Waterford Central Library had a homecoming of sorts for Waterford-born author Aingeala Flannery.
Former broadcaster and journalist, Aingeala was there for a very special talk about her wonderful debut book ‘The Amusements’ – a darkly funny, astutely observed, vivid love letter to Tramore.
The book follows different Tramore families over the years as they grapple with betrayals, disaster and petty grievances.
Speaking with Senior Executive Librarian Mary Conway, she spoke about the genesis of her first novel, and the influence of her Waterford connection.
Aingeala regaled the audience with tales of Tramore, writing, and story-telling.
She said: “With Tramore I didn’t need to do a huge amount of research. My mam lives in Tramore, I spend a lot of time down here.
“Because my mother lives there I spend a lot of time on my own walking around there and that kind of gives you the position of the observer, of being outside but understanding what you’re seeing.
“I don’t feel like a tourist, I was born in Waterford and lived here until I was 8 or 10. My family are all down here. So when I walk around I can feel like I’m a local but I’m not.”
When asked what specifically inspired setting the novel in Tramore, Aingeala spoke about a powerful short story by author William Trevor.
She said: “I read ‘Honeymoon in Tramore’ when I was in Tramore about eight years ago. I love William Trevor; I really think as short story writers go, he is the master of the epiphany and ‘Honeymoon in Tramore’ is a really good example of that.
“The epiphany is him realising the extent of the deceit, it’s so credibly vivid. I thought ‘no one’s ever written about Tramore. That can’t be true but in fiction.”
“You get that sense when you go into a town that a lot has happened here.”
Aingeala was the latest speaker at Waterford Libraries current series of talks with renowned writers. She touched on the importance of libraries in her own work, saying: “You know I love libraries. I’m on Libraries Ireland all the time. I always have 10 or 12 books out, I order them and pick them up from my local library.”
Speaking after the event, Mary said: “We were delighted to welcome Aingeala to Central Library and she told us many entertaining stories relating to The Amusements and gave a beautiful reading of her work to the enthralled audience.”
Aingeala’s “The Amusements” is available from Central Library and The Book Centre.