On the pioneering surgery a small boy received in a West of Ireland hospital... For Sunday Miscellany on RTÉ Radio 1, listen to Merlin Park Miracle, by Liam Lally above.

I turned 70 a while ago. For most people nowadays, reaching 70 is not that significant, but for me, having spent a lot of my childhood in hospital, it was akin to a minor miracle.

From about the age of 4, I could not digest solid food and frequently woke up at night with a pain in my belly, calling to my mother for a hot drink. Only when I became a parent myself did I realise and appreciate the effort it took for her to meet my impatient demand – getting out of bed, warming milk on a dormant turf fire, adding a pinch of soda. This frothy mixture eased my pain, but the underlying condition persisted.

Travellers from Belmullet to Castlebar know only too well that the R312 was, and is still, a mere tarmacked, meandering sheep track. I first experienced this road in the back of an ambulance in the early 1950s, bouncing up and down from pothole to pothole, lurching from side to side like a drunken giraffe...

Listen to more from Sunday Miscellany here.