A road less travelled
Tales of the Irish Missionaries
Aidan Clerkin and Brendan Clerkin, editors
With a foreword by President Mary McAleese and special contributions by:
Tom Arnold (Concern), John O'Shea (GOAL), Fr Seán Healy (Social Justice Ireland), Justin Kilcullen (Trócaire), Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop Alan Harper, Denis O'Brien (Iris O'Brien Foundation).
From the Amazon rainforest to the South Pacific islands, and from India to the African plains, thousands of Irish missionaries devote themselves to the practical service of humanity.
Working in dozens of countries around the globe, these missionaries – joined in recent years by hundreds of lay volunteer aid workers – have made an invaluable contribution to their adopted lands. They serve as pioneering health workers, as teachers of the poor (and sometimes as mentors to future world leaders), and as courageous advocates for marginalised peoples. They have left enduring and valuable legacies in fields as diverse as medicine, education, politics, ecology, and sport.
In the course of their work they face enormous challenges. They must adapt to harsh environments of jungle, desert or city slum; wrestle with obscure languages; and offer respite to the victims of war, famine or tribal violence. Some have paid a high price at the hands of bandits, hostile regimes or tropical disease.
These men and women have had unique adventures, misadventures and truly extraordinary experiences. In this book you will read vivid personal accounts of the most memorable experiences in their adopted homes, spanning the period from the mid-twentieth century right up to the 2010 World Cup. The stories they tell are amusing, informative, in some cases harrowing – but always engrossing.
The short narratives and anecdotes comprising this anthology have been extracted from diaries, memoirs, letters home to Ireland, and from contributions specially commissioned for this book. They provide an insight into the lives of some of Ireland’s most outstanding emigrants.
Royalties from this book are being donated to the Mukuru Arts & Crafts Centre in Nairobi, Kenya.
Aidan Clerkin was born in Co. Donegal. He works as an educational researcher at St Patrick’s College, Dublin.
Brendan Clerkin is a Chartered Accountant and Tax Consultant. His first book, No Hurry in Africa, detailed his experiences while volunteering in Kenya. He is currently financial controller of a university in Uganda.