Friday, May 4, 2012

Irish Artists of Extraordinary Talent




Molly Algood by Helen Tilston (original oil on canvas)
Living in North America and being exposed to art and literature from many cultures I am sometimes not as current on Irish literature and the arts as I would like.  My youngest brother Thomas, living in Dublin, is an avid reader,  patron of the arts and is knowledgeable on music of all genres.  His gifts to me are usually books or CD's.  He is always so excited to tell when he attends a book signing, concert or  lecture of some up and coming artist.  A copy of Ghost Light by Joseph O'Connor came through my mailbox and I have just finished reading it for a second time.  I highly recommend it.

Set in Dublin 1907, a city of whispered rumours. A young actress begins an affair with a damaged older man, the leading playwright at the theatre where she works. Rebellous and flirtatious,Molly Allgood is a girl of the inner city tenements, dreaming of stardom in America. She has dozens of admirers but in the backstage of her life there is a secret.

Her lover, John Synge, a troubled genius, son of the once-prosperous landowning family, a poet of fiery language and tempestuous passions. Yet his life is hampered by convention and by the austere and God fearing mother with whom he lives. Scarred by a childhood of loneliness and severity he has long been ill, but he loves to walk the wild places of Ireland.  The affair, sternly opposed by friends and family is turbulent, sometimes cruel, often tender.

Many years later, an old woman makes her way across London on a morning after a hurricane. Christmas is coming.......
A story of love's commitment, of partings and reconciliations, of the courage involved in living on nobody's else's terms, Ghost Light is profoundly moving .

Edmund John Millington Synge


Edmund John Millington Synge (16 April 1871 – 24 March 1909) was an Irish play writer and poet. He was one of the founders of the Abbey Theatre. He is best known for his play "The Playboy of the Western World.
Synge suffered from Hodgkins disease  a form of cancer and at the time untreatable. He died just weeks short of his 38th birthday and was at the time trying to complete his last play, Deirdre of the Sorrows.


Author Joseph O'Connor



The Author is Joseph O'Connor
Joseph Victor O'Connor is an Irish  novelist. He is known for his 2002 historical novel Star of the Sea. Before success as an author he was a journalist with the Sunday Tribune  newspaper . He is a regular contributor to RTE  He is a member of Aosdana.


Joseph O'Connor has a sister of extraordinary talent, namely Sinead O'Connor 

 Sinead sings with Christy Moore - The Heart.   


 The Heart would make a good sound track for the Movie "Ghost Light"  My portrait I feel resembles my interpretation of  Molly Allgood .  I can wish to see it on a bill board.




Do you feel the O'Connor's have talent?  Have you read any of Joseph O'Connor's books?  Do you like Sinead's voice?









62 comments:

  1. I love the colors in your art

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    1. Thank you kindly for your beautiful compliment.

      I wish you a weekend of joy

      Helen xx

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  2. Hello Helen:
    First, your portrait of Molly Allgood is so wonderfully poignant, not least for the way in which you have conveyed a somewhat wistful expression and the sense that the mind is, perhaps, somewhere else. She looks away from us, preoccupied with her own thoughts, and yet the simple stool and the plain, unfussy dress are, we feel, in direct contrast to a life which borders on the restless and the uncertain.

    Secondly, do we dare admit that we have not read any Joseph O'Connor? We, who pride ourselves on liking all things Irish and who read Irish literature avidly. How come we have not found him alongside Molly Keane, Jennifer Johnstone, William Trevor, etc. etc. Oh, dearest Helen, we are put to shame. Fly the Atlantic at once and educate us in the ways of that wonderful country which has, over the centuries, given to the world such creative talent.

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    1. Hello Jane and Lance

      Thank you for your observation of my painting of Molly Allgood.

      I do believe you will enjoy reading Joseph O'Connor's books. Ghost Light, set in Dublin and London transports the reader along the streets of both cities and the descriptions are vivid. In December 2011, he received an honorary Doctorate in Literature from University College Dublin. He is the winner of the Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Contribution to Irish Literature, 2012.

      How I wish I could fly the Atlantic and be with both of you this evening and I feel it is you who would be educating me.

      Fondest wishes

      Hele xx

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  3. This is one of your finest paintings, Helen; she looks wistful and sombre, yet fully self-contained. A beautifully evocative study. How one work of art begets another!

