The Love of One’s Country: A reader’s quiz

After you’ve read my novel, here’s a little quiz you can try. No prizes, but I hope you have fun with it. With Google and Spotify, you can find most of the answers. I opted for these thematic choices with the hope of deepening and enriching the narrative.

  1. On pages 3/4, Jerry and Carol stop to watch a street artist sculpting a wolf-like creature he calls the Hound of Ulster. Who was the mythical Hound of Ulster and where do you find a reference to him elsewhere in this novel?
  2. On page 4, Jerry and Carol hear a busker singing “The Fields of Athenry.” What’s this song about? You can hear it on the Spotify playlist I’ve put together for the novel.
  3. On page 6, Jerry considers taking Carol to see a new production of John B. Keane’s Many Young Men of Twenty at the Gaiety. What’s the theme of this musical play? You can hear the title track on the Spotify playlist.
  4. What do the above two musical selections and the one at #6 below have in common, and why would I have picked them for this novel? (Easy questions, easy answers … like the clues in the daily Mini Crossword of The New York Times!)
  5. On page 18, in describing his love of draft Guinness, Jerry says, “A pint of plain is your only man.” Who originally coined this expression? (Clue: He makes a cameo appearance in the novel shortly afterwards.)
  6. On page 19, Tom and Jerry listen to Brendan O’Dowda singing a song about “cuttin’ the corn in Creeshla the day.” What’s the title of the song and what’s the song about? Again, please refer to the Spotify playlist.
  7. On page 25, Jerry talks about his ancestor singing her folk poems “in a language that the strangers do not know” and Tom observes that “the strangers came and tried to teach them their ways.” From what popular Irish song do these lines come?
  8. On page 44, Diarmuid quotes Cú Chulainn’s dying words, “I care not though I were to live but one day and one night, provided my fame and my deeds live after me.” Which Irish republican leader subsequently adopted those words as a motto he emblazoned on the walls of a school he founded? (Clue: That building, no longer a school, makes an early appearance in the novel.)
  9. On page 54, we learn that Diarmuid named his dog Setanta. Why would he have chosen that name?
  10. On page 152, Nell meets a woman from Sam’s Cross named Mary Collins. Her last name still has special meaning for people who live in that area. Why?