An oasis of calm in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, is also the scene of an intriguing family history

They always had a little light in the window,” Gabriele Tottenham says, of my grandparents’ house. Her late husband Ashley had grown up two doors down. “He loved going there,” she says, “where there was always a candle burning.”

Ashley’s father, George Tottenham, was landlord here at Blaney, a medium-sized rural estate eight miles outside Enniskillen, on the western bank of Lower Lough Erne. He and his family lived in the main house, while my grandfather, James McGullion, his cattle master, was housed in a small cottage near the entrance to their land. From the 1940s until his retirement 30 years later, his home housed as many as eight people: himself, his wife May, her mother Catherine, and the pair’s five children. The youngest of these was my mother Sheila, who died in 1991, shortly before I turned six.

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