Barney Carr, a US Army veteran who lived many years in Ennistymon, has released his memoirs in the form of his new book, ‘Stories of a Rambler and a Gambler.’
When he had a daughter with his partner in 2010, Barney was 70 years old, and wished to write something that could summarise his life and that he could leave for her for the years to come.
There have been even more twists and turns in Barney’s story, as he had a second child with his partner in 2015, this time a son; additionally, he learned he had a daughter, born in 1965, who was a grandmother herself.
Barney elaborated, “My niece over in the US is into genealogy, and she got talking to a woman whose DNA was very close to hers, through an ancestry website. She was searching for her biological father for quite a few years, and it was a matter of me and my brothers taking a DNA test, which I had no problem with.”
Barney was in the army at the time, adding that the strangest part was that his long-lost daughter’s adopted family was originally from County Mayo, and she visited them often, even becoming fluent in speaking Irish.
He continued that when he began the book he was keeping his daughter in mind, but in no time at all he found he was recounting his life’s ups and downs to three children; something he emphasised he is grateful he was around long enough to do.
Barney added that while he never claimed to be a scholar or anything such, he enjoyed writing the memoirs and said that once he was in the flow of thinking back, he could write reams of information quite easily.
“Where I live in Letterkenny, Donegal, I was trying to get 20 books printed for my close family and friends. But I was quite amazed, when I sent it to the publishers, that they jumped on it right away.
“They thought it would be a story that would appeal to a broader audience; I’ve had a good ride, I’ll put it that way.”
Barney delves deep into every aspect of his life in his memoirs, beginning with his growing up in the US and his life in both the merchant navy and the US Navy, a service which took him on long stints to Southeast Asia.
He then went into the world of business and ended up in Costa Rica for years before landing in Ireland, where he settled and married, taking his new family across the Atlantic to the US again.
After some marriage problems, Barney arrived back to Ireland and spent his years in Ennistymon visiting his aunt and uncles in Letterkenny often, until his aunt’s death at the age of 90 in 2006.
Barney continued, “I got lonely and started to spend more time back in the far East, which I got to know well during my time on merchant ships. There I met a lovely Thai woman, and we had our daughter together in 2010.”
Now living in his renovated family homestead in Letterkenny, Barney said he is loving what life has given him and looks forward to hearing feedback on his memoirs.
by Conor Clohessy