News and Views

Home truths: Book series imagines a new Ireland

16 May 2018
(l-r): Órla O’Donovan, Rosie Meade and Fiona Dukelow of UCC's School of Applied Social Studies, editors of the new book series Síreacht. Photo: Clare Keogh.

A thought-provoking new book series, with a UCC editorial team at the helm, will force readers to reimagine Ireland, from the law to interpersonal relationships.

Órla O’Donovan, Rosie Meade and Fiona Dukelow of UCC's School of Applied Social Studies, the editors of the series, say it is not a 10-point plan for how Ireland could be better, but rather about “putting thinking and questioning, that's not only radical but also hopeful, at the heart of what a university does in the social sciences and how it contributes to social change.”

"In Ireland, things often only become news when a politician addresses them verbally – why? Those news stories then become self-reproducing, and it means a lot of other perspectives don’t get out there.  Like, take Trump, for example, because of all the time spent watching him, reporting on him and revealing his shenanigans the focus is taken away from all the other things happening in the United States and elsewhere. Shouldn't we look at that seriously?", Meade said.

The editors have sourced authors whose style will connect with much more than just an academic audience. The first three books focus on ‘Freedom?’ written by Kevin Ryan and Fiona Whelan under the collaborative name ‘Two Fuse’, Commemoration by Heather Laird, lecturer in the School of English, UCC, and the Public Sphere, penned by Harry Browne, Senior Lecturer in DIT’s School of Media.

Future books in the series, available to purchase online at, explore issues including trade unions, our relationship with money and the treatment of animals. At €9.95 each, these books of 35,000 words pack a punch.

According to O’Donovan, “through such reimagining, it's hoped readers will question why things are the way we are. In law, in societal norms, in their interpersonal relationships, in the media.”

“The protest against water charges in recent years showed that there is another way. Also, the survivors of the Mother and Baby Homes weren't willing to be quiet. They were the exceptions to the rule.”

According to Dukelow, the series is needed now more than ever, as we face issues such as extreme inequality, the stranglehold the ‘1%’ has on global politics and economics, the dominance of ‘fiscal discipline’ and lack of democracy in the EU, oceans full of plastic and a planet that’s rapidly heating up.

“It’s easy to succumb to pessimistic thinking about the future of our societies and the idea that any discussion of utopian thinking and alternative ideas and forms of action is a hopeless and hapless exercise in the face of such challenges.”

For more on this story contact:

Lynne Nolan, Media & PR Officer, UCC, on 087 210 1119 or

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