‘Stories from the Paraffin Lamp Days’

When Ann Gardiner (nee Kearney) sold the thatched house that had been home to generations of her family she decided to write a book recording her life growing up in the shadow of Galtymore.

When Ann Gardiner (nee Kearney) sold the thatched house that had been home to generations of her family she decided to write a book recording her life growing up in the shadow of Galtymore.

Ann, husband of ace accordionist, Bobby Gardiner of Burncourt, Cahir, and a former Clerical Officer with the Dublin Health Authority, wrote an honest, insightful book called The House Remembers (A Childhood on a little farm at the foot of Galtymore). Her latest nostalgic work, Stories from the Paraffin Lamp Days, features tales from an innocent Ireland of yesteryear and seems destined to be another major success for the amiable Cahir prizewinning author. It will be launched in Kilcoran Hotel, Cahir, on Friday, December 19 at 7pm. Ann is an Ireland’s Own writing award winner, and hails from a very literary and musical family. Her early school days were in Skeheenarinky and later at life in boarding school.

But, one feels, it is the rich, daily happenings on the farm that left a lasting impression. Ann’s Ireland of her childhood seems to have been theinspiration also for her latest tome. Those were the days of taking the milk to the creamery, savingthe hay and thinning the turnips. Times when the meitheall were called in to help with the threshing of the corn and stayed for the dancing and singing in the kitchen later on. Fair Days were held regularly in every town when farmers bought and sold their animals. Saying the nightly rosary was a sacred ritual from which nobody could escape, even the visitor. It was a time of abundant storytelling and Ann has a great gift for telling entertaining stories. Ann returned to Ireland in the ‘Seventies’, having spent some time in America with her husband, Bobby Gardiner, and they played music for ballad sessions and weddings for many years. They live in Burncourt beside the old thatched house which provided all the inspiration for much of her writing. Ann Gardener has recreated a part of our past that is at once delightful, sad, poignant, humorous, beautiful - a time evocatively and skilfully captured by one of my favourite authors from whom I suspect, we shall have so much more to enchant us. My former colleague in ISA Section in Dublin Health Authority in the Swinging 60’s in Dublin has come a long way. Beir bua, Ann! Rural Ireland is indebted to you. Cork tenor Sean O’Sé will launch the book while entertainment will be by members of the Bru Boru Group, and Ann’s husband Bobby Gardiner.