This week’s guest is Tom McGrath, author of Unspoken, published in April 2022 (Gill Books, Dublin). It’s the poignant and interesting story of Tom’s family history. While his parents lived quite a conventional life in Waterford City, their shared existence did not conform to what was expected by Irish society in the 1950s. Tom became an orphan in his teens and he knew practically nothing about his parents’ background until much later in life.
Here Tom gives Paul glimpses into the story. It’s full of emotion, from deep sadness to joy. It is an extraordinary tale with drama and tension. His father’s story is one of bravery and danger, which he never spoke about. Tom tells Paul how the book came about. He didn’t set out to write it – it just evolved from a project for his grandchildren. The book includes an account of his quest for information. The whole experience led to his own pilgrimage to Poland, where his father had been a prisoner of war during World War II, as well as a journey with his son Eric over the Pyrenees, following his father’s footsteps as he escaped.
Tom’s quest and his emotional journey are inspirational. Anyone thinking of a family history project would benefit from hearing this chat.
Series Producer: Conor O’Hagan
Audio Supervisor: John Hughes