Published, spring 2015: CLIMBING SLEMISH, by Dennis Kennedy. Originally published as Climbing Slemish: An Ulster Memoir in 2006, this revised edition includes family trees and photographs.
Climbing Slemish is a humorous and at times tragic account of four inter-connected Ulster families over more than a century. The book was originally intended to be a novel, a portrait of a small and often misunderstood minority in Ireland, the deeply religious, evangelical Protestant working class in rural and urban Ulster, generally unionist in outlook, but eschewing involvement in politics.
Paperback; 214 pages. (including 8 of b&w photos.)
Climbing Slemish: An Ulster Memoir (Trafford, 2006) traces the fortunes and misfortunes of the main branches of the author?s family over most of a century. Economic and personal circumstances saw families divided, and moved from place to place, so the book has several distinct locations (the Braid valley and Slemish, Ballymena, England, Lurgan, Belfast and Lisburn) and is set in times of great upheaval ? the Great War and World War 11, the Troubles inBelfast in 1921-22, and later. The wealth of detail unearthed by the author, relating both to individuals and to the economic and social conditions of time and place, led the author to abandon his original intention to write a novel, and produce instead a memoir which, at times reads like a novel. Central to it is the fundamental Protestantism of the main characters, and its impact upon their lives, for good or ill. At the heart of it all stands, Slemish. This distinctly shaped mountain near Ballymena is the constant which ties both individuals and generations together, giving them a shared sense of place and identity.
...An engrossing story, recounted with charm and exuberance?? Patricia Craig, The Irish Times.
...Ironic observations of an intelligent and, gifted writer?? Barry White, Belfast Telegraph.
...A plainly told, judiciously weighted, wise-headed story of a complex family and social milieu..? Brian Lynch,Irish Independent.