Those with keen eyes who’ve read all my books might have noticed they usually contain a little throwaway reference to Munster rugby club. You might have wondered why. I’m pretty sure my editor just rolls her eyes when she comes across them, but lets them go anyway.
The reason why is quite simple. I need my husband to read the book, usually in its first draft so he can provide some early honest feedback. He’s a huge fan of Munster, so the reference to the club is just a little carrot to dangle before him and get him into reading it.
Munster, for those who aren’t sure, is one of the four provinces of Ireland (the others are Leinster, Ulster and Connaught). It’s the south-west corner, and contains my favourite county, Cork (along with Kerry, Clare, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford). Munster rugby club are one of the best in Europe, and way back in 1978 managed to beat the mighty All-Blacks. They were a team of amateurs then, but somehow their passion and pride allowed them to achieve the unthinkable. It’s said that although the stadium at the time held only 12,000 people, somewhere around 250,000 claim to have been at the match.
It was easy including a Munster reference in The Girl from Ballymor – the Munster fans often sing ‘The Fields of Athenry’ at matches. It’s actually a song about the famine, so an odd choice of song for a sporting club, but there you go. We visited Limerick, where Munster’s home ground of Thomond Park is, while I was writing The Girl from Ballymor. And we were back again for another match just over a week ago at the end of our most recent trip to Ireland.
With just 10 days to go now until The Drowned Village is published, I wonder if you’ll spot the Munster reference in that book! Post a reply here when you do.