I received an email this morning from my cousin Michael Carey in America and it prompted this memory of the day my mother left home. Michael is the son of my uncle John.


My mother left for Manchester

She left her peaceful glen

She left her widowed mother

Waived goodbye

Her brother John would see her off

Suitcase on the cart

I’ll be back soon – you won’t

It broke her heart


That day she left Glencullen

‘35 or ‘36

She went to join her sisters overseas

She travelled with her cousin

Kate McHale from Muinguinane

Company for courage

Family for friendship

Together they would face

The coming breeze


That journey lasted sixty years

Before mammy came back home

So many places many faces seen

Domestic service wartime

Munitions factory

Meeting daddy marrying



Returning soldier stranger

Began a family

Became a nurse

A matron to a home

A widow like her mother

For twenty years and more

Then Westport bound

My mammy’s native shore


I’ll be back soon, she said to John

But John he knew the truth

When we set out we have to go

It’s the necessity of youth

My mammy’s journey odyssey

As great as any Greek

Set out one morning from your door

It’s your life your life you seek


Brian Fahy

24 August 2021

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