O COME YET BACK TO IRELAND: Our First Year in County Clare by Niall & Christine Breen Williams

O COME YET BACK TO IRELAND: Our First Year in County Clare

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The trials and tribulations of two Manhattanites who chucked it all to live the simple life in Ireland. The narrators describe their emotional emigration back to the land of their ancestors, a reverse journey that resulted from too much life in the Manhattan fast lane. At especially difficult periods in their frenetic urban lives, the disillusioned couple felt the ""Irish feeling"" overtake them, with vivid images of Kiltumper Cottage on Ireland's west coast. Originally owned by Breen's great-grandfather, the cottage gave them a sense of place ""far from the rushing streets. . .remote. . .an old place growing older in the rain."" Rejoicing in their new jobless independence, Breen was quick to recognize the necessity of structuring their time. Hours had to be allocated to farming, gardening, cutting the turf, baking brown bread, writing and painting--to learning the traditions of the Irish farmer, as well as stretching their own individual creativity. The authors describe their daily routine in words from Thomas Merton: ""our business is life itself."" The typical ""what have we done?"" surfaces with every obstacle that they confront. And obstacles there are: the bureaucratic slowness of Ireland, lack of obvious luxuries, lack of income, and the ever-critical unstable weather. Gloomy, drenching days dishearten them sufficiently to make them feel that ""this romance with Ireland is a folly."" But after two volatile years, romantic illusions, magical allusions to the fairy folk, non-Manhattan-like neighborliness, and the stark realities of the hardships leave the authors with a sense of acceptance and inner peace. A sentimental journey.

Pub Date: Oct. 8th, 1987
Publisher: Soho--dist. by Farrar, Straus & Giroux