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Ireland, my Ireland by Arnold J. Meagher

Arnold Meagher was born in a small village in the heart of Ireland - Ballinamuck in County Longford. When he was four, he moved with his family to the larger village of Drumlish, four and a half miles away.

It is in the larger village that he begins his stories of growing up in Ireland's heartland, among villagers that loved to chat, among dew-covered pastures on his grandmother's farm and among the fairy forts and whispering bogs that dot the countryside.

He tells of his joys and fears-his fear of the dead, fueled by ghost stories told by neighbours on long winter nights around his grandmother's hearth, and the ever present fear of the Little People, sharpened by an encounter with a banshee at age nine, and his fear of The Master, his primary school teacher, who was prone to impulsively cane whip his students.

But his joys were also many and on balance trumped his fears-the joys of Gaelic football to which he and his five brothers were addicted, the joys of afternoon tea in the meadow, the joys of his first kiss and first awakenings of a relationship with a girl in an environment where society as a whole imposed a celibate life on its youth, and the joys of the corncrake's nightly lullaby, that sang him asleep on summer nights.

These stories, told with a child's innocence and candor, paint a portrait of the heartland that uplifts and swells the Irish heart with pride. Ireland, My Ireland deals with a rural Ireland of the 1940s and a way of living that is rapidly disappearing, but lives on in the stories that Irish men and women of that generation, scattered around the world, pass on to their children and grandchildren. This book is part of that storytelling tradition.

Arnold Meagher emigrated to the U. S. in 1957 when he was in. his early twenties. He got a Ph.D. in Latin Anierican History from the University of California, Davis campus, had a short stint of teaching history at the University of Houston, Clearlake campus, and since then has earned a living working in communications and technical and proposal writing for the business world. He lives with his wife, Jackie Devlin, in Eufaula, Alabama.

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