My Irish publishers Hachette are bringing out my fifth Finfarran novel on May 2nd and the Gutter Bookshop in Dublin is hosting its launch, with drinks provided by my lovely West Kerry neighbours, The Dingle Whiskey Distillery. So here's an invitation to join the celebration. Do, please, come along if you're in Dublin on May10th. Writing the Finfarran novels is always a joy but this one is special because its plot came about by sheer happenstance.
Only a year before we moved in, the site of the Dublin house that I grew up in was a field. Down the road, after the house was built and the developers had moved on, there was a scrubby patch of trees. They've disappeared now, under concrete and more housing. But when I was a child a spring rose in the scrubland, flowing briefly between two oaks and disappearing again among their twisted roots. I remember hours spent swinging out over the water on a rope tied to a branch, and
letting go at the crucial moment to land in squelching mud on the other side.That survival of the countryside, hemmed in by two roads, was a favourite playground for us local kids. We called it St. Bridget's. And at the time I never asked myself why. I don't know now if Bridget's name survives there. But I know that for thousands of years before I swung out across that water, people had come there to pray. It was the site of a holy well. Wells dedicated to Bridget are found all over the country. Sh…
Last September our TV signal went
down. We’d just travelled from Ireland to London, where settling into our two
room flat normally takes five minutes. Boiler on, yep we’ve got hot water. Fingers
crossed, deep breath, phew, the broadband’s still working. Stick a pizza in the
oven and watch an episode of Taskmaster.
Totally normal. But that night, we had a crisis. An ominous blank, black TV screen.
I should explain that our two rooms
are in an inner-city block, part of a former jam factory with an eighty- foot,
redbrick chimney that says HARTLEY in huge white tiles. In Ireland, our stone
house - two rooms again, plus a dodgy back kitchen - is up the side of a
mountain in the West Kerry Gaeltacht. It has a compost bin, ridges for growing
spuds in the front garden and apple trees, fuchsia hedges and gooseberry bushes
round the back.
Anyway, there we were in London with
no TV signal and, since I’m talking Freeview, with no chance of finding a human
being to set us right. So my husband spent…