'I owe a great debt to my parents and, in particular, my mother.'

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'I owe a great debt to my parents and, in particular, my mother.'


Tom reflects on his mother and the role she played in and for his life.


Tom Sutton


Trinity College Dublin




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My book would not be complete without paying tribute to the four females who in their own way played such a large part in my life. First of all, I owe a great debt to my parents and, in particular, my mother who brought me up to know right from wrong, to respect my seniors and to express my thanks to anyone who showed kindness to me or gave me anything. Whilst I don't think I was spoilt, she always ensured I had everything necessary for any particular occasion. I had certain little chores to do about the home and I was well aware of the penalty I would pay if I neglected to carry out my duties, or did anything wrong. No tantrums were allowed if I didn't get my own way or lost a game played on the street. At an early age, going to Sunday school was a must and, whilst I didn't end up a saint, it did lead me on the straight and narrow good way of life. _��Spare the rod and spoil the child' was certainly a quotation my parents took notice of. My father came from Cork -he had three sisters -Eva, Josephine and Annie and a little brother, John, who had a farm in Ring, Co. Kerry. None of these folk ever got married and, in later years, aunt Annie came to work in Belfast as a housekeeper for a Mr. Rankin, who had a large timber business on the Shore Road. She generally came to our house for tea on a Sunday. Occasionally, we had a holiday in Cork and one place sticks out in my memory -Inchidoney -a little holiday place on the very south coast with a beautiful sandy beach, wonderful scenery and a first class hotel. I always said if I got married that would be the place I'd go for my honeymoon -alas I did not but, surprise, surprise, I did go there with Doreen on our golden wedding anniversary, thanks to daughter Valerie and Husband Graham, who arranged and organised this lovely gift, as their gift for our special occasion and yes, Inchidoney is as lovely as ever. I also recollect the last visit I had to Cork was on the death of my aunt Eva. This involved the train to Dublin and then another to Cork. I met a friend on the Dublin train, who wanted me to have a meal with him on the journey. I declined, preferring to have something to eat on the Cork train. Alas, no dining car on the Cork train, which stopped at not only every station, but every little halt to collect post bags -four o'clock in the morning on arrival and a very hungry boy. When aunt Annie died, I got a grave for her close to my mother and father. My mother was a widow for nearly 28 years and, for a few of those years, my younger sister Phyllis and husband Raymond lived with her, when they first got married. On 28th March, 1978, I called to see my mother, as it was Mother's Day and I had a present for her. I had a key of the door and went in. she was sleeping soundly, so I left her present and a little note to say I would call back later. I did so, but to my dismay, she had passed away -so sad but the only consolation was she had not suffered.


Irish Research Council for Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

Research Coordinator/P.I.

Dr Kathleen McTiernan (Trinity College Dublin)

Senior Research Associate

Dr Deirdre O'Donnell (Trinity College Dublin)


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