When Tomorrow Speaks to Me: Memoirs of an Irish Medium

Image of When Tomorrow Speaks to Me: Memoirs of an Irish Medium
Release Date: 
January 1, 2011
Llewellyn Publications
Reviewed by: 

Bridget Benson, born in 1956 in County Mayo on the west coast of Ireland, has been a clairvoyant medium since the age of three. Her compelling account begins in a family of eight siblings, parents, grandparents, and great aunt Bridget, sharing a small bungalow with no running water or electricity. Grandma dies on Bridget’s seventh birthday. Bridget receives a “message” that her father, who shares her gift, will die when Bridget is 12, and she will take his place as the family seer.

Bridget’s story reveals her first spirit, Harry, an old man who loves to appear in different clothing. She shares her bedroom with her sister, two brothers and great aunt Bridget, and stays awake after her siblings fall asleep, to listen to her aunt conversing with spirits, most often Harry, whom Bridget can see clearly. Sadly, her beloved aunt dies when Bridget is around five, and is unable to share or impart to her niece the knowledge of gift. Bridget frightens her sisters and brothers half to death speaking to an entity they can neither hear nor see, causing enough ruckus to wake the dead; but then the dead are already awake, and in the room. Only her father understands as he tucks them back into bed as if nothing unusual has happened

It’s Harry who communicates with Bridget throughout the days and nights, explaining her gift and what and who she will one day become. Her relationship with her mum grows strained, as Bridget knows of and tells her dad things her mum preferred him not knowing. Her gift is an embarrassment her mother simply cannot tolerate.

As Bridget grows up on their little farm, she fosters closeness with animals and is never at a loss for friends, having spirit children as playmates. They actually help Bridget with her chores. They consume “carrots, cabbages and turnips” with hungry gusto—an unbelievable thing for spirits to accomplish. Bridget also meets fairies with “gossamer wings and long glossy hair,” often accompanied by leprechauns as well; mythical creatures but real to the child, Bridget—and to most of Ireland, although few manage to actually interact with them.

Bridget’s excellent storytelling of the Celtic lore of the island of her youth, enhanced by tales of older family members is a delightful reading experience. One can actually picture the magical, if poor, land that birthed her and fostered her amazing gifts. Bridget explains an odd tradition of Irish families called “keeping” back one child, usually the sickly, or one less likely to marry, so that child can take on the obligation of caring for their parents in old age. This job fell to the sickly Billy, Bridget’s prematurely born brother.

When Bridget loses her beloved dad to a long illness, predicted years ago by” Harry,” the writing is intense; both poignantly sad and lovely in the telling of it. Seeing him in a bright star streaking across the sky, happy as he waves to her, marks the beginning of who and what Bridget Benson will become. Fatherless, Bridget’s entire family is forced to pack up and move to England, leaving their precious Ireland behind; spread out between the homes of her older brothers and sisters. Yet the family manages many summer trips back to their beloved Ireland.

Bridget speaks with a typical Irish brogue but uses a lighter dialect in relating her amazing life. A nursing career is Bridget’s goal, and while she is highly proficient at it, her spirit guides continue to pull her in another direction. Soon she is in demand for readings throughout her beloved Ireland and the United Kingdom, doing TV and radio readings and fundraising appearances. She also uses her talents as a clairvoyant medium to aid in police investigations.

Many of her experiences in this memoir will bring both tears and laughter, adding an ironic yet fitting closure to a lifestyle both captivating and interesting to readers and acolytes in clairvoyance and knowledge of other realms. While some entities like fairies and leprechauns might require too much stretching of our suspension of disbelief . . . one just never knows.