Raised in an era where many thousands of other Irish children were having a much darker experience of the values and traditions of rural Ireland, he was one of the lucky ones, one whose kind family and supportive community raised him in the warm glow of watchful circle.
Carmody’s memoir is a love letter to Clounmacon, Listowel, Co. Kerry and to a vanished world of rituals, communions, confirmations, turf cutting, farming and folklore. Even by the fifties electricity was still a novelty in many parts of Kerry the book records, although motorized transport and farming practices were already beginning to change the ancient rhythms of the place.
But it’s the local school, more than the church or the public house, that is the anchor of Carmody’s community, and it’s one he claims is synonymous with the aspirations and resilience of the people who built it.
Proceeds from the sale of this book will support the local work of the Kerry Emigrant Support Group.
Then as now the shadow of emigration cast the darkest shadow over Carmody’s community.
DC Publications, $20.
Reviews by Cahir O'Doherty, Irish Voice Arts Editor