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In the hills of the Cooley Peninsula is an old stone cottage with red window frames and a half door. Now, it is owned by documentary-maker Chris Nikkel but one of its previous owners was a world-renowned psychiatrist named Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross was the person who came up with the famous "5 stages of grief" model – denial; anger; bargaining; depression; acceptance. She revolutionised how we think about death and dying.
Elisabeth was born in Switzerland but lived in America with her husband. When she came to America, she was horrified by how death was treated – and how nobody spoke about death or spoke to people who were terminally ill.She began to talk to dying patients about how they were feeling, so that she could learn about what it means to be dying and go through that process.
Kübler-Ross travelled the world giving lectures and workshops. In the 1980s she started coming to Northern Ireland to give workshops with people affected by the Troubles.
She became friends with the people she met in Ireland and when she came south of the border and travelled around the Cooley Peninsula in rural county Louth, she fell in love with area.
She decided that she would buy a house there that would be a retreat for her. Friends helped her buy the cottage nestled in the fields at the foot of the hills, looking out to the waters of Carlingford Lough, and she would come regularly to Ireland to relax from her busy schedule and write.
In this documentary Chris unravels Elisabeth's fascinating life story and her relationship with Ireland.
Her friends talk about how much joy she took from the simplest of things, how she took two of her Irish neighbours on a trip to her farm in America and how they enjoyed being in her company.
Elisabeth wrote many books – her most famous one being 'On Death and Dying’. Because of this was sometimes referred to as ‘the death and dying lady’. But those who knew her, knew how much she loved life and said if you knew her, you knew that she really was ‘the life and living lady’.
Dr Kübler-Ross died on August 24, 2004.
Produced by Chris Nikkel, Little Road Productions and Nicoline Greer
An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries