Lost in a forest in search of a golden vale and black magic

The short walk with my parents in Irish woods last month now ranks in my mind alongside long expeditions through dense rainforests.

We were in Ireland’s County Limerick, in whose green hills and fields my Dad roamed as a child. He used to ramble up the flank of the Seefin mountain and look down into the Golden Vale, a wide stretch of fertile farmland that reaches across three Irish counties. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, this part of it was his playground. He forged the greatest gift he could ever give me in this crucible.

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