We Don’t Know Ourselves: O’Toole combines personal with political on a journey to the heart of Irish identity

The events are familiar and the villains predictable, but Fintan O’Toole’s personal account of life in Ireland over the last six decades is a scintillating read

Children having fun at a play centre on the Kylemore Road in Ballyfermot in Dublin, in 1964: Fintan O’Toole’s new book is a deep dive into Ireland’s past. Picture: Getty


We Don’t Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Ireland Since 1958

By Fintan O’Toole

Head of Zeus, €22.99

After covering a religious conference at Maynooth College in 1985, the journalist Fintan O’Toole gratefully accepted a lift back to Dublin from Bishop of Galway Eamonn Casey. It turned out to be a hair-raising experience, with Casey constantly breaking the speed limit, overtaking four cars at a time and generally acting as if he was invincible.