77 Years A-Dreaming: Memoir by Jack Kelly, renal dialysis patient

Moving and humorous memoir by Portlaw man Jack Kelly to be launched at  Waterford Healing Arts Trust 
77 Years A-Dreaming: Recollections and Reflections on a Wonderful Life, by Portlaw amateur historian and renal dialysis patient Jack Kelly, will be officially launched by Mary Butler, TD, at Waterford Healing Arts Trust on Friday 30 November at 6pm.  All are welcome to attend the launch.  77 Years A-Dreaming will be available to purchase at the launch and afterwards from Waterford Healing Arts Trust.  Further details are available from www.waterfordhealingarts.com

Jack Kelly at 16
Jack Kelly at 16

77 Years A-Dreaming, Jack Kelly’s voyage of discovery through the caverns of his mind, teasing out and shaping his countless memories and stories, reflects a life lived to the full: From his childhood in Portlaw in the wartime years of the 1940s, to his short-lived but formative training with the Passionists; from the heady days in London in the swinging 60s and 70s, to his later years coping with unexpected illness back home in Portlaw.  Through it all, Jack’s voice rings clear: kind, honest, spiritual, good humoured, thankful.

Speaking about the experience of writing his memoir, Jack Kelly says “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.  It all happened by accident.  I was asked by some relatives to write about the old days back in Glenstown, as a short story.  So I did.  It was well received, so I began another one about Curraghmore.  Halfway through, I realised that this was the story of my life”.  He adds “With gentle encouragement from artist Boyer Phelan, and generosity and kindness from the nurses in renal dialysis, I kept going.  I know that anything that occupies the mind is good, so I reached into the depths of my subconscious and began retrieving these stories.  Once you delve into your memory bank, one idea leads to another… I’ve discovered so much about myself, and I’ve really enjoyed revisiting these memories and revealing the secrets of my past”.

Announcing details of the launch, Claire Meaney, Acting Arts Director of Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT), said “We are very pleased to celebrate the launch of Jack Kelly’s 77 Years A-Dreaming: Recollections and Reflections on a Wonderful Life.  Throughout this process, Jack has demonstrated tremendous recall, a great sense of humour, quiet determination and a deep appreciation for all the gifts in his life.  We’re very proud that the book has come about through our arts programme in the renal dialysis unit of University Hospital Waterford, which involves artists engaging patients in creating art.  The programme is funded by the Punchestown Kidney Research Fund and is supported by the staff members on the unit who are keen to provide positive, creative and diversionary activities for their patients.  Jack was supported through the process of putting together 77 Years A-Dreaming by artist Boyer Phelan.  We are very excited for Jack and wish him every success”.

Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) is Ireland’s leading arts and health organisation.  Established in 1993, WHAT brings arts experiences to the bedsides of patients at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) and other healthcare settings.  WHAT has been running an arts programme in the renal dialysis unit of UHW since 2007, supported by the Punchestown Kidney Research Fund.  WHAT believes that the arts contribute to the wellbeing and vitality of society and that engaging with the arts stimulates the participant’s sense of identity and creativity. WHAT also supports the development of arts and health in Ireland and manages the national website www.artsandhealth.ie