Page 227. " When it was time for Communion he stood at the end of the bench "

Communion is the religious term meaning the Eucharistic rite which celebrates the Last Supper. Catholics are supposed to believe in transubstantiation, where the communion wafers and wine are transformed in substance into the blood and flesh of Jesus Christ during the Eucharistic rite. To take communion is to take the wafer in ones mouth therefore communing with God by accepting his body into ones body.Veronica came from a Catholic family in a largely Catholic country where the Catholic Church controlled not only the schools and hospitals but had influence deep within the institutions of the State. The Church was a hard taskmaster and many people chafed under the bit put upon them by the Church's laws. To defy the Church was to put yourself outside the governing body of the country. Most middle class people stayed within the rules as laid down and tried to get by without drawing attention to themselves. Veronica is concious that the ceremonies repeated week after week have nothing to do with belief. She has no idea what her father's personal beliefs were and wouldn't know where to go looking for them. Large Catholic families were trooped to mass and to receive communion on a Sunday and absences would be noted and commented on. Life was narrow and restrictive and Ireland is only now shaking off the shackles that bound it to the Catholic Church for generations.     

Page 248. " 'hard times come again no more' "

Kitty sings Liam's favourite song 'Hard Times' written by American Stephen Foster in the 1850s. It has been recorded by many folk singers on both sides of the Atlantic including De Danaan, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Mary Black and Nanci Griffith. It is a particular favourite at Irish sing-songs.


Page 250. " Ada orders a cup of coffee in Bewleys "

The Bewleys were a Quaker family who moved to Ireland from France in the eighteenth century and entered the tea trade. They still import  tea and coffee and run several cafes throughout Dublin. Bewleys tea and cakes are somewhat legend in the capital and afternoon tea or a late breakfast there is an institution to be enjoyed!