Future Popes of Ireland begins with gentle blasphemy: ‘It was September 1979 when Pope John Paul II brought sex to Ireland.’ Granny Doyle, aflame with the conviction that she will be grandmother to the first Irish pope, catches a drop of holy water in Phoenix Park and insists that her daughter-in-law sprinkle it on the marital bed. She seems to personify a kitschy and quaint sort of Catholicism. But the same Granny Doyle shouts, ‘I always knew you were a dirty little hoor’ as she throws her pregnant teenage granddaughter out of the family home.
Future Popes of Ireland is a novel of epic ambition yet is intimate in scope, with four decades of Irish history crammed into the poky walls of 7 Dunluce Crescent. At its heart are the Doyle family. They are made to board the contraceptive train, live through the murder of