A GOOD READ
I had been keenly awaiting Colm Toìbìn’s new book “Brooklyn” (Penguin: Paperback:15.65) as I had really enjoyed his last two offerings “The Master”- which was truly wonderful- and the book of short stories “Mothers and Sons”. Brooklyn tells the story of Eilis Lacey, a young native of Enniscorthy, in the recessionary times of the late 1950’s. The novel evokes the period convincingly, and in fact the sedate depiction of a quiet provincial life did leave me feeling a little restless in the opening chapters. Following prompts from her formidable older sister Rose, Eilis finally follows in the path of emigration already taken by her older brothers, except she finds herself not on the way to England for work, but on the boat to New York.
I really enjoyed this part of the story, as again the evocation of the place at a particular time, the cusp of the swinging sixties, is interesting and stimulating. Toìbìn’s portrayal of Eilis’ new “family” in the shape of her housemates and work colleagues in a large store is rich and diverse, and notably most of the most compelling characters in this novel are female. He is very good at penetrating the female psyche and as a result the character of Eilis herself, which I had found a little dull at the outset, really grew on me as the book progressed. Eilis is unexpectedly called back to her home town, and there follows a fascinting juxtaposition of her perspectives on home and New York. This calls for choices on her part and the dilemma she faces is very movingly revealed. This subtle and understated novel is definitely worth a read – it is a beautiful story of the diaspora of the heart.
There was certainly nothing calm about my second choice- “The Tenanat of Wildfell Hall” by Anne Bronte (Paperback: Wordsworth Editions:5.99) Anne is often overshadowed by the towering literary achievements of her sisters Charlotte and Emily, but this book demonstrates that she was a major talent in her own right.
The story is told in a typically dramatic Victorian way, and like many of her contemporaries she has quite a feminist streak , in that it deals with the misfortunes of a proud and beautiful heiress at the hands of her feckless husband. Helen Huntingdon is also an artist, demonstrating women’s ability to carve out careers for themselves in an era when this was not a particularly popular view. Bronte gives us a window into the Huntingdon’s dysfunctional marriage that must surely have been controversial when the book is first published, as there are some quite shocking insights into the depths of her husband’s depravity.
Again typical of its genre, the novel is told in alternating perspectives: firstly we hear from Gilbert Markham, neighbour to the new tenant of Wildfell Hall. Gilbert gradually falls under the spell of this mysterious woman, who unbeknown to them has left her husband and is trying to make her way independently. This then alternates with Helen’s diary account of her courtship and marriage. The novel cracks along at a great pace and as in all the Bronte’s work is characterised by a vivid, painterly landscape, reflecting the bleak and beautiful North Yorkshire moors where the Bronte children grew up. If you fancy a good bit of gothic escapism, this is a super read.
Magical Music at Russborough
May witnessed on of the most inspiring concerts yet in the beautiful saloon of Russborough house. We were lucky enough to watch not just one, but two exceptionally talented pianists. First the internationally acclaimed Margarete Babinsky, native of Austria wowed the audience with her gifts, playing a riveting combination of Haydn, Mozart and Schubert. We were then entertained by a young local talent (from Ballyknocan I believe?) Fiachra Garvey, who has recently been placed in the Dublin International piano competition. Fiachra played Debussy and Lizst for us , followed by a second session from Margarete featuring an Austrian composer – Schiske, and ending with Chopin. Janet and I were lucky enough to be seated near the front, so it was wonderful to observe the intensity and skill of these artists at such close quarters. After performing a lovely impromptu encore, dedicated to her Friend Father Kevin Lyon, Margarete teamed up with Fiachra for an electric finale- what a delightful evening! Well done Russborough – the gorgeous Steinway piano looked and sounded fantastic in the hands of these artists….
The Editors and Contributors of The Ballymore Bugle wish to extend their condolences to the family of the following who died recently. Please note, we are happy to accept Acknowledgements or Tributes for future editions. Our deepest sympathy to you all – Rose and Tim
The Late Ossie Hunter
A huge turnout for the late Ossie Hunter of Donode, Ballymore-Eustace who passed away recently; well known and respected within the farming community, Ossie was also a founder member of the Senior Citizen’s Association and had been one of a committee to be awarded the Ballymore People of the Year honour for the dedicated work they carried out. In latter months, Ossie had suffered poor health and was a patient in the Curragh Ward in Naas General Hospital at the time of his death.
He is survived by his wife Muriel, daughter Olivia (Hatton), grandchildren Sara, Gavin and Johanna, great-grandchildren Freddie and Flynn, son-in-law John, grandson-in-law Kevin, extended family, neighbours and his many friends from the community of St John’s. The large attendance at Ossie’s funeral service was indicative of the affection in which he was held in both religious communities – a true servant of Ballymore Eustace, may he rest in peace, amen.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT PLEASE in a separate box, please
To the people of Ballymore-Eustace,The family of Osmond Hunter, late of Donode, would very much like tothank their wonderful friends and neighbours for all their kindnessand support during our sad loss. We would also like to pay tribute to the generosity of the Ballymorecommunity in their donations to the Senior Citizen’s Fund which hasraised approximately €1,200.Yours sincerely,Muriel and Olivia Hunter and the extended Hunter family.
The Late John Brosnan, Bishopland, Ballymore-Eustace and late of Ventry, Co. Kerry who died on June 13th peacefully at Naas Hospital. Possibly Ballymore’s oldest citizen was aged in his one hundredth year – an extraordinary achievement. Pre-deceased by his wife Helen, he will be sadly missed by his loving daughter Mary, son Paddy, son-in-law Tommy, grandchildren, great-grandchild, granddaughters-in-law, nieces, nephews, neighbours, relatives and friends. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.
The Late Louie Murphy of Longhouse, Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare and formerly of Ballinatona, Manor Kilbride who died on June 15th after a brief illness in Naas Hospital. This has been a sad time for the Murphy family what with Brendan dying so suddenly last year and Louie’s wife Gertrude the year before, Louie was also pre-deceased by daughter Anna and grandson, Oisín. A lovely man and well respected within the farming community, Louie is survived by his loving children John, Louie, Noel, Kevin, Trudy, Harry, Joe and Paul, sisters-in-law, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, relatives and friends. An absolute gentleman, Louie was laid to rest with his late wife in Manor Kilbride Cemetary. May they rest in peace, amen.
The late Desmond ‘Des’ Kennedy, late of Chapel Street, Ballymore Eustace and formerly of Blessington, Co. Wicklow who died on June 14th peacefully in hospital. He will be sadly missed by his wife, Jo; children Carol, John and Desmond Jnr; sisters Helen and Mary, son-in-law Seamus, Desmond's partner Kimberley, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, relatives, neighbours and friends. Des’s funeral saw a Guard of Honour led by Sean Power TD and local councillors and his many friends within Fianna Fail. At Thursday’s funeral mass, there was strong representation from Naas Credit Union to which Des dedicated his time and energy for years. He will be sadly missed by his many friends in Ballymore. May he rest in peace, amen.