There’s a lovely piece in today’s Guardian about the Connemara region of western Ireland, which brought back some happy memories for me.
We spent a week in nearby Co Galway, which is basically just around the corner and in some peoples’ opinion counts as Connemara too, even though it isn’t (quite) shown on the map of the region in this article. The weather was wild, the scenery was spectacular, and our base on an island off the coast reached only by causeway was utterly magical. We too had views of the Twelve Bens (or Pins as they were introduced to us by the locals) and as for the stark white coral sand on the beaches and the many ruined farms and churches, well, you could hardly have asked for more inspiration for a ghost story!
Basically I fell in love with the place, so much so that I used it as inspiration for my Irish ghost story novel Gleams of a Remoter World. The mystical atmosphere and almost weirdly rocky yet beautiful countryside made for a great setting for the ruined church and vicarage – and their ghosts. And one of the very places that my fictional village of Kilveenan was based on features in this article. Step forward Roundstone, a small idyllic-looking harbour town of brightly coloured houses strung along the coast like beads on a necklace.
Of course, Kilveenan isn’t an exact reproduction of Roundstone and also includes features from other villages and locations along that coast. But it was lovely to see the picture of it again, and to read about another author who was inspired enough by Connemara to set her novel there.
By sheer coincidence I’m currently working on exactly this book, trying to re-write it from a bi-m/m romance into a more straightforward m/m romance while retaining the plot and atmosphere, so look out for news as I battle the rewrite gods to knock it into shape. And if you ever get the chance to visit Connemara, or any of the rest of Ireland’s wonderful west coast, then I can thoroughly recommend it, even if you don’t go on to write a book about it.
(I nicked the photo straight from the Guardian article, as my own photos of the area pre-date digital cameras (yes, really!) and aren’t easy to translate into something I can use on blog posts.)