Seventy Years Young: Memories of Elizabeth, Countess of Fingall
‘This book is one of the most remarkable and the most entertaining of its kind ever published about late Victorian and Edwardian Ireland.’
– Peter Costello, Sunday Independent
‘A woman of considerable style and substance, her autobiography gives a fascinating glimpse into the social and political life in Ireland at the turn of the century.’
– Deidre McQuillan, Sunday Tribune
‘These memories are crammed with interesting, revealing and often funny stories about people like the Balfours, Horace Plunkett, King Edward VII and a host of famous politicians.’
– Caitriona Clear, Linen Hall Review
Seventy Years Young is one of the great Anglo-Irish memoirs. Originally published in 1937, it now appears for the first time in paperback, with an introduction by Trevor West. It tells the remarkable story of Daisy Fingall (nee Burke) of County Galway, who in 1883, aged seventeen, married the 11th Earl of Fingall of Killeen Castle, County Meath. Daisy’s vitality possessed and transformed that twilit world of Catholic Ascendancy Ireland, a world in transition – from viceregal, country-house Ireland of Dublin drawing-rooms and Meath hunting-fields, now as remote as pre-revolutionary Russia – to the Great War, Easter rising and civil war Ireland of the early 1920s and beyond, when ‘the country houses lit a chain of bonfires’, and the tobacco-growing ‘Sinn Fein Countess’ tempered a life of privilege with work for Horace Plunkett’s Co-operative Societies and the United Irishwomen. Daisy Fingall writes from an intimate knowledge of the leading figures of her day and their milieu. A sparkling parade of personalities – Parnell, Wyndham, Haig, Markievicz, Edward VII, AE, Shaw, Moore and Yeats – comes alive under her pen.
Seventy Years Young reanimates a proximate but forgotten past with all the power of first-class fiction, and the glitter and rarity of a Faberge egg.