Over Your Shoulder

Over Your Shoulder, is a collection about formation and learning. It is about my childhood and making sense of the surrounding environment. It is about my interaction with social and other systems of influence and leadership, and their impact on my ideas, work and relationships. It is also about my early journeys and transitions, discovering spaces for play beyond the familiar; becoming a teenager and then young adult, and about making decisions about study, work, career changes, first jobs, the early threads of life experience.

   It refers to people and their places – street, neighbourhood, church and school - that initially helped to shape, or limit, my progress, and also to other places that were visited, studied or worked in.

   The story starts in the early 1950s when my parents, Denis and Chris, moved to Ballyfermot a newly-built public housing suburb west of Dublin, and it is about their daily effort to work, earn, nurture and raise seven children in a society that was disdainful of their class, and in which we struggled to make sense of the competing influences of secular and Catholic values, and still do. The story finishes twenty-five years later when I completed college. Thereafter, another story, but more about that later!



Gentl© Barry Cullen 2018