Mary Kenny

The Rise of the Kerns

Men that God Made Mad: A Journey through Truth, Myth and Terror in Northern Ireland


Jonathan Cape 351pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

You often encounter genteel English horror at the vision of those terrible people in Ulster fighting over religion. This terrible disapproval comes from the same psychological wellspring whereby former forty-a-day cigarette-smokers become anti-smoking prigs: when the English were in full flight, they too were well able to persecute their opponents on grounds of religion. The Anglican Church was not always meek and mild: the eighteenth-century ‘Penal Laws’ – enacted in the Age of Enlightenment – not only dispossessed Irish Papists of all entitlements in their own country but were pretty mean-spirited to the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians too. 

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • A treat from the LR Archive: exactly 20 years ago, Malcolm Bradbury reviewed John Updike's 'Bech at Bay' ,
    • ‘When bullets come close, the noise they make as they go past changes from a zing to a crack’ John Lanchester's dy… ,
    • Man with a Bloody Paintbrush: Robin Simon on Lucian Freud ,
    • Jane Ridley reviews The Diaries of Kenneth Rose (ed. D R Thorpe) ,
    • ‘Look,’ says Trump. ‘The fact is I’m only human.’ On the evidence of this book that point is debatable. From the A… ,
    • From our December/January issue - here's John Banville's review of Colm Tóibín on the fathers of Wilde, Yeats and J… ,
    • Hi , we would love to review 'Death of the Vazir-Mukhtar' in our next issue! Please could you get in… ,