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Posts tagged ‘Maeve Binchy’

“My Thoughts Exactly, Maeve!”

View from Ashford Castle, Cong, Ireland

View from Ashford Castle, Cong, Ireland

Today I thought I would post something for my favorite author ever, Maeve Binchy. She was the most popular Irish woman writer of all time and wrote books about the interactions of everyday people; just real people in real life. Maeve had advice about writing that I never forgot. Maeve passed away on July 30, 2012, but every year on St Patrick’s Day I write her a little something. 

Maeve’s advice on writing.

Write like you talk, it is your voice.

She also wrote scenes in her books that were conversations she had overheard. One day she was so engulfed in a conversation by two women on a bus that she actually got off the bus, where they did, and followed them so she could hear the end of the conversation!

She was an excellent listener.

I have been going through my emails and letters to file for family history and came across this email I sent to my sister on Wednesday, September 8th, 2010 at 5:31pm. I thought Maeve would enjoy it too.

J, the November date is good.  Will you be here a week? 

This weekend I made hamburger and hotdog buns, because we grilled out, cooked 21 servings of chili to put up and made two batches of pizza dough, because we ate pizza on Monday, and put up 20 more pounds of tomatoes.  I am trying to get ready for winter.

I slaved over the chili, soaking beans all night before hand and I have come to the conclusion that I don’t know beans about beans.  After soaking all night they were still hard, but I thought no problem because the six pounds of meat, with onions, green peppers, chili powder, paprika, tomato sauce and tomatoes will all cook down in the pressure cooker and the beans will soften up too. Wrong, I pressured the chili and it smelled so good, then when that was done I added the beans and just cooked them down like the recipe said.  For some reason because of the gas from the beans the recipe stated NOT to put them in the pressure cooker with the other ingredients.  The chili cooked down to nothing and those beans were as hard as ever.  SO then SB and I spent the rest of the day picking 3 pounds of cooked hard beans out of the chili!!!!!!!!!!!

I guess from now on I will use CANNED BEANS.  BUMMER!!!!!!,

The news of the day: Ghost hunters every year on the anniversary of a train accident in the 1860’s near Statesville, NC meet up at 430am on the train trestle where the train went over the trestle and killed 35 people.  Supposedly after the train accident a train conductor could be found on the track at this time of morning on the anniversary day, waving his lantern looking for the derailed train.  So ghost hunters have been showing up for years to see the train’s conductor.

This year was no exception.  A group of ghost hunters started walking the track one day last week at 430am.  Suddenly a real train came around the bend and since there is not a stop or anything else there, the conductor did not blow a whistle that the train was coming, nor was he looking for people on the track.  The ghost hunters were caught off guard and were running for their lives on the trestle.  Several jumped off the trestle when the train caught up to them and one man was run over by the train. He pushed his girlfriend off the trestle telling her “he loved her”  and then was ran over.  The others that jumped from the trestle are in intensive care with critical injuries, including the girl.  Now for several days there have been stories in the newspaper about how this episode will now become one of the ghost hunters legends too and they will be looking for the guy that got ran over.  Can you believe it? !!!!!!!!! 

The book for our book club meeting this month is “Serena” and I have never read a book that from the first page git-go, I disliked the main character. A new first!

The relationship among the characters is not believable either.  I am learning about the Smoky Mountain National Park developers versus the timber industry. The mountain families were run off their land or became lumber jacks making little to no money to timber the trees.  The depression was going on and they lived horrible lives because they could so easily be replaced.  I hope it gets better, although I am half way through it and so far I am not impressed.  It is a chore to read and I have to have it read by next Wednesday.

How is K feeling?  S’s wrist/arm has held up in the cast. Today was the back surgery on SB’s mom.  She is in intensive care and in pain, following the surgery and he is on his way to see her.  HMMMM…..  If you are in pain in intensive care when you are so doped up I say you are in a pickle.  Just my two cents worth.  More later. c

Well Maeve, I hope this email has given you a good laugh and something to write about today, because I know you are still writing and the stories up there might be a little too goodie-two-shoes for you! And, you might have a buzz in your head trying to strain to hear all the conversations down here! So I am making it easy for you!

PS I also am sending you a photo I took at Ashford Castle in Cong, Ireland. It is still the greenest country in the world!

Sincerely, Cady

Ring Around the Kerry

This is my last posting of 4, of the Going Green to Ireland Series.

