with an interest in the field', Máiréad Nic Craith, Eighteenth-Century Ireland (2010).