THE LUCK OF THE IRISH by Niall Williams


Our Life in County Clare
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 Further tales of rural Ireland's trials and rewards, told by a husband-and-wife team. In their fourth book together (O Come Ye Back to Ireland, 1987, etc.), the authors continue to inform their readers about the nuts and bolts of daily life on the Emerald Isle. Mostly written by Williams, with some journal entries and sketches by Breen, their story is no longer about adjusting to Ireland after moving there from New York, but about how to maintain the life they have made for themselves and their two children within the bleak economic climate of the agrarian west coast. ``We have come to realize that we must write about our life in order to continue living it,'' Williams begins. In a country where emigration is often necessary to gain employment, survival is their achievement: After almost ten years, ``we are still here.'' For Dublin-born Williams, the village of Kilmihil provides a sense of belonging and community. His days are filled with his family as well as with part-time teaching, gathering turf for winter fuel, the Tidy Towns Committee, and directing a play. Breen and Williams clearly have embraced Ireland's traditional ways--she is ``a mother first'' and spends the rest of her time gardening and painting--and they sometimes romanticize what is quaint about the nation, from a neighbor's ever-ready scones to the community dance to pay for the local school's roof, as well as the land itself (``the kind of country that keeps coming back to you even when you have left it behind''). Williams's storytelling is calculated but not forced. His chatty narrative gives us a small taste of life on Ireland's west coast. At times precious, but an easy, enjoyable chronicle for the pair's family of readers. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 31st, 1995
ISBN: 1-56947-022-7
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Soho
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1994


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