Posts Tagged ‘Co Clare’


A car park in Co Clare, 2003. #francesmacaulayforde


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The Sweater Shop, Doolin, Co Clare, 2003.

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Two things;  ‘Philomena’  is a truly wonderful film offering insight into the ‘Ladies of the Laundry’ also known as the ‘Magdalene Sisters’  presented with humor underlined with the awful truth and William Wall well-known writer and member of the Munster Literature Centre who recently wrote of the McAleese Report, have stirred a memory.

The girls/women have fascinated me since my 14 months in Ireland when I actually met a ‘Lady of the Laundry’ during a lunch break from an inspiring workshop weekend meeting with Jessie Lendennie of Salmon Poetry  fame.


Cliffs of Moher with Jessie Lendennie and her beautiful dogs.

Jessie took me to a favorite haunt, a little coffee shop called ‘Stonecutter’s Kitchen’, up near the Cliffs of Moher in Co. Clare, just down the road from her place.

On a beautiful sunny day, with a brisk breeze blowing off the cliffs, we chose to sit outside in the small sheltered garden, crammed with tables and others who wanted to soak up the sunshine.  Jessie and I are ‘pet’ people and when a sweet little dog came over to say hello we both made a fuss before her 40+ owner  (we’ll call Mary) came to apologize for the delightful intrusion. Naturally, we started chatting.

When ‘Mary’ found out we were writer and publisher, she told us she loved poetry having recently learnt to read and write. My curiosity and writer-ly instincts kicked in and I probed wanting to know why this woman had only recently acquired this skill,  but Mary didn’t mind and willingly told us she was a ex Laundry girl with a dream to one day have something published.

Gobsmacked, I fell silent suppressing the lump in my throat which threatened tears.  Although Jessie kept talking a bit longer, I could find no more to ‘chat’ about.  The sun seemed to go behind a cloud and  I was consumed with what I’d heard and seen on film and busy mentally equating those impressions with the reality, standing so seemingly innocent in front of me.

‘Mary’ must have thought me so rude… I remember wishing her luck with her dream but wish I’d asked her name so I could look out for the book.

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Stephen Page

Author: The Salty River Bleeds, The Timbre of Sand, Still Dandelions, A Ranch Bordering the Salty River. Alum: Palomar College, Columbia University, Bennington College. Follow on twitter @SmpageSteve on Instagram @smpagemoria on Facebook @steven.page.1481

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