This book is a recounting of the journey a woman takes as she walks along Saint Declan’s Way. Born in Ireland, schooled in England, currently living in Australia, Rosamund doesn’t know quite where she belongs, but identifies that Ireland is where her heart yearns to call home, despite now not having lived there for most of her life. She walks for 3 weeks along an old, almost forgotten path that is reported to be a route that Saint Declan once walked. As she does so, she stays with various Irish people- many who area well known or related to famous historical people. She contemplates nature and religion, history, tradition and what it means to belong.
As I listen to Lauren’s yearning for a different way in life, I recognise in me that desire to belong to a community that doesn’t sit night after night in front of a television, but sings, dances and plays music together in the evenings. I, too, ache to belong to a people that have a history on their land.
At times it can get a little boring hearing all about her parent’s friends and her friends who are somehow all either important or connected to important people- not having a personal connection with them, or a strong knowledge of Irish history it just doesn’t mean much to me. But the writing style is easy to read, and her range of focus is varied enough to keep it interesting. I particularly enjoyed the insights into current Irish culture, and the beliefs about the mystical (fairy stories, ghost stories etc).
In the end, she doesn’t figure everything out about what she believes and how/where to belong while on this pilgrimage. But after a detour into increased confusion, she does find some kind of peace with where she is at.
Other book related things:
Coffee Addicted Writer question of the week: Name one book that scared you so badly that you couldn’t finish reading it.
I don’t tend to read scary books. But I remember there was a book that had a scene that was really awkward- and that was enough to get sensitive younger me to stop reading- I can’t remember which book it was, but it was by Colin Thiele, and it as something to do with a girl being found while swimming naked in a river…
Book Beginnings on Fridays: The Opening line of this book
People are quick to tell me I’m not Irish, but if you were to put a label on me it could say ‘Made in Ireland’
What shapes our identity and where we belong is one of the major themes.
Friday 56: A quote from page 56
The first thing he did, after saying his prayers, was to feel for his hump, bit it wasn’t there. He was also wearing a suit of new clothes
A fairy tale of a hunched back man who encounters fairies, and ends up blessed by them after adding to one of their songs.