Growing up in Lispole

I was born Treasa Kennedy during the Second World War on the Dingle Peninsula, between Holy Mount Brandon and the Atlantic Ocean. I was one of five children and my childhood was a traditional one, lived among fishermen and farmers, the caretakers of a peasant tradition. In my early childhood, there was story-telling and card-playing in place of radio, cinema and television. It was a life of mystery, beauty and simplicity. The pattern of the day, the night, the year, and even life itself was lived unselfconsciously in the presence of God. The life of the people was deeply incarnational, whether saving the hay, telling the time from the sun and the tide, catching trout and salmon, going to stations, wakes, funerals, marriages, walking under hedges dripping with fuchsia, cutting and footing the turf or bringing tea to the fields or the bog.

But it was not all joy. We also knew hardship through the Depression and the War, with its food rationing. Hard times drove many from their land. But we were a close and neighbourly community. As the local writer Peig Sayers (whom I knew) put it: 'Ar scath a cheile a mhaireann na daoine' or “living in the shadow of each other.”

We all helped each other, living in the shelter of each other. Everything that was coming dark upon us we would disclose . . . Friendship is the fast root in my heart; it is like a white rose in the wilderness. (from Spiritual Journeys).

© 2023 Sister Stanislaus Kennedy
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