In The Fields of Athenry , James Charles Roy leads us through the Irish past and present by way of his own personal struggles and misadventures in renovating Moyode Castle, an old tower house that he purchased more than thirty years ago. While he pieces together its four-hundred-year-old past, the castle becomes a powerful symbol for Roy - it is battered by waves of history, yet timeless and resilient. Roy's personal struggles with the land and its people open for him a wide-ranging historical conversation on Ireland today and our sense of history more broadly. How do we reconcile the historical nostalgia attached to Ireland with the boom times that the "Celtic Tiger" enjoys today? With this question in mind, Roy searches for the answer of what attracts us - or, perhaps more aptly, him - to the rubble of a castle from Irish days long past.
James Charles Roy has been a peripatetic "independent scholar" since 1970, when he left Time Inc. He has written innumerable articles on Irish history and five distinguished books, including The Fields of Athenry and Islands of Storm, a Book-of-the-Month and History Book Club selection. He divides his time between Moyode Castle in County Galway and his home in Newburyport, Massachusetts.