St Finian's Beach

St Finian’s Beach

We are on a long circular stretch of road called the Ring of Kerry from Killorglin to  Kenmare. We are adding in the Skellig Ring, a twenty mile, bus free ring road, traveling out to Portmagee. Here we reach St Finian’s Bay, where we will staying at the Beach Cove B&B, owned by Bridie O’Connor.

The Beach Cove B&B

The Beach Cove B&B

She offers four comfortable rooms on Coomanaspic Ridge, overlooking the beach at St Finian’s Bay. We are welcomed by bright sunshine, but cool temperatures, and as we sit on her lawn bundled up in our jackets and wool caps to watch the world go by, there are people in the bay swimming. I guess if the sun is shining make hay or swim!  Later we travel around the entire Skellig Ring, and I like the antics of the puffins as well as the views of the Skelligs, two huge slate and sandstone rocks, seven miles from the shore.

The Skelligs

The Skelligs

Skellig Michael, the larger of the two, has a tiny cluster of abandoned bee hive huts clinging near the summit. The island was originally inhabited by ultra-pious, sixth-century Christian monks seeking isolation to get nearer to God. The smaller island, Little Skellig, is home to a colony of gannets (a large sea gull) protected by law from visitors stepping foot on shore.

The Beach Cove B&B is perfectly situated on the bay and is just down the road from the Skelligs Chocolate Factory. Yes, a chocolate factory on the tiny road around the bay! Inviting visitors in for a sample they proclaim their chocolates are “ never boring, always gorgeous, and sometimes a little different…..just like the Irish!”  Where else can you find dark chocolate, lime zest and pepper chocolates, I think?  I buy several different varieties for our road trip. Fabulous! Spending only one night here we move on the next day following the ring along the shore and then back to the bigger Ring of Kerry to Kenmare, a lovely little town where we stop for a look see and lunch.

Muckross House

Muckross House

Muckcross House Garden

Our last stop is the Muckross House, located on the small Muckross Penisula, located between Muckross Lake and Lough Leanne. Muckross House is a mansion built in 1843 for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, watercolorist Mary Balfour Herbert. With sixty-five rooms, expansive improvements were made in the late 1850’s in preparation of the visit of Queen Victoria in 1861. It is said that these improvements for the queen’s visit resulted in financial difficulties for the Herberts’ resulting in the sale of the estate in 1899 to Arthur Guinness, who wanted to preserve the dramatic landscape. In 1911, the estate was sold to William Bowers Bourn, an American mining magnate. In 1932, Muckross House and the 11,000 acre estate was presented to the Irish nation, and became the first National Park in the Republic of Ireland and formed the basis for the present day Kilarney National Park. The house and grounds are beautiful!  Be sure to take the cart ride out to the falls!

Last, but not least, I want to mention my favorite author, Maeve Binchy.  I picked up my first “Maeve” book in an English bookstore in Quebec, Canada, mostly because I thought she had the most unusual name. I went on to read every book I could find.  A novelist, playwright, short story writer, columnist, and speaker, she is known for her humorous take on small-town life in Ireland and her descriptive characters. I am inspired by her. Her novels have been translated in 37 languages and sold more than 40 million copies worldwide. She finished third in a 2000 poll for World Book Day. Binchy was raised Catholic and attended convent schools, but a trip to Israel affected her life and her career.  To quote Maeve.

“In 1963, I worked in a Jewish school in Dublin, teaching French with an Irish accent to kids, primarily Lithuanians. The parents there gave me a trip to Israel as a present. I had no money, so I went and worked in a kibbutz– plucking chickens, picking oranges. My parents were very nervous; here I was going out to the Middle East by myself. I wrote to them regularly, telling them about the kibbutz. My father and mother sent my letters to a newspaper, which published them. So I thought, It’s not so hard to be a writer. Just write a letter home. After that, I started writing other travel articles.”

Maeve went on to write and write. I love all her books, but I re-read every year, The Lilac Bus and Evening Class. My inspiration, is her book, the Maeve Binchy Writer’s Club, words of encouragement in letters from Maeve. To read about the Irish culture, Maeve Binchy, is the author for you! Sadly, Maeve passed in 2012 and is missed by readers everywhere.

For more information about Beach Cove B&B see:

For more information about the Skellig Chocolate Factory see:

For more information about Muchross House see:

For Information about Maeve Binchy see:

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