Mary Kenny

In Death As In Life

Booking Passage: We Irish and Americans

By

Jonathan Cape 301pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

No one does death as gracefully as the Irish. Truly. It is a subject handled with the greatest openness and lack of inhibition – rather as the sex educationalists say we ought to be about sexual matters. I met a young woman from Kerry recently – in her early twenties – who had lost her mother about a year ago. ‘I am sorry for your bereavement,’ I said, as you must always say in Ireland to anyone, stranger or friend, who has had such a loss. ‘Oh, ’tis sad all right,’ she said cheerily. ‘But sure, ’tis nature.’ A strangely sane attitude, I thought. She went on to tell me about her mother’s wake, with the coffin in the living room and all the relations quarrelling the while. ‘Sure, my Ma was the most alive person in the room.’ 

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