Wednesday, 1 August 2012


Lunch with Maeve recalled


Wednesday August 01 2012
A LUNCHTIME visit to family friend Maeve Binchy was recalled by one Kerry woman this week on the death of the writer.

"She was full of such real kindness, sincerity, enthusiasm and exuberance. I was really upset when I was told of her death on Monday night," Tralee resident Máiréad SMIDDY HEALY told The Kerryman.

It was Máiréad's mother, Dr Evangeline SMIDDY, a former GP in Ballyduff, who struck up a remarkable friendship with the writer through correspondence decades ago.

Maeve Binchy, of course, spent her childhood summers in the resort of Ballybunion where her parents first met.

"Maeve always rang my mother every New Year's Eve and had asked her to visit for lunch many years ago, but my father, Dr Tom SMIDDY would never go as he felt we would be imposing on her.

"However, after dad died in July of 2009, my mother became very sad and I cheekily wrote Maeve to see if she would mind if we took her up on her offer. She was delighted to hear we were coming and her hospitality and that of her gorgeous husband Gordon was incredible.

"I remember Maeve saying to my sister Patricia and I to talk with Gordon at one stage as she wanted Evangeline all to herself. That trip gave my mother such a boost. Maeve and she spoke at length and the one thing about Maeve was that she always listened, intently."

One fact Evangeline did not know at the time really displayed the author's extraordinary compassion.
"Maeve rang me the day before we went up to tell me that I was not to say it to my mother but that she was in the Blackrock hospital but would escape for our lunch date. She was amazing."


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