John Waters


writer and journalist

John Waters, irish writer and journalist

Books Written By John Waters



Give Us Back the Bad Roads - October 2018

 (Currach Press)

On May 1st 1984, John Waters drove to Dublin to begin a career in Irish journalism that was to last for 31 years. During that time, he was to become a nationally recognised writer and commentator who specialised in raising unpopular issues of public importance, some rooted in Irish history, others persisting in plain sight. Three decades after his Mayday arrival in the capital, with the dust settling on his departure from Irish journalism, he finds himself writing his tenth book, back in the parish in Sligo where his father grew up a century before. In Give Us Back the Bad Roads, he begins seeking to outline the literal facts of his departure from Irish journalism, and find himself looking back over the arc of his life, at the hopes and expectations of his youth, and thanking his lucky stars to have escaped from the ideological cesspit the Dublin media had become.

In this groundbreaking new book, Waters examines in detail the context that led him to walk away from national newspapers, and in particular, as he describes it, the moral, cultural and intellectual deterioration of The Irish Times, for which he had worked for nearly a quarter of a century. Widening his focus, he looks at the implications of such drifts for the culture and welfare of the country, and concludes that the particular package of modernity adopted in his native land is deeply flawed and ultimately unsustainable.

It is time, he argues, for us to return the dubious gifts with which we have been seduced into self-destruction, and start over again.

Was It For This?: Why Ireland Lost the Plot Paperback – 24 May 2012

John Waters’ remarkable new book sweeps through the pages of our recent history to get to the heart our political, social and existential identity crisis. Ranging across a vast canvas, Was It For This…? argues that the Celtic Tiger was built on a collective delusion, and that the seeds of its destruction were sown many years before it even began, when we exchanged our colonial shackles for a no-less destructive dependency for short-term gain. Ireland’s sovereignty was given up long before the IMF came to town. 


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Jiving at the Crossroads: Shock of the New in Haughey's Ireland (Blackstaff,1991)

Highly personal look at Irish politics which became a major Irish bestseller.

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Race of Angels (4th Estate/Blackstaff,1994)

An exploration of Irish popular culture with particular reference to U2 and their Irish sensibility, published in both Ireland and Britain.

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Every Day Like Sunday? (Poolbeg, 1995)

A collection from the Irish Times  columns of the first five years of the 1990s, drawing together some of the hidden themes concerning the economic and social reality of modern Ireland.

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An Intelligent Person's Guide to Modern Ireland (Duckworth 1997)

Many of these themes are developed and expanded in the extended essay An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Modern Ireland.


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The Whoseday Book

In 1998 he devised the concept of the Irish Hospice Foundation’s massive fundraising millennium diary and anthology, The Whoseday Book, one of the biggest ever fundraising projects organised by an Irish charity. In Autumn 2007, a follow up project, LifeStory, edited by John Waters, was launched, also as a fundraiser for the IHF. The Whoseday Book raised some €3m for the Irish Hospice Foundation.

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In 2007 he edited a follow-up to The Whoseday Book, also in aid of the Irish Hospice Foundation. LifeStory is a variation on the concept of a Memory Book, which facilitates the user in writing their own or their family's history.


The Politburo Has Decided You Are Unwell

A collection of his work from The Irish Times and elsewhere, was published 2004, entitled The Politburo Has Decided That You Are Unwell.

Available to purchase here.



Lapsed Agnostic

The story of his journey through faith, agnosticism and back, was published by Continuum in 2007.

Beyond Consolation

The second of his trilogy of books about the religious sense of man was published by Bloomsbury in 2010.