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Diary of an Irish Mother

Diary of an Irish Mother

Fiona Byrne

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Set in London in 1983, ‘Diary of an Irish Mother’ offers a snapshot into the hectic life of Vera Byrne.

Set in London in 1983, ‘Diary of an Irish Mother’ offers a snapshot into the hectic life of Vera Byrne.

Her daily struggle to hold everything together, bringing up three difficult teenagers, going to work, a DIY nightmare, a ‘lazy’ husband, car trouble… and the list goes on.

Never a dull moment and a lot of laughs along the way.

Born in Dublin (The Liberties) in 1927, Vera had a strict Catholic upbringing. Her father died when she was just 10 years old and her mother was left to bring up three young children on her own. The Liberties is one of the oldest parts of Dublin, home to the Guinness factory, a place rich in community and history. Though the actual district was torn down in the 19th century, the name ‘Liberties’ has retained its unique character and culture. It would have led to her sense of community, family and faith. Though she calls it a ‘curse to be poor’, and dreams of winning the Pools (a form of betting based on predicting the scores of football matches), it is clear that Vera is proud of her working-class roots.

One aspect of Irish life at that time was the absolute centrality of the Catholic Church. You will see in the diary that Vera goes to Mass most days. Prayers to God and the saints trip from her lips as extensions of her belief-system and thought patterns – her world view is anchored by family and faith and she works tirelessly for both. This is not what most people would understand as ‘going to Church’, a weekly obligation; it is a natural and inextricable part of her life, built into her daily routine. She moved to London in 1965, married Bernie (a neighbour whom she had grown up with in Dublin) in Tottenham in 1966, and they had their first child in 1967. Married life proved rather difficult; money was always short and the relationship was very strained at times.

Vera was missing home and jobs were hard to come by. In her diary you see not just her own struggles but, through glimpses, Bernie’s own difficulties in adjusting, cut off from a community he had known, and stranded in a life that had lost some meaning. It’s easy to see Bernie as a villain – he comes across as lazy and selfish – but there is here also the sadness of someone severed from what he knew, and where he once had purpose and identity.


Additional Information

Author Fiona Byrne
Publisher Self Published
Publication date 30 Sep 2018
Format Paperback
ISBN/EAN 9781999771010

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