Nan Delaney's children.

Documentary on OneI Hope You Will Be Home Soon

As heard on Documentary On One

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Nan Delaney was born in Portlaoise in 1916 and travelled to Manchester as a teenager with her sisters for work. A childhood illness meant that her lungs were weak and her ill-health meant that she had to return home. 

She married Johnnie in Clonad, Portlaoise in 1944 and together they had eight children. Clonad is a small townland that is now bisected by the main Cork to Dublin road. If you are travelling down the M7, their old farmhouse is just visible over the hedge. 

The family had a small-holding and the children went to the national school nearby. But in 1962, Nan’s lung troubles returned, coughing blood she was brought to Peamount Hospital in Dublin, then Ireland’s largest sanatorium for TB. 

Her children were aged 15 years to 9 months, and to them, Peamount was a million miles away. They wrote to their mother with news of home, of country life and how their baby sister was faring on a diet of milk and Marietta biscuits. They didn’t know if their mother would return. 

The documentary tells the story of their correspondence to their mother and of the box they recovered that contains an archive of a life. 

© The Listener 2019

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