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    1. Hello Mise

      Thank you for your keen observation and how you so eloquently convey your views.

      I wish you a weekend of joy and sweetness

      Helen xx

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  4. Dear Helen:

    I love the sort of gifts your brothers gives you. And I like this book just from your description, it is the sort of thing that transports one to another time into someone else' life. The more I have to do at work the more I crave being transported. I love your impression of Molly. Wishing you a delightful weekend from us three.xxx

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    1. Hello Mona and friends

      Thank you for the kind words and good wishes. Like you, I love to read, but never as much as I would like.

      Wishing you a weekend full of joy


      Helen xx

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  5. Dear Helen,
    Sinead's voice is so romantic and soft..she sang the song so well.
    How great it would be that your most stunning painting of Molly Alwood could be on the pages of a new film presentation of "Ghost light".
    I must confess i do not know Joseph O'Conner.. The story sounds so intriguing.. i think i must try to buy it. You took me to that place in time Helen. I could imagine the sorrows of both of them. Set during very hard times. Love does ascend all things..I do believe.
    Most enjoyable post.
    best wishes for a happy weekend.
    val

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    1. Hi Valerie

      I agree, Sinead voice is heavenly. It is one of those voices that seems not to need words to convey her thoughts. Valerie I think you would like the book too. Yes the times in our history were difficult, they differed in religion. I believe you will like O'Connor's work. He is a writer of great talent.
      Hope you have a sun filled weekend
      Thanks for your comment, I always love to hear from you both here and on FB

      Helen xx

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  6. Helen,

    The portrait is captivating:so deep and thoughtful. The colors are gorgeous.
    I have not read O'Connor, but I think I would like Ghost Light. I love books that take place in different times and places.

    Jen

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    1. Thank you Jen for your kind words. The model wore a velvet dress which picked up light from several sources beautifully. She is the perfect model with porcelain skin, void of make-up. I love the way she held her hands. She cocks one finger.

      I think you will enjoy reading Joseph O'Connor's work.

      Have a glorious weekend.

      Helenxx

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  7. Dear Helen,
    Your painting of Molly Allgood is perfect ...... when they run another print of 'Ghost Light' , it should be the cover. Tell the publishers that Jackie said so !! You have captured her beautifully.
    Have a lovely weekend Helen and keep those paint brushes busy.
    Much love. XXXX

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    1. Hello Jackie

      I should have known you would be connected with the publishers of Ghost Light! Friends in high places is always a good thing.

      Thanks for your kind words on "Molly Allgood" That would be a wonderful honour to have my art on a book cover.

      Hope you have a wonderful weekend and hope your garden is blooming. Keep your knees dirty

      Helen xx

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  8. Hello Helen, One of the things I love about reading other people's posts is that it introduces you to new experiences. I have not read the writers you talk of but like you, love the haunting tones of Sinnead O'Connor. Now I must find and read! Jane xx

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    1. Hello Jane

      I am like you and have read several books and viewed movies on fellow blogger's recommendations. My brother is very selective. I love when he recommends a book or movie or piece of music.

      I have been watching Sinead and love when she sings with Christy Moore, formerly with Planxty. She was a fan of his from a young age and there is a trust and magic when they perform.

      Have a glorious weekend

      Helen xx

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  9. Oh, you'll have me heading for the bookstore as soon as I get home! Thanks for the recommendation...I can always use a haunting romance :)

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    1. Hello Becky

      I think you will like Ghost Light. The "ghost light" is a light or lamp left onstage in a theatre when the rest of the lights are dark. It is typically “a portable, naked bulb mounted in a wire cage on a light standard.”

      I will look forward to hearing your thoughts.

      Have a beautiful weekend

      Helen xx

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  10. Your painting is stunning, nerves of steel under a calm demeanor…
    "Ghost Light” sounds intriguing. Definite next on my list. Should you get the occasion, "Defendind Jacob” is not to be missed. So different...
    Oh Helen, I have missed your peaceful presence on my blog and PLEASE know that you did NOT offend me in ANY way. Quite “le contraire”, I once again realized how important it is to live in the moment…guilt is such wasted energy. "Regrets or wishes for what could have or should have been are a complete waste of time because you cannot, no matter what, put these thoughts into action."
    You actually opened my eyes and held my hand through the discomfort :) I could not have done it without you. I needed you to know this.

