St Dympna's was a national school and hospital run by a religious order in Broadstone in north city Dublin. Children were segregated into male and female schools and although Veronica and Liam still slept in the same bed at night they had seperate lives during the school day. There must have been a ferocious sense of abandonment. Children in the Sixties and early Seventies were not prepared for school in any way .Dympna was the daughter of a pagan Irish chief in medieval times and was murdered by him when he turned his attentions to her after the death of her mother. Dympna horrified, fled but her father found her in Belgium and decapitated her when she refused to return with him. She is regarded as a patron saint of those with mental disorders or those who have suffered incest.
The name Veronica is derived from ( it is thought) the Latin vera (true) and the Greek eikon (image). Legend has it that Veronica, a pious woman of Jerusalem, offered Jesus her veil to wipe his face as he carried his cross to Golgotha. The image of Christ's face was then reputedly left on her veil. Irish schools, children, hospitals and even street and estate names were frequently named for some Catholic saint or other.
Veronica's description of Liams' preparations in killing himself are heart rending. This man, who appeared unable to organise anything for himself, wore a yellow fluorescent jacket with stones in his pockets; both that he might definitely be drowned and definitely be found. He wore no underpants and socks because perhaps they were not clean and he wouldn't want to disgust whoever finally stripped him to be disgusted by dirty underwear. These are the final worries of a boy's mind, thinking of others. For it is a boy who killed himself - the boy Liam whose boyhood was robbed by Lamb Nugent in the garage or living room of Ada's house.
The Hill of Howth and Howth Head are spectacular beauty spots and popular walking and picnic destinations in North County Dublin. There is a fishing industry run out of it and a marina for leisure craft. Property is expensive here and there is a joke in Dublin that Howth really belongs on the South side with the real money. Many of the wealthier media, entertainment and business people in Dublin have houses in Howth