18 November, 1741. George Frideric Handel, one of the world’s greatest composers, arrives in Dublin – the second city of the Empire – to prepare his masterpiece, Messiah, for its maiden performance the following spring …

Bringing to life an unforgettable cast of characters, Hallelujah provides a panoramic view of a city in flux – at once struggling to contain the chaos unleashed by the catastrophic famine of the preceding year while striving to become a vibrant centre of European culture and commerce.

Brimming with drama, curiosity and intrigue, it tells of how one charitable performance wove itself into the fabric of Ireland’s capital, forever changing the course of musical history and the lives of those who called the city home.


‘Jonathan Bardon has a reputation for producing lively, highly accessible, balanced general histories… mixing clear prose with a painterly eye for telling detail.’ History Ireland

Bardon has brilliantly contextualised the first performance of what must remain the most popular piece of western music,’ David Dickson

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Publication Date

October 2015




Hardback, 256 pages

Country of Origin



Gill Books


233 x 165 mm


By Jonathan Bardon



Availability Status


Jonathan Bardon is one of Ireland’s most eminent historians. A former lecturer in History at Queens University, Belfast, he is the author of several books now widely acknowledged as classic works of Irish historiography, including A History of Ulster (2001), The Plantation of Ulster (2011) and A History of Ireland in 250 Episodes (2008). In 2002, he was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for his ‘services to community life’ in Northern Ireland.

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