Getting to know a Granard writer

Extract from ‘Lagan Love’

Extract from ‘Lagan Love’

by Thomas Kiernan

‘I have to leave you know.’

‘Every party has to end, I suppose.’

‘My drinking has become a problem.’

‘In Dublin it might be a problem. Up here it’s an asset.’

‘Dead right, Archie, but my body won’t take much more. As for my head, just don’t ask.

Granard-born author, Thomas Kiernan, is set to return to his native north Longford for the launch of his second anthology, ‘Someone I Never Knew’. The event, which will be officiated by Noel Monahan, takes place on September 8 (Saturday) next at the Boomerang Lounge, Granard, at 9pm.

“Each of the stories has a similar theme running through them. The characters make painful discoveries in each story, e.g. in the title story there is a married couple living together. Aspects of the wife’s character are unveiled to him and he sees a side of her that he never saw before and he doesn’t like it,” said Mr Kiernan speaking to the Leader.

The 15 stories are situated in different locations throughout Ireland including Belfast, Kilkenny, Dublin and Longford. Mr Kiernan admitted that he often returns to Longford in his writing and recalls some characters he grew up with.

“My father always liked the local characters in Granard and I think I have inherited that from him,” said Mr Kiernan, a son of Tommy Kiernan of Granada Ballroom, and Rose (Cooke) of Bawn, Mullahoran.

A father of two, Mr Kiernan has lived in Kilkenny since 1984 and is married to Alice. Although he is involved in writers’ groups in that city, it was his six-year-period in Paris that set the creative flame alight within him.

“One day I was off work and I was wandering around the Latin Quarter. There I picked up a second-hand book. It was Oliver Goldsmith’s ‘Vicar Of Wakefield’. That same day, I also started talking to a couple. They were Americans and they were writers. They were very interesting people. I suppose a seed was sown that day,” said Mr Kiernan.

He added: “It was a long road to learn the craft though, and at times I wasn’t writing at all. There simply wasn’t time. Particularly when we had Tommy and Mairead.”

Most writers will agree that in order to be a successful writer, you must be a reader. Mr Kiernan agrees with this and among his most influential writers are Hemmingway, Cormac McCarthy and James Joyce.

“I’d always see something that says something in a way I like and I would try to see how they did that,” explained Mr Kiernan.

Working as a taxi-driver, Mr Kiernan is also a fan of folk music, singing and playing the guitar.

He said: “I like the vagabond culture that one finds in folk songs.”

Mr Kiernan’s first book, ‘The Hall And Other Stories’, was a collection of sketches based upon stories his father had told him and his family background. It was published 10 years ago.

His most recent work, ‘Someone I Never Knew’, was published by Galway-based publishing house, Sixth House.

“I’m hoping that this will open doors for future novels to be published,” said the aspiring novelist.