Monday 18 June 2007


On this day in 1990 my Mam died. She was 83 years old and had lived an extraordinary life of hardship and triumph. A year before her death I had sat down with Mam and recorded a conversation with her. After her death, that tape became the basis of what would finally be a book I completed last year; BARNEY AND MOLLY: A TRUE DUBLIN LOVE STORY. It has been a family effort: I interviewed my brothers and sisters and other relatives and built up the book over the years, then my eldest son Bernard set up a publishing company, Ogma Press, with the book as its second title.

A very clever thing my son did was make a slide show of photos from the book, and this slide show can be seen on my website and also at various websites including is part of what I think is a cultural phenomenon in our newly expanding information age. I have written a book about my parents that has been produced (by my brilliant son Bernard!) as a limited edition hardback only for distribution within the family as well as the paperback edition available through amazon and other outlets (hint hint). But what I've done is part of a need for roots in an age when all is constant change. My children - and one day their children - can read about the birth of my father's father to an illiterate woman in a remote part of Monaghan a mere generation after the end of the Great Famine. I had a phone conversation some months ago with the son of a nephew of mine in the USA who had read BARNEY AND MOLLY with great enthusiasm and was doing a school project about my Dad - his great grandfather - who took part in the Irish War of Independence as a messenger when only twelve years old. Worlds apart yet of the same clan, my nephew's son is spreading this family story and so it lives on.

My Mam, born in Dublin 100 years ago, is preserved in the hearts of her children and grandchildren who knew her. Through the book, her memory remains vivid in our clan. I'm proud of that. Every family should have its historian to maintain our bond with the past as we grow into the future.

No comments: