He escapes her and the Irish censor and moves to more liberal England, where he enjoys the freedom to read Brendan Behan, Edna O’Brien and other writers banned at home.
Imprisoned for pacifist anti-bomb activities, his native country recedes as he achieves his dreams of journalism, travel and sport.
Poised to voyage further abroad, he returns to a much changed Ireland to look after his newly- widowed mother. A bond is established between them, she finally reveals the violent origin of her antipathy to all things British. He also has to learn to come to terms with death.
Subject of a television documentary when first published in 2006, the revised memoir records encounters with such diverse characters as Brendan Behan, Bertrand Russell and Ayrton Senna. And the end of an era which died with his mother, her favourite Irish Press newspaper and the literary landmark of Dublin's Parsons Bookshop, whose history her son would later record.
The Irish Catholic wrote: ‘A wonderful book for anyone who wishes to understand at the heart’s core, the pride and passion of being Irish in the twentieth century.’