I visited Limerick recently to give a talk at Limerick City Library…a most impressive library in a beautiful old building called The Granary. I hadn’t visited Limerick for quite a while. I was brought up near Limerick and went to boarding school there. I was very pleased to find the station hadn’t changed much. I used to catch a bus from there when I was at national school and a ‘day pupil’. The bus took me back to the country rectory that was home. It was somehow comforting to find that the old building was not that different after many years, though of course it has been renovated in places and looks more ‘modern’.
The talk I gave included information about a grand old house in a big country estate called Curragh Chase in County Limerick. My mother was the last child to be brought up there. Sadly the house itself burned down many years ago. But the beautiful grounds are now a Forest Park. And they are very cherished locally. Eighty people came to the talk. Thank goodness I had Mum’s lovely book to refer to. It’s called ‘In Ruin Reconciled: A Memoir of Anglo Ireland’ (Lilliput Press). I also read a wee bit from my novel ‘Ready Or Not?’ I was very grateful for the invitation to give the talk. And the Limerick visit was a real trip down memory road. I could, for example, remember being a teenager scouting for bargains in some of its shops…I sometimes went to dances and was thrilled when I found an attractive and cheap skirt! I also occasionally sold ‘gonks’ in one of the shops. ‘Sold a gonk’ appears occasionally in my teenage diary.
‘O’Mahony’s bookshop kindly ordered a number of my novels. I went in to sign them and had a great chat with a lovely lady who went to Villiers School many years after I left it. We even discussed a great teacher called Mr Griffin. I often used to quote him. “Mr Griffin says…” added an air of authority to teenage pronouncements. Easons in Limerick also very kindly ordered some copies of the books and I signed them too. Thanks Elaine! It was very special to visit Limerick.
Lots of love,