Ireland's debt to Frank McCourt
Niall Burgess pays tribute to a true Irish emigrant
Sean O Faolain’s story "The Silence of the Valley" records the passing of Tim Buckley of Gougane Barra, a man whose recorded words captured the experience of an earlier generation and a way of life that was passing.
Describing the mourners at Buckley’s funeral, O Faolain wrote: “they dispersed slowly, as if loath to admit that something final had happened to them all”.
There is a sense of finality too about Frank’s passing; a sense that we have lost the man who, better than any, described what it felt like to be an Irish emigrant to the United Stated in the middle years of the 20th century.