Wednesday 13 December 2017

McCourt's wish to 'pollute' river on hold

Barry Duggan

POOR Frank McCourt will have to wait for another day before his ashes can finally "pollute the Shannon".

It had been expected that the family of the late world-famous author would scatter his remains across the country's longest river at Carrigogunnell castle in Limerick yesterday. However, they were unable to do so as Frank's widow, Ellen, was scheduled to fly back to the US from Shannon Airport yesterday morning.

Carrigogunnell castle was chosen as it was a location where a young Frank McCourt ventured and wrote about in his Pulitzer Prize-winning 'Angela's Ashes' which accounts for his life growing up in Limerick in the last century.

Before Ellen returned to the US, McCourt's brothers Malachy, Michael and Alphie decided to delay casting their brother to the wind and river until a later date.

"We were going to do it in Carrigogunnell, but Ellen had to leave so we are postponing that," Malachy said.

On Thursday, the brothers and Ellen returned to Limerick to unveil a bust of the former school teacher outside his old national school which has since become an art venue. "We have given some of Frank's ashes to Una Heaton who organised the whole event at the Leamy Art Gallery.

"So if you want to visit Frank, you can go up there," Malachy said.

"In the meantime, we will be holding on to the ashes -- we were thinking that Iceland might need some more ashes so we'll contribute them," he joked.

No date has yet been fixed for the McCourts return to Shannonside to fulfil the author's request to "pollute the Shannon" with his ashes.

Malachy encouraged all who wanted to remember the Limerick man to read his books.

"That is how you will remember him. We now have to get on with our lives. There is a school being named after him in New York in September but we have to do our own things also," he said.

Irish Independent

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