Friday, 27 May 2016


A Place I Called Home 
Kevin Haugh

A Place I Called Home 
is a memoir by Kevin Haugh of his childhood in the Loop Head Peninsula in County Clare from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s and is his second publication. It illustrates many of the social norms of that time, and shows how religion and immigration had an impact on both his life and the lives of those in the wider community. He shares a treasury of memories and tales handed down to him by the older generation, along with some salient nuggets of local history, social life and work on the land. 
Kevin’s affinity with his native place and its people is encapsulated in his own words, “The beauty of the landscape and the power of the sea in the Loop Head Peninsula are to be found in the souls of the people there.” 

I recently had the utmost pleasure of reading this book...or should it be called a journal or a diary or a memoir... Whatever you decide, it is a wonderful glimpse into a life unknown to many, that of a child growing up in the community of Loop Head Peninsula. So much is different, but also familiar, as there are many similarities to the life I led and knew as a child, growing up in a small village in Australia.
As a family historian, I appreciated learning of the generations that came before this young boy called Kevin, every much as I did enjoy learning of life in Ireland, which would have been much the same in many ways of that lived by my Irish grandmother.
Kevin's descriptions were intriguing. I now know that a 'haggard was a small garden at the west gable of the house where the first potatoes and vegetables were sown early in spring before the main tillage was done.' Kevin wrote of electricity not being widely available in West Clare until the early 50's.. and in my home, that didn't happen until the mid fifties... and at first was used only for lighting...  
I smiled when I read of visitors who came while the family were saying the rosary so dropped to their knees and joined in. My mother was visited by a nun when she was very ill, and the memory of the nun kneeling by her bedside and saying the rosary over and over, still lingers. 
There are so many vignettes of everyday life as it was in the 1950s to the 1970s that will stay with me. The insertion of poetry never seemed to intrude as you might expect, as it was so carefully chosen, as were the quotes. There are so many wonderful stories and so much history explained. 
We wander though the author's childhood years, feel the awkwardness of becoming a teenager and arrive at adulthood with him. It takes some reading, some concentration at times to take it all in, but to me, it will be a book to delve into time and again. It will be my 'go to' book if I want to learn about the children's graveyards, about St. Senan's Well... or perhaps the way that dairy farms were run in Ireland in the 50s and 60's...
 While I loved the photographs, I would have liked some of them to be a bit larger..  and I would appreciate an index, even if only as a little more detail of the chapters.. small matters.
I have no hesitation in recommending this book.

Disclosure: I was sent this book by the author after I offered to write about the launch here... I am not paid for reviews.
Full details of how to purchase are available in the initial post on As They Were as above.

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