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Saturday, June 09, 2012
An artist who has had solo exhibitions in Ireland and America, Angela runs a bed and breakfast.
"But I’ve always had an ambition to write," she says.
"I became fascinated in the Irish Diaspora, because American visitors are always looking for their roots.
"22 years ago I visited my Aunt Kitty in England, and she told me her family story. I took notes. I felt really bad for them all, but it was a while before I decided to write the story."
Once Angela started the research, it was all consuming. "Thanks to the internet, I could track my grandfather’s progress in America. My sister helped. We talked to people in Templemore too."
Who is Angela Byrne?
Date/place of birth: July 1, 1948/Kilkenny.
Education: Technical School, Kilkenny. "I left school at 15 and started work."
Family: Husband John, four children, and two grandchildren.
The Day Job: Running Celtic House and painting.
Hobbies: "I work out at the gym three times a week. I do a lot of lifting."
Favourite Writers: Jodie Picoult; Frank McCourt.
Second Novel: "It’s fiction, but based on my great, great grandaunt, Miss Fitzgerald, who was a pioneering woman. In the 1880s she emigrated to South Africa alone. She built a hotel there, and became wealthy.
Top Writing Tip: Write a little bit every day. Only if it’s only five minutes. "When I start I find it very hard to stop."
Not Forgotten. The story of an Extraordinary Irish Woman. New Island: €13.99. Kindle: €9.81
When Nora met Oliver in Manchester, she fell instantly in love. But back in Tipperary, marriage to Oliver becomes increasingly tough. His actions leave his family poor, broken, and ultimately scattered.
Kitty is one of Norah’s six children. The book shows her overcoming her bad start to become a tough independent woman.
The Verdict: Lovingly written. It will have echoes for many, who have been the victim of the Irish Diaspora.
— Interviewed by Sue Leonard
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