An Irish National Treasure

Written by Judi

December 1, 2023

Is it possible to feel an affinity with a place or community that you’ve never lived in or known? Thanks to meeting the remarkable Irish author Alice Taylor this year, I rather think it is.

Alice lives in the village of Innishannon, County Cork, where several generations of my family once lived. Any of the dozens of books Alice has written about past times in rural Ireland (School Through the Fields, The Village, Books From the Attic, The Nana to name a few) would endear its readers to this lovely place. But her warm welcome to visitors and her interest in their stories also draws people in and makes them feel a connection here. In my case my father’s family was very much on the wrong side of Ireland’s troubled history with Britain, yet still I felt welcomed.

“Write me a piece about what it’s like to come back to Innishannon”, she said unexpectedly when we met last summer.

“But Alice”, I protested, “I’m hardly ‘coming back’! My family left here 100 years ago, and this is only my third visit to the place!” She knew perfectly well that they also left under pressure, fearing for their lives. They were loyalists fleeing to Britain during the War of Independence in 1921.

But Alice is persuasive, and the latest edition of her local magazine Candlelight, published each Christmas, now features my article about my family’s past life in Innishannon, and my visits to the house where my father was born. Click Here to read it.


  1. Henry Pelham Burn

    Fascinating blog, Judi. I sunk into it as into one of those Irish bogs you read about. Totally absorbing. Can’t wait for the book to be available in the States.

    • Judi

      Thanks, Henry. Blogs and bogs! I hope you managed to claw your way out again.


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