The Farm By Lough Gur
The Story of Mary Fogarty
By: Mary Carbery
Publication Date: Summer 2010
The Farm by Lough Gur was first published in London in 1937 and quickly reprinted. It was well received in England and a best-seller in Dublin. Some questioned its quiet recall of an elysian rural Ireland before the Land War, its image of a contented Victorian world in the rich lands of east Limerick that rather jarred with the rhetoric of De Valera’s Ireland. Its woodcut images seemed English not Irish, and its ambiguous authorship gave ammunition to the doubters – was this really the voice of old Mary Fogarty, née O’Brien, or the heavily edited text produced by an Anglo-Irish friend and littérateur, Mary Lady Carbery?
The text was indeed crafted by Mary Carbery, a sharp observer and accomplished essayist who published a fine memoir of her own childhood in 1942 (Happy world). But the pungent strength of the book rests on Mary Fogarty’s contribution: the draft notes and papers that she sent over to Mary Carbery, fleshed out by information supplied by other members of the O’Brien clan. Her memories provide what remains an entirely convincing account of the lost world of the strong-farm family in post-famine Munster, one far more secure in its social status than that of other Catholic writers such as Charles Kickham or Canon Sheehan.
Over seventy years later, there are still precious few histories and even fewer fictional accounts of that rural Catholic middle class like the O’Briens, who confidently expected to be the inheritors of the earth in a Home-Rule Ireland. Their world has rarely been evoked so sensitively as in this beguiling and most engaging narrative.
*Blurb credit to David Dickson
215 x 135mm, 308pp
Lilliput Press –
“Although for many readers who are not from Ireland this story may seem quite primitive and even questionable in its content, for those of us Irish people it is like many stories told to us when we were younger by our grandparents. This real life story of a young country girl raised in rural Ireland in the decades after the great famine is one that will appeal to the hearts of young and old throughout the world.We follow Sissy through the highs and lows of life and learn what was really important to the people of nineteenth century Ireland. The ongoing trials of nationalism, Respectablity, religion and poverty are brought to life for us by Sissy and her family. A thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening book which I would recommend to anyone looking for light read; or anyone interested in what it really was to be Irish.” SARA SUMMERS
Lilliput Press –
“A loving family story about Catholic life on an Irish farm in the mid 1800’s. This is the story of my family and Mary Carbery has done a splendid job of capturing the time and events and wrapping the lives of the O’Brien family around them. Educational and soothing easy reading.” KATHI N
Lilliput Press –
“Excellent memoir of growing up in a prosperous farming family in County Limerick in the second half of the 19th Century. The female perspective – of the mistress of the house, of her daughters, of the staff – made it a unique memoir. Very readable, has a low-key style that makes a very authentic emotional connection on issues such as poverty and emigration. Would make a good companion to “Strong Farmer: The Memoirs of Joe Ward.”” CIARAN BUCKLEY