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    1. How lovely to have your visit and thank you for your kind words. I also thank you for your suggesting Defending Jacob.I shall put it on my list.

      I am relieved and delighted that I was of some small help in commenting on your blog.

      I love your blog and always look forward to reading all about your beautiful Basque area and one day I shall visit.
      I will be visiting your blog very soon.
      Hugs

      Helen xx

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  11. Hi

    "Molly Algood" is really really fascinating! I'm so impressed with her posture, expression on her face, and the colors you've used! This painting must be your masterpiece!! I so love it!

    "Ghost Light " sounds very interesting! I've once read his "Star of the Sea". I'd love to read his new book!! Thanks for the nice book review.

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    1. Hello Sapphire

      Why thank you for such kind words on "Molly Allgood".
      I always think that my next painting will be a masterpiece and the work and journey continues for constant and never-ending improvement.

      I am delighted to hear you read "Star of the Sea". The story stays long after the book is closed. I preferred Ghost Light

      Wishing you a delightful weekend

      Helen xx

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  12. Hello Helen... If you had asked me about Brendan Behan and the Irish Theater, I would have probably known a lot more, as I have written over 180 pages about the subject. I am not an expert on J.V. O'Connor, though I would like to read some of his works.

    As far as Sinead is concerned, I always thought she was a fantastic, talented singer and artist, in general. Sinead O' Connor, unfortunately, let success go to her head. Something happened... she became a "priestess" and lost herself, along the way. What a shame! "Nothing compares to you" IS one of my favourite songs, though! It's truly beautiful and she does have a fantastic voice!

    Your painting is truly fantastic. I'll tell you what I like about it: you managed to paint a naked body and "describe" the way that body moves, though the woman is fully clothed and still. I "see" shapes "hidden" under that dress, which is gray and shapeless, possibly for a reason! The woman is very slender, her legs very long and the shoulders are turned towards the right, like her head. I can guess this woman moves gracefully (has the "posture" of a ballerina!)and is very refined.
    I am puzzled by her expression, though, as I can't see her eyes, Helen! Do you do it on purpose?

    Thank you for a very interesting post!

    CIAO!

    ANNA
    xx

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    1. Hello Anna

      You wrote 180 pages on Brendan Behan, I am very impressed. He had some marvelous expressions that are often quoted.

      It is interesting how talent runs in some families. I agree Sinead's voice is hauntingly beautiful

      Anna your observation on the model are quite accurate. She is very refined, soft spoken, well read, slim and toned. She has very feminine actions. Her little finger points naturally. I had wanted to paint from this angle and wanted the mystery to remain.(I try to remember the words of one of my art teachers - Helen don't tell all, leave mystery in your paintings)

      Anna, thank you for your delightful comments and wishing you a joyful Sunday. I am already looking forward to what's cooking in your world.

      Helenxx

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  13. I do love Sinead´s music and her particular voice, but I think it´s a pity how her life developed during the years. I didn´t know that her brother is an author. I don´t know neither Molly Allgood and her story, but your painting is beautiful in itself!
    Happy weekend to you,
    Marjolijn

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    1. Hello Marjolijn

      It is not widely known that Joseph O'Conner is Sinead's brother. It was actually a surprise to me (my brother met him on a number of occasions)

      Wishing you a glorious weekend

      Helen xx

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  14. Your Molly Allgood painting really speaks to me. Her expression, the dreaminess (probably not a real word but you get the meaning!), her clothing, the colors!Such a serene painting, I haven't read this author but I do like the voice of his sister. I fell in love with Ireland and its history when I visited there about 20 years ago.

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    1. Hello Sanda

      Thank you for your compliments on "Molly Allgood" the painting.

      Joseph O'Connor is a very talented writer and I feel he will gain more notoriety as he writes. He is highly regarded in Ireland.

      I think a return trip to Ireland is in order for you, 20 years is too long to be away

      Have a lovely weekend

      Helen xx

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  15. Helen...I so enjoy reading your posts. I often do not have a chance to comment but think of you often. This books sounds like something I would enjoy. I am not familiar with the author (shame on me with my Irish heritage and all). Sinead has a lovely voice...she has been having a tough time of it lately..I feel for her.

