Review by Michael Nolan

During his lifetime, Father Michael Kickham travelled from Ireland to the opposite ends of the earth. Here was a man who was not afraid to confront his Bishop or write to the Pope when circumstances demanded.

Letters from Michael and others form a central part of the story. There is an honesty and simplicity with a very respectful structure to the letters, an art form that is rapidly diminishing with modern technology. The author, a grand-nephew of Michael, was so fortunate that these letters, which span thirty-three years from 1877, were safeguarded by the Kickham family for future generations. 

Perhaps they were kept in the hope that someone might pick up the mantle and record his story for young generations to come, long after Michael had passed away. If so, their vision is realised in Vincent Murphy’s book.

The author has woven these personal family letters, archive material from various sources and quotations from poems into a memoir which is a joy to read.

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