One fine September morning 95 years ago, a small boy strolled across a bridge over the River Blackwater leading into a small town in rural Ireland. Suddenly, all hell broke loose around him as he was caught in the middle of one of the very first cross-fires between the Irish Volunteers and the British army. That boy was my father-in-law, Paddy Ryan. He told me all about this shoot out when I took him a good bottle of Irish whiskey and asked him what it was like to grow up during the struggle for Irish independence. A few years earlier, while hiding under a table in his uncle’s pub, he had also observed Michael Collins (or rather his boots) during a secret meeting. Collins was, in all probability, recruiting for the Easter rising.
As a family therapist and Fellow of the British Psychological Society, I already knew that all of us have secrets, and some of us have secret lives. Paddy certainly had both – my wife later discovered that he (and therefore she) had been using a false name for most of his (and her) life! His secret life was fascinating, but also typical of his generation, who experienced the war of independence, the great depression and world war two. The story of his life inspired me so much that that I blended it with other true stories into a novel that celebrates the lives of the children of Irish independence.
“Crossing the Water” has been described as ‘a masterpiece’ by Professor Alan Carr (University College, Dublin) and the public reviews on Amazon UK and US are equally positive (average score of 4.5 out of 5). The UK Amazon link is http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0992848539 and there is a virtual inspection copy at http://makripress.com/our-titles/crossing-the-water/inspection-copy/ .
As a way of celebrating Paddy’s unique life, the 95th anniversary of the dawning of the struggle for Irish Independence, and my life in psychology, the Kindle version of this book is now available.