    I have to say...your painting is exquisite...you never cease to delight Helen.

    Very best wishes to you..

    Jeanne xx

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    1. Hello Jeanne

      Yes I do believe you would enjoy Ghost Light. The O'Connors are an enormously talented family.

      Thanks for your kind words on my painting.
      I fully understand how difficult it is Jeanne to comment on all our favourite blogs. I love hearing all about your travels and plans.

      Helen xx

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  16. Your painting of Molly looks beautiful Helen! I like the beautiful colours in which you painted her and the expression on her face.

    I am a bit ashamed to admit that I haven't read anything by Joseph O'Connor. Sorry! I do like Sineads music.

    Happy weekend!

    Madelief x

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    1. Hello Madelief

      Thank you for your approval of Molly. I loved painting and working with this model.

      I think you would like Joseph O'Connor's writing.

      Hope you have a wonderful weekend and that your garden blooms
      Helen xx

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  17. Oh Helen,

    I adore the Irish. Their music, their view on life, the countryside....everything.

    Sweet friend, thank you for visiting me. I had technical difficulties this morning but I am so happy to be back on line with you all. Blessings to you as the week approaches and Mother's Day will be observed. Ahhhh....she is always in my heart. Anita

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    1. Hello Anita

      Thanks for visiting. It is always a joy to see your smiling face.

      I would love to see you post, following a trip to Ireland. You would cast your magical spell on it and I know you would find many fairies and rainbows.

      Happy Mother's Day

      Helenxx

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  18. This book sounds wonderful, Helen... I am sure I would enjoy it. The Irish are a fascinating nation and one that I have little knowledge of... Your painting is most evocative and your Molly will be in my mind's eye as I read Ghost Light. xv

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  19. Hello Vicki

    You have mastered in understanding the ways of the French.Your writing and books illustrate this so beautifully. I feel now that Ireland awaits you and would embrace and welcome you. Oh what beautiful images you would find there and you would find the heart and soul of the country. What a delightful thought.

    Wishing you a beautiful weekend

    Helenxx

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  20. Hello Helen,
    I am so pleased that you visited me, as this has led me to your wonderful talent and knowledge! The painting of Molly is truly beautiful - I love how it has an air of melancholy about it, but she still remains beautiful, serene and thought provoking - really lovely, and the colours are perfect too!
    I am not familiar with the works of Joseph O'Connor - although I am now eager to explore. Sinead O'Connor on the other hand, I have long been a fan!
    Great post. Delighted to have met you, and look forward to coming back for more.
    Paula x

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    1. Hello Paula
      A big hearty and warm welcome to you. I thank you for viewing and observing my painting of Molly Allgood.

      Set in Dublin and London, O'Connor has a way of taking us along and transporting us to those cities.

      I am thoroughly enjoying reading your blog. Glad to find you.
      Helen xx

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  21. Hi Helen. Thanks so much for your lovely comment and following my blog. I love Irish authors as well and have not read any of his books yet. Sinead, on the other hand has a gorgeous voice and I am a fan for sure. Your painting is wonderful Helen.

    Veronica

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  22. Hello Veronica and may I extend a warm welcome to you.

    Joseph O'Connor has mastered the art of the pen, as his sister has her voice. I think you will like him.
    Thank you for your compliment on my painting.

    Helenxx

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  23. Hello Helen,
    Thank you so much for becoming my newest follower, it's spurred me on just at a time when I was considering not blogging anymore.
    I am going to enjoy reading through your posts....
    Thanks again,
    Essie x

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    1. Hello Essie

      Oh please do not stop blogging. You would disappoint so many of your loyal followers.

      A big warm welcome to my blog and here to many more visits.

      Helen xx

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  24. Ghost light sounds like a wonderfully atmospheric read - something to lose oneself in. And I adore your beautiful painting - the sitter is lost in another world and the background gives the whole thing a wonderfully dreamlike quality and draws the viewer in. Thank you for sharing this!

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    1. Hello Mrs. Exeter

      Thanks for your kind words and beautiful compliment. I did enjoy painting this portrait and it went smoothly.
      Hope your weekend is very special

      Helen xx

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  25. Helen, I just had to let you know what a comforting and uplifting gift your comment was to me. It was so sweet and brought such a smile to my face...thank you, I've missed you as well! ♥
    Your paintng of Molly is absolutely beautiful! There is so much emotion and feeling, one can almost tell her whole life story just by looking at it. I think this might be one of my favorites. The story sounds intriguing, and the fact it's true, makes it even more so...I'll definitely be looking it up.

