ESSAY Kerri ní Dochartaigh

NWR Issue 118

That Further Shore

The autumn I turned eleven, in the second week of attending my new school, our council house was petrol-bombed in a sectarian hate crime. My mam, my wee brother, our adopted kitten and I just about made it out the door before losing all the power in our bodies. The home-made bomb had been thrown through my open window; luckily, because the cat had taken to scratching my face early until I woke. As I stumbled out of my smoke-filled room, I remembered my Latin class that afternoon, where we had been learning how important thresholds were in Roman literature. The shoving open of that particular door, and the thick black smoke that had engulfed both it and all the wee letters and posters that covered it, still haunts my dreams to this day. When I first read of Aeneid’s journey to the underworld, it was that bedroom in Nelson Drive, filled with crow-black smoke created by angry, misguided youths, that I watched murken and grow eerier; that room becoming the territory for all limicolous histories buried under thickening mire...

Kerri ní Dochartaigh is a writer who grew up during the Troubles. She read English Literature and Classics at Trinity College Dublin. She writes about nature, literature, place, beauty, grieving and healing. She lives in a very north-westerly part of the island. Kerri was highly commended for her book-length manuscript (from which this is an edited extract) in the New Welsh Writing Awards 2018: Aberystwyth University Prize for an Essay Collection, awarded this summer. She is on Instagram @whooperswan

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previous essay: What Grandfather's Secretly Want: In the Shadow of the Mines
next essay: Swimming Women


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