Lock iconRectangle 1Rectangle 2 + Rectangle 2 CopyShapeRectangle 1

Dónall Mac Amhlaigh

A Soldier's Song

  • Sale
  • £11


A Soldier’s Song is a classic account of Irish army life by a working-class writer whose work and contribution to literary culture is only now being fully appreciated. It has the privacy and immediacy of a diary but holds the interest like a novel. It follows the adventures, trials and tribulations of Nuibin Amhlaigh who keeps getting into trouble in his good soldier’s progress through army life.

A lost treasure of Irish writing translated for the first time into English.

Translated from Irish by Mícheál Ó hAodha.


A Soldier’s Song is a work that exudes authenticity and immediacy.” – Liam Harte

A Soldier’s Song does not include great wars, but just the fun and competition and camaraderie and happenstances of young men who end up in uniform. It is funny and sad and wistful, and a portrait of a time and experience which has never been captured quite like this. Mícheál Ó hAodha’s translation brings us right into his world, giving the original Irish a new life with style and with verve.” – Alan Titley

“Mícheál Ó hAodha has done the literary world a huge service by translating Dónall Mac Amhlaigh's work into English.” – Gillian Mawson

“Mac Amhlaigh sought to record every pub and dancehall, every sunset, stone wall and rainbow in his mind, to pack the city in his suitcase so that she remained with him forever, so he could all at once hear her lost voice everywhere.” – Colum McCann

"This memoir shows that Mac Amhlaigh’s writing has the same essence of understated simplicity and honesty that made “Dialann Deoraí” so effective and moving... Mac Amhlaigh was a great writer and this translation will help convince anyone who doubted that." – Seamus Scanlon, The Irish Echo


Dónall Mac Amhlaigh (1926-1989) was one of the most important Irish-language writers of the 20th century. A native of County Galway, he is best known for his novels and short stories concerning the lives of the more than half-a-million Irish people who left Ireland for post-war Britain. A prolific journalist and a committed socialist in the Christian Socialist tradition, Mac Amhlaigh, whose diaries and notebooks are held in the National Library of Ireland, was a member of the Connolly Association in Northampton and contributed regularly to newspapers such as the Irish Press and a range of journals on both sides of the water throughout the 1970s and 1980s often providing the perspectives of the Irish in Britain on issues such as class, economy, emigrant life in England, the conflict in Northern Ireland and civil rights-related issues.