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Monday, October 8, 2012

Mary Lavin

Bective Abbey
I took to thinking about Mary Lavin in the last week or so, just fleetingly on and off.  I think it was the elusive white horse near Bective that made me think of her spirit and of my childhood.  Bective Abbey and Mary Lavin were closely related in my mind because when I would cycle down to the Abbey, like lots of children did then, to explore and climb while seeking adventure, her house was visible in the background.  It wasn't really that safe for us to be playing in the Abbey and I think my friend's younger brother broke his arm there at some stage.  The River Clady flows nearby through Wymes' Wood and in school the teacher read us some of Mary Lavin's stories.  One day a few of us pretended to be The Famous Five and snook into the wood to look for Clady Graveyard.
My mother remembered seeing the writer at Mass in Dunderry and she was an eccentric figure to the local people.  Mum said she rode a bicycle everywhere and there were stories of her just upping and leaving in her car to travel around Europe.  After her first husband died she married an ex Jesuit priest with whom she had been friends in her college days.  I suspect the stories we read in school were from Tales From Bective Bridge.  I have never read the stories nor any of her works since.  Perhaps I will seek out that collection.  And I must ask my parents more about the area and their childhoods.
Another story relating to her which I have stored away and which I really shouldn't be telling you now is in relation to my father.  Dad bought hay from her field in Bective one year, long ago, in the eighties and he said that a whirlwind went across the field.  It was a Fairy Wind, a Gaoithe Sidhe!

This year marks the centenary of Mary Lavin's birthday, 10th June, 1912.

1 comment:

  1. And strangers pausing on the hill,
    Mid shelter of a wood,
    Would scarce conceive where they delay,
    A peasant hamlet stood.

    "The Corpse at Clady Gate".