Old Tom Kelly is in a nursing home after suffering a stroke. From the window of his room he can see the Sugarloaf Mountain which he often climbed as a child and later with his girlfriend Joan Delahunty whom he eventually married. As he gazes at the mountain day after monotonous day, he entertains himself by recalling their young days together and the way their love life unfolded.
They lived at a time (1940s) when the Catholic Church held a domineering position in Irish society even though Tom Kelly was not aware of it at first. Tom and Joan were pious, compliant catholics until they married. That’s when they discovered to their surprise and annoyance, the extent to which the Church had a fixation with the social and sexual activity of men and women.
It went far beyond what was reasonable and even christian.
So their attitude changed. In addition, their love for each other was severely tested by the hammerblows that life can sometimes, randomly deal out.
In later years, after their children had left the nest and just as they were settling into the quiet rhythm of their senior years, Joan is suddenly torn from Tom. He brings her remains back to the Church for a final farewell. In view of his changed view of the Church, he still wonders why he did so.
The book is available at Hanna’s Bookshop in Rathmines.
(c) Gerry Hogan