A Tale From 'The Brimmers'

I wrote the book, A Tale From 'The Brimmers', set between 1950s-1980s,  as a quest, a search for self and understanding within a social context, exploring how early childhood events influence future journeys around learning, work and the development of ideas and relationships. I also wrote it to explore the influence of place on self-formation and development. Public housing estates were key to that experience. Other influences and experiences include family, friends, schools and religion, studying social studies in Trinity College Dublin in the late seventies, working as a community worker in Dublin’s south inner-city, and witnessing a heroin-use epidemic, and arising conflicts, all of which contributed to providing direction and focus to everything I did after. The book is written in six parts (twenty chapters, circa 70,000 words).

See Introductory Youtube video (4 mins)

a tale from brimmers banner jpeg


Setting

4 chapters (place, pioneers, playground, journeys)

Ballyfermot as a public housing settlement in the fifties and sixties, surrounded by farms and rural society, with memories of parents, home, the street and adjacent places: the ‘glass field’, the ‘layer’, the ‘lawns', ‘backers’, ‘naller’ and the ‘pheeno’; the street games played and the various adventures that formed a relatively happy, childhood routine, and journeys out of Ballyfermot to other places - by train, bus and car - small holidays and camping, with a random event bringing an end to childhood innocence.

Dogma 

2 chapters (dealer, fiefdom)

The impact, good and bad, of religion on growing up in a community dominated by a rural-centric, conservative clergy, who controlled schools, and claimed community leadership, and although some well-meaning priests promoted an open engagement with spiritual and community issues, others, corrupted by clerical power, imposed their presence on every aspect of civil society, extolling a bleak, dreary message about the route to salvation, standing by while members attacked and abused local, vulnerable children.

Transitions

4 chapters (reek, conflict, drift, awakening)

Teenage years, bookended by two significant episodes in strange places. The first was as a thirteen-year-old in Westport, Co. Mayo, dealing with the aftermath of trauma, with new exciting social relations and friendships, in sharp contrast to a dreary, abusive school experience,  followed by a general sense of drift as meanwhile the Northern Ireland troubles erupted, and their penetration into society had impact on family and community. The second episode was a six-week trip to the island, Inisheer, following a disappointing and failed period in college, funded through well-paid factory work, although the trip itself presaged renewed hope and optimism.

Quest

3 chapters (layer, cords, connections)

The search for doing something worthwhile, career-wise, including working in Ballyfermot playground, studying social sciences in Trinity during a turbulent period of student disaffection, and working as a community social worker in flat complexes in the south inner city, and experiencing a deeper awareness of place, community and connection.

Betrayal

5 chapters (clueless, corners, clusters, protection, lollipops)

The social issues in the inner city during the early eighties hit like a thunderbolt, especially as Ireland’s first community experience of injecting heroin use arose, as the period meanwhile was characterised by the absence and suppression of dialogue. The health authorities proved incapable of developing a coherent response, with disastrous and fatal consequences, as meanwhile many community organisations became conflicted in asserting control of the problem.

Echoes 

2 chapters (community, catharsis)

A reflection on the events and experiences described, within the context of contemporary realities: community, drugs and self.

For further information and updates email me dbazzie@icloud.com

See Introductory Youtube video (4 mins)

 Barry Cullen 2020 | dbazzie@icloud.com | Banner photo -  Sea, Sky, Sand & Steps, Whiterock, Killiney, Co. Dublin