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'Death in Irish prehistory' officially launched on All Saints' Day

04 November 2023

Death in Irish prehistory was officially launched by poet, essayist and undertaker Thomas Lynch on 1 November 2023 in the Royal Irish Academy. 

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Thomas Lynch was unable to attend in person, but in recorded comments, said 'I think of Professor Cooney’s book as required reading for anyone interested in the study of Humanity 101, covering as he so ably and comprehensively does, those transitional eras in our species's evolutionary history when we humans went from upright mammals with appetites and aptitudes, to upright mammals who buried their dead and kept them alive in memory and fashioned metaphors in images and language arts...' 

The event was MC-ed by Mary Deevy, chair of the RIA Standing Committee for Archaeology. Gabriel read one of the fictional vignettes from the book and Conor McHale shared the inspiration behind his illustrations, including some that didn't make it into the book. Folklorist Bairbre Ní Fhloinn spoke about Samhain traditions and how they tie in with the book. 

The following day, Gabriel and Conor were interviewed by Ray D'Arcy on RTÉ Radio 1, listen back here>>

After attending the event, Clodagh Finn reviewed the book in her column in the Irish Examiner. 'It is unusual to read fictional accounts of prehistory, particularly in a book that covers 8,500 years of death — and life — in Ireland in such scholarly detail. But then Death in Irish Prehistory is an unusual book. It informs, surprises, and challenges in equal measure.' Read the full column here>>

Find out more about the book


Pictured L-R, Mary Deevy (Chair of Standing Committee for Archaeology.), Bairbre Ní Fhoinn (folklorist), Gabriel Cooney (author), Conor McHale (illustrator), Pat Guiry (President RIA)

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