A quarter of a century ago, Canon Hilary Wakeman became the Rector of a Church of Ireland parish in the far southwest of Ireland, a very different world from her English home in Norwich. This book is Hilary's record of her memorable first year in West Cork. It was 1996, but it seemed like going back years in time.
There was very little traffic on the roads, only one television channel, and many household goods were difficult to find and expensive. There was considerable poverty yet mountains of homemade cakes at every gathering and wonderful good humour. It was not all plain sailing however.
Hilary was well aware of the history of the area and keen not to open up old Catholic-Protestant wounds in West Cork. Fortunately, her ecumenical approach was welcomed by most. During Hilary's eventful year there were challenges and setbacks, and even tragedies: drownings, a suicide, the fatal road accident of a young boy, and a brutal murder that received international coverage.
But there was also great joy and even romance: two weeks after arriving, Hilary's daughter meets a handsome Catholic fisherman, though not everyone approves... A Different World ends with a jubilant Catholic-Protestant, homemade wedding. The marriage service is conducted by Hilary in the Famine Church by the sea, and the reception held in the beautiful garden of the nearby Rectory.
It was a wonderful day.