    Those O'Connor's are something else! I'd love to have one little drop of the creative juice that runs through their veins (and yours!).
    Blessings...
    xo J~

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    1. Hello Jessica

      It is lovely to see you back blogging again.

      Thank you for your observations of Molly.

      You have just as much talent as Sinead and Joseph O'Connor and I know your students would support me on this too.

      Have a wonderful weekend

      Helen xx

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  26. Helen that must be my favourite painting of yours thus far! It is absolutely stunning!

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    1. Thank you very much for your support. Such words coming from such an accomplished artist such as you are, make me feel very happy.

      Wishing you a sunny weekend

      Helen xx

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  27. Hello Helen, oh my goodness the book must have really moved you to create such a beautiful portrait, it is wonderful. I haven't read any of Joseph's books, but I will! I love Sinead's voice as does my husband, such a creative family. Thank you for bringing these things to our attention. Lots of love to you, Linda x

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    1. Hello Linda

      I love getting caught up in a good story Linda and my imagination runs wild. I think you will enjoy reading Jospeh O'Connor's work. It is not always happy reading, but he writes beautifully. Sinead is very accomplished artist too.
      Hope you have a sunny weekend

      Helen xx

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  28. Your painting of Molly takes my breath away Helen.
    Beautiful.
    xx

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    1. Thank you for your sweetness and kindness.
      This makes my day

      Helen xx

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  29. Helen, your painting of Molly Algood is my favorite of yours so far! So serene in mood, yet exciting in palette and composition. And thanks for letting us view it large! Ghost Light sounds like a book worth reading, and one that gives a good sense of place. And what a place! I love Ireland!
    Happy Mother's Day, Helen :)
    xx
    dawne

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    1. Hello Dawne

      A very happy Mother's Day to you.

      I am happy to read you love Ireland. It is magical. Thank you for such support of my art and blog.

      May your weekend bring sunshine

      Helen xx

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  30. Hello Helen - how wonderful to have found your blog after you visited mine. I shall certainly be adding "Ghost Light" to my shopping list after reading these very interesting background notes on the real life characters. I've been meaning to try Joseph O'Connor's books and now this will get me started. Also admiring of your beautiful portrait of Molly Allgood. (BTW I've left a reply to your comment back at mine.)

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    1. Warmest of welcomes and thank you for following my blog.
      I have visited and thank you for your comment.
      I am sure you will enjoy Joseph O'Connor's writing. He is fairly prolific. I will be interested to hear your review when read.

      My best for a sunny weekend

      Helen xx

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  31. Wow, you write a great book review my friend!
    I'm intrigued...
    The portrait you painted is quite amazing, YOU are quite A mazing!
    I hope you send this post to the author, it's quite a tribute.
    Love always,
    Terri

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    1. Hello Terri

      Thank you for your kind words.

      That is a good idea to contact the author, but I am somewhat shy to do this.

      Hope you have a relaxing weekend or are you biking again>

      Helen xx

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  32. What an interesting post Helen, The book sounds well worth reading, and your portrait of Molly Allgood wonderful.
    Amazing how talented some families can be - I have not heard of the author, but of course have heard of his sister! You wonder whether it is some inheirited gene for giftedness and creativity, or one of hard work and determination, or whether it is the upbringing and influences of their parents and those around them - a bit of all those things I suspect.
    Thanks for sharing this Helen, and have a happy weekend.

    Gill xx

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    1. Hi Gill

      You raise a wonderful question about the inherited gene. Like you I believe with voice that one must be born with the gift and then work hard and likely the same with writers. Discipline and hard work are needed. Their father played a big part in their lives (according to Joseph).
      It is curious that it is not publicly known that Joseph and Sinead are brother and sister.
      Hope the sun is shining in England. Thanks Gilly for your validation of my paiting.

      Helen xx

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  33. Interesting post and I learned a lot I did not know! Thank you!!! Cathy

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    1. Hello Cathy

      Thanks for stopping by. I am pleased to hear you have learned some.

      My best

      Helen xx

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