My Father’s Wake by Kevin Toolis

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My Father's Wake – How The Irish Teach Us To Live, Love and Die

Writer and filmmaker Kevin Toolis gives a first-hand account of the Irish ritual of death and 'the wake', based on his experience of his father's wake on Achill Island. He analyses the cultural significance of the Irish Wake.

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Writer and filmmaker Kevin Toolis gives a first-hand account of the Irish ritual of death and ‘the wake’, based on his experience of his father’s wake on Achill Island. He analyses the cultural significance of the Irish Wake.

“As Sonny lay dying we had another kind of weather: humid, hazy days, the entire village consumed in sea mist. We were unable to see further than the garden gate: all land, sea and sky shrouded in a still blanket that made night and day one. We were becalmed. Waiting for his heart to stop, the wake, his funeral, the church, the grave. Waiting for the death of this very ordinary man. Waiting, I thought, to start again. Resume Life. As it turned out, nothing else I have ever done or will do was more important than those precious days.”

“A profound book on the culture of grief and death, placing the personal alongside the political in a vivid exploration of our ancient ways of coming together around the dead … A moving story, a memoir of loss and exile, a deep understanding of what makes us alive.” – Hugo Hamilton