FAREWELL TO RYAN'S DAUGHTER
Following marriage to Mac, whom she’s known for three weeks, at 21, Joan sets off for London. A polio survivor from Limerick, lacking domestic skills, she must now survive as a wife. Farewell to Ryan’s Daughter is the story of her transition from daughter to wife.
Her father’s death brings the couple to Ireland, but without work, they return to London. Homeless and unemployed, they eventually set up home in Muswell Hill. Here, Joan obtains work and meets Mike Gilbert, beginning a working relationship and lifelong friendship. Clashes occur between her innocence and Mike’s pedantic attitude to language and the lackadaisical Irish, and these, along with discussions on the arts and the Origins of Man lead to hilarious exchanges.
Joan is up for any challenge – driving, cooking – with resulting disasters. She fails to kill her driving instructor, burn down the flats despite her cooking pyrotechnics – at failure she’s a huge success.
When her son, Vincent, is born prematurely, Joan decides that he should be brought up in Ireland and she and Mac buy a smallholding and return to live there. While some innocence and “greenness” has been eroded, she now has a new dream and is determined to live it
Published: 11 May 2015