Image shown: Jack Kelly

Image shown: Jack Kelly

77 Years A-Dreaming: Reflections and Recollections of 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. 

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.’

This publication was developed through the WHAT 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.

Further details are available from


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