I was coming out of Sunday Mass in Mungret a few weeks ago when a neighbour of mine whispered to me: "I never knew the Bulfins came from Offaly". I asked him where he heard that, and he replied that he had read it in the Grange Book which he had borrowed from the library. He told me he was really enjoying the read, and I agreed with him that it was a 'gem' of a book.
So, what is it about the book that has captured my imagination? For me, the answer is simple, it ignited my 'senses'.
I can vividly see my Uncle George as he takes up his customary position on the Bridge on the River Camogue, waving enthusiastically at everyone. And the pride on my Uncle Tommy's face, looking at his drills of flowering potatoes, as 'straight as a die' in the haggard.
I can smell the new-mown hay in the Corcass and Aunty Breda's delicious brown bread, washed down by sugar- sweetened tea - kept piping hot in a glass cidona bottle by a chunky woolen sock.
I can hear the sound of hammer on anvil as Jim Madden plays his concerto in his forge, over the road. Or the banter coming home at night from Bruff in Uncle Tommy's car - between him, Joe Casey, Donie O'Dwyer and John Harty - with sliotars flying in every direction!
I can taste our own ice-cold milk from the fridge, and I hear the laughter at the creamy moustache left by the two inches of cream at the top of the bottle.
I can feel the touch of the newborn bonham, with its 'smooth as silk' back and its little pink nose, cold to the touch.
As I read The Grange Book, it brought me back to my happy childhood. It made me laugh a lot and at times shed a few tears. Thanks for the wonderful memories. I treasure the book, it's a credit to everyone involved.