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Research Trip 3

The motto of Belfast on the carpeted floor of the City Hall: For so much received what return can we make? I’m looking forward to returning to Northern Ireland for my third research trip for my novel from 3rd to 19th March.

I hope to be mainly outside the capital this time but here are two of my favourite Belfast buildings: the Art-Deco former Bank of Ireland…

Bank of Ireland, Royal Avenue

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Novel Research, Kindness and Trauma

Research Trip 2 for my novel, from 21st January to 2nd February in Northern Ireland, gave me access to generously shared experience and expertise from writers, sociologists, historians, academics, journalists, teachers and an educationalist, former civil servants, librarians, language activists, clergy, lawyers, a farmer, a statistician, a youth worker and many who shared from the cutting edge of their painfully gained experience.

I was struck too by the kindness with which I was treated.

I cannot do justice to the events and individuals who gave me their time. I will, however, single out, among the public events I attended,  the conference organised by the Ulster University Faculty of Health and Life Sciences: Addressing the Transgenerational Transmission of Trauma and Mental Illness in Northern Ireland.

I had noticed something of a narrative about Northern Ireland along the lines of: the effect of the Troubles is exaggerated; it’s all behind us now and I wanted to get beyond personal opinion to some facts about ‘legacy’ and ‘impact’.

Logo of the Institute of Mental Health Sciences, University of Ulster

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Reading Another Angela

I admit I took on the editing of Elizabeth Ruth Obbard’s forthcoming book READING THE BOOK OF LIFE (New City Press) partly from curiosity because I share a name with the subject.

I was named after Angela Merici, a pioneer of the education of women but the subject of this biographical sketch and selection of documents is another Italian Angela, from Foligno, halfway between Assisi and Spoleto. Continue reading Reading Another Angela