My background has been in every way a plus or me. I love being Irish. When I taught inEngland– before the troubles broke out – we Irish nuns were loved and respected. At a later stage when Muredach and I were at the University in Keele at the time of theBirminghambombing, we felt distressed and ashamed, but he people around us just continued to treat us in the same friendly manner. InAustralia, being Irish was in some ways a plus – we were not Poms. When we first went toPerthwhich was quite English orientated place, people were not much interested in their Irish background. However, after the Australian bicentenary celebrations, people became very interested in their antecedents and it was a very different story. They became proud of their Irish ancestry. My religion also opened doors in a way. The parish with its familiar routines and ceremonies was a readymade community wherever we went which was a great help in settling into new places.
My interest in Irish culture was also instrumental in building friendships. The Aisling Society in Sydney, of which I was the secretary for a time, met monthly for talks of Irish interest and ran social events for the Irish community and through it I made many friends both Aussie and Irish. The Queensland Irish Association also provided similar opportunities.
I was brought up in comfortable surroundings. While we were not spoiled, we had everything we needed. I could have my startrite shoes and my Judy dresses. My parents were able to provide a good education when others were not so fortunate. They were able to fund my trips to Rome and France which opened new horizons for me as a teenager. When in later life I needed financial help to start out on a new life, my mother, with the help of my brother, was in a position to support me till I got on my feet.
Antrim is a beautiful part of the world, which is now, unfortunately, a well kept secret because people are deterred by the 'Troubles' from visiting there. For me it is in the fabric of my being. Its memory 'haunts me (in the nicest possible way) wherever I go'.
Sleive Trostan's in shadow and Glendan in tears
Looks sorrowing up at her love through the years
That sad look at Trostan I never can forget
My heart pines in darkness, my lashes are wet
Red dawn is at breaking and Slemish is glad
In smiles to the green fields and shadows of Braid
Craigbilly is waking from night's dewy sleep,
And Kella's young streams to their new pulses leap
The blue hills of Antrim I see in my dreams
The high hills of Antrim, the glens and the streams
In sunshine and shadow, in weal or in woe
The sweet vision haunts me whereever I go
Sin uilig! Go rabh maith agaibh.