Ireland loses a national treasure – Maeve Binchy

The world today lost one of its truly great authors in Dubliner Maeve Binchy.

Her death sparked this tribute from Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny: “We have lost a national treasure.”

How right he is.

Binchy was famous for her warm stories about life and love in Ireland. She sold more than 40 million books worldwide and some of her work was adapted for screen, including the 1995 film Circle of Friends starring Minnie Driver and Chris O’Connell.

The best way I can sum up an author whose works fascinated me throughout my life is to reproduce what she wrote about herself, her childhood, and how she started writing:

‘I was lucky enough to be fairly quick at understanding what was taught, but unlucky enough not to be really interested in it so I always got my exams but never had the scholar’s love of learning for its own sake. And even though I was fat and hopeless at games, which are very unacceptable things for a schoolgirl, I was happy and confident. That was quite simply because I had a mother and a father at home who thought I was wonderful. They thought all their geese were swans. It was a gift greater than beauty or riches, the feeling that you were as fine as anyone else.

‘My mother hoped I would meet a nice doctor or barrister or accountant who would marry me and take me to live in what is now called Fashionable Dublin Four. But she felt that this was a vain hope. I was a bit loud to make a nice professional wife, and anyway, I was too keen on spending my holidays in far flung places to meet any of these people. The future leaders of society did not holiday on the decks of cheap boats, or work in kibbutzim in Israel or mind children as camp counsellors in the United States. She abandoned this hope on my behalf and got great value out of my escapades in foreign parts. I wrote marvellous long rambling letters home from these trips, editing out the bits they didn’t need to know, bits about falling in love with highly unsuitable foreigners. In fact my parents were so impressed with these eager letters from abroad they got them typed and sent them to a newspaper and that’s how I became a writer.”

Maeve Binchy 1940-2012.
Thanks for the memories. Rest in Peace

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