The children’s author and husband of the late Maeve Binchy talks to Kay Doyle about their wonderful life together.
“When I read her writing, I can hear her voice and feel she is back with us again, in all the vivacious joy she created around her. In her words, in her many novels, short stories, plays and films, Maeve lives on – and always will.”
It’s hard to believe that it’s almost five years since the irreplaceable bestselling Irish author Maeve Binchy passed away. The doyenne of fiction writing will forever hold a place in the hearts and minds of her millions of readers around the world. Maeve Binchy cemented a place in Irish writing and created her own genre of warm, clever, character driven stories in her books, plays and short stories.
And while her very sad passing left a deep void in Irish writing, it is indeed true, as her beloved husband Gordon Snell has said, that through her work, Maeve lives on.
“It’s impossible to believe that it will be five years this July. Yes it gets very lonely sometimes but luckily I have family around me,” says Gordon, as we spend some time chatting about Maeve.
“Her sister Joan and her other sister Renee, when she was alive, and her brother Billy and his family all live close by and I’m very much a part of that family. I’m very close to her cousin Dan and Joy Binchy’s family and I go on holidays with them. I have some family in England too but I’m much more involved with the Irish family and friends.”
Gordon still lives in the Dalkey home that he and Maeve set up together in the eighties. It’s the home where they sat together and diligently wrote their books together. It’s the home where they entertained friends and family, decorated to their tastes and exuding character and creativeness from every room. It’s the home they saw as their sanctuary together and, even though Maeve is gone, Gordon says he is reminded of her every day.
“All her books are around and her pictures are here. There are so many memories, it’s almost as though she’s still around. I don’t feel that she’s completely gone from us.”
Born in May 1939, Maeve Binchy grew up in the small Dublin town of Dalkey, the oldest of four children. Educated at The Holy Convent in Killiney, Maeve was very popular at school – mainly due to her humour which often revolved around telling stories at her own expense – she was over 6ft tall and bluntly described herself as fat.
In later interviews, Maeve recalled how as a schoolgirl, she wholeheartedly had decided that it was her life’s ambition to become a saint, but that subsided later on when all that it entailed just wasn’t her style!