AN IRISH COUNTRY CHILDHOOD by Marrie Walsh

AN IRISH COUNTRY CHILDHOOD

Memories of a Bygone Age
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A slight, affectionate meander through scenes from a County Mayo childhood of the 1930s and early '40s. Luxury was a full stomach in the peaceable parish of Attymass, where the word Protestant was never uttered and ``people made the most of . . . landmarks in our calendar,'' like threshing time. Entertainment was watching nature at work, and Walsh was an appreciative audience--seeing in a mass of spongy fungi the perfect trampoline, or covering her mouth while stealing a peek at eggs in a nest lest her breath betray her presence to the mother bird. She also recollects the impromptu fiddling (``God's concert'') of neighbor Kitty D'Arcy, who quite lost her bearings after being left at the altar, and of course the Mission, a bazaar-like affair with stalls displaying all manner of holy goods, which was simply ``the greatest event in our young lives.'' Weaned on stories of ghosts and fairies, Walsh had her fair share of childhood terrors. There were also corporeal sources of disquiet, including Tom Lynch's mule and the Connor's bull, and the Tinkers (gypsy tinsmiths) who regularly made camp in the district and helped themselves to what they couldn't get by begging. Walsh, the ninth of fourteen in the largest family in Treanoughter, lingers over memories of each of the nine households in the village. Cousin John, visiting from the States, was aghast at the paucity of reading matter in the homes and sent over Colliers, National Geographic, and the Saturday Evening Post--which may account for Walsh's transformation from the enchanted provincial she portrays into an ÇmigrÇ (to Britain, in 1946), and now into an author. A parochial paean to a circumscribed world of folkways that survived long past their time.

Pub Date: March 17th, 1997
ISBN: 0-312-15153-5
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 1997




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