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Some of the Wnest examples of garden buildings in Ireland are the temples constructed as garden retreats or banqueting spaces in the Classical style. The Classical temple, its natural lineage popularized in Marc-Antoine Laugier’s Essai sur l’architecture (1753), was the ideal structure through which a member of the upper class could grace upon the landscape a tasteful ediWce that indicated an advanced level of architectural sophistication and that complemented the serenity of the structure’s natural surroundings. The social order to which the elite of Ireland aspired was, by the late nineteenth century, beginning to crumble. Changing socioeconomic conditions sealed the fate of the great house and elaborate demesne garden, and, as large estates were being subdivided, so too was the context of individual garden buildings and follies being eradicated. With the exception of the evocative stone and glass follies of James Scanlon and the recent work at Lexlip Castle in County Kildare) and Glin in County Limerick), there is virtually no contemporary folly and garden building construction . Despite the eVort of a few enthusiast groups in the Republic and the National Trust in Northern Ireland, extant follies and garden buildings rapidly decaying and suffer from neglect and repeated vandalism. Howley makes an impassioned plea for the preservation of these structures, yet he realizes that “it is a cruel irony that buildings which, at the time of their inception, deliberately projected a romantic air of antiquity and ruination, have now inherited an authentic mantle of decay.” —Christine Patricia James From Dublin to New Orleans: Nora and Alice’s Journey to America 1889, by Suellen Hoy and Margaret MacCurtain, pp. 143, Dublin: Attic Press, 1994, £9.99. The diary entries of Honoria Prendiville and Alicia Joseph Nolan which form the main portion of From Dublin to New Orleans are colorful, humorous, witty, entertaining and thoroughly compelling—not, one has to concede, what we might Wrst expect from two devoted Dominican Sisters in the 19th century. These diary entries, edited by Suellen Hoy and Margaret MacCurtain, chart Nora’s and Alice’s 1889 voyage across the Atlantic, through the Caribbean, and up the Mississippi into New Orleans where they were to begin new lives as Dominican Sisters. To complement these accounts, Hoy and MacCurtain provide detailed introductory material and thorough footnotes. This historical prefacing and footnoting sets the context of the journey and provides important background, but the material thrust of the book, as its editors certainly intended, is contained within the diaries. Hoy discovered the diaries in Dublin at the Dominican Sisters’ Archives at Cabra in December of 1991 and was immediately intrigued. Why were the diaries in Dublin and not New Orleans? BOOK REVIEWS 183 Hoy and MacCurtain discovered that he diaries were not personal journals, but were instead written for the girls and women of the Dominican convent and boarding school back at Cabra; the journal entries, we learn, were meant to be read as a chronicle of Nora’s and Alice’s “adventures.’” The story that Nora and Alice record is not an unusual one, and the editors point out that these two young women were “two among many” single Irish women who left Ireland to serve God in America. However, their individual accounts present unique and personal stories of their journey. Unlike many of the “coming over” stories of Irish immigrants, the journals of Nora and Alice present an almost wholly positive picture. While the initial leg of their trip, from Dublin to Liverpool, was marked by mishap, the greater part of the trip was over calm seas. The two women recount a journey that—except for early seasickness—seems much more like a pleasure cruise than an immigration tale. Their major complaint is boredom, and even that subsides as they gain their sea legs. The most striking part of the journals involves what must have been Nora’s and Alice’s Wrst encounter with blacks. Upon reaching St. Thomas, Nora records her Wrst impressions of the local “inhabitants” as “not exactly black, though darker than copper colour.” Nora later talks with the captain who “hates the very sight of them,” and Hoy and MacCurtain suggest that Nora’s and Alice’s own attitudes...


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pp. 183-185
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