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'When I was young and in thrall to a nationalist imperative I'd never have wanted to hear anything bad about the Irish. This was Belfast in the 1950s, and the thing most dear to my heart was the noble conspiracy in a back room up a rickety staircase. Inspired, pipe-smoking conspirators in Donegal tweed jackets devoted to Ireland's cause. I was exhilarated by the idea of a principled lawlessness. It was as much a matter of leaning as breeding. I mean, I knew that half my ancestry was Protestant. But the other half, I believed, was Catholic Irish and Gaelic through and through, and that was the side I chose to affirm.' In fact, that half of Patricia Craig's ancestry that she believed to be Irish to the core was peopled with a founder of the Orange Order as well as IRA men, Planters as well as Gaels. In A Twisted Root Patricia Craig traces the remarkable story of these ancestors, weaving the threads of their individual stories into the sweeping panorama of Irish history. From her multiply-great grandmother Katherine Rose, who made her way from Stratford-upon-Avon to Lisburn as part of the Plantation, to two ancestors in Wexford who escaped the massacre at Scullabogue; from her forebear William Blacker who founded the Orange order, to her great-uncles Frank, Matt, Gerry and Jimmy, who were all active in the IRA in the 1920s, this astonishing cast of characters creates a compelling portrait of a family that brings Irish history to life.