Waking: An Irish Protestant Upbringing
About the book…
Brought up in the city of Dublin and in rural County Wicklow, the author records in this first book of memoirs a largely neglected dimension of southern Irish society-that of the non-Anglo-Irish and non-Catholic population, the 'petty people' of hill farms and the Protestant and Jewish inhabitants of suburban terraces. His view of the landscape is unsentimental, his account of the 1950s and early '60s at once grimly faithful and humorously responsive to the period. Nor is Ulster omitted from the picture; Bangor's seaside attractions and the more sinister bumps of nights in Monaghan and Fermanagh are also recorded. Confusion of sex and theology, the unfair seedtime of his secondary education, counterpoint evocations of hayfields and sheepwalks. Waking, however, revolves round the death of his father in 1961, an event already lovingly commemorated in a well-anthologies poem of the same title. Concluding with some terse political observations on the latter day scene, it is an autobiography at once elegiac and comic, in the Dublin tradition of Sean O'Casey.