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About the Author:


The author, Nancy Chambers, was born in Dublin and moved with her family to Co. Clare during “The Emergency”, she left Ireland for Preston in England as a young adult.  She married Husband Bill in Coventry, has children Carrie & Alan and became a teacher in craft and design and now lives in Wales.



About the Book:


The story of life in the Burren during the war years as told by a nine-year-old girl, and especially her relationship with her Grandparents.



Sample Excerpts:


             Eventually we arrive at the crossroads, with very tall, over-hanging trees on both sides; and the dark shadow of the castle rising even higher still.  It was this stretch that people would talk about when they were referring to the banshee, and you certainly wouldn’t want to be there after dark.  Patrick and I seem to have one and the same thought, throw caution to the wind, and leave the dead goose to whoever might find it.  Although we aren’t far from home now, we might as well be on the far side of the moon, because nobody likes going through the crossroads especially at night time.





‘Well, anyone can paint a rainbow, but to get the fusion of colour, as you see it in the sky, needs a very special talent or gift; what really matters now, and in the future, is not whether you can paint it, but how it makes you feel inside.  Knowing you as I do, I believe that the beauty that you see all about you will always be reflected within you, because you allow yourself to see it with your mind and heart.’




             I used to sit quietly in a meadow and watch the skylark rise from her nest in the grass, and as it rose it started to sing, this to distract attention from her nesting place.   The singing would become louder and more beautiful, as it climbed up through the clouds, upwards and onwards until I could no longer see the tiny form, but could still hear her song.  I always felt a deep emotion and a sense of fear; this tiny bird must soon explode with the intensity and volume of her song, but the emotion was really a sharing of that same intensity, as my heart soared with it, until I thought that my own heart would not cope any more. Then came the sadness when I could no longer hear this heavenly sound, and felt that perhaps the bird had gone to Heaven itself and left me behind.  In the quiet as I gazed upwards, I realized that the little form was descending, swiftly, silently and very peacefully, to land unnoticed in her nest.





             When we return from Mass, Granddad looks at me and says, ‘I know you haven’t eaten yet, but Grandma would love to see you, as she is sitting up this morning. You can take your porridge through and sit on the bed, so that you can tell her everything before you open your presents.’

‘Oh Granddad, being able to be at Mass has been the best present of all!  Can I tell her that?’

He nods and says, ‘Yes, just tell her what is in your heart.  I think that is what she really needs to hear now.’  Seeing her sitting up in bed looking so frail, I am no longer in awe of her, and remember how she and Granddad had been in the trap at the seaside.  I want to be close to her and share my beautiful moments.  When I finish my porridge, I look at her face and realise that there are tears on her cheeks.  I’ve been given a napkin in case of accidents, and ask if I can dry her tears, but then she says she needs a hug too.  Now I know that the magic and mystery of Christmas is really working; I also sense that she will not be here for another Christmas.  Then she seems to brighten, and with a beautiful look on her face, which we haven’t seen for some time, she declares to everyone’s amazement that she would like to join us all for lunch.  Mum is happy too and relieved because she doesn’t need to prepare a special tray, and so we are all feasting together just like other years.  Grandma eats only a few morsels, but remains bright and chatty throughout; staying with us for a few hours, until she says that she needs assistance to go back to bed.  


The Funeral

















Tír na nÓg

Áine’s Diary


By Nancy Chambers


ISBN: 978-1-907107-28-3


Price:  €12.00/£9.99



The sun setting over Doolin,

as viewed from Rockville.


Nancy goes back to her roots in North Clare


A recent publication about life in North Clare as seen through the eyes of a nine-year-old girl has been described as a book with a timeless quality.
Tir na nÓg tells of hard work, spirituality, neighbourliness, how the Celts and times long past have shaped our lives today and of the natural, old-fashioned ways of life that create a sense of being and community.
The author, Nancy Chambers, brings herself back to her childhood days when growing in Rockville House, Ballinalacken, with her family, who had moved from Dublin during the war years. They moved in with Nancy’s grandfather, Thomas Chambers, who was the headmaster of the local school. He was married to Jennie Crowe from Kilfenora.
Nancy says her brother was involved with Gaelic football in Lisdoonvarna but within a few weeks of a family gathering in the Hydro Hotel in Lisdoonvarna, he died.
She could not put him to rest and sometime later met a friend, Philip Ward, from Wales. She told him where she grew up and that she needed to get back to her roots, just to put her brother to rest. She and Phil travelled from Wales to North Clare for a day but they could not make the return journey as planned because of weather conditions. They had a day to spare and when talking to Philip in the Falls Hotel, Ennistymon, she spoke about growing up in Ballinalacken. He said she should not be telling him, she should write it and this was where the book began.
As well as life in the Burren, Nancy also writes about the relationships with her grandparents. She describes how the world at war and how the resulting restrictions were felt over a long period of time. Many people visited her grandparents to share their worries, listen to the radio for the news updates and, as always, to have a cup of tea, a glass of sherry or a bottle of Guinness.
Nancy refers to learning how to look through the lens of a box camera and also talks about the meadow, the church, days in the bog, going hunting, the killing of the pig, summer drives to Kilfenora and the Celts and their origin.
Nancy left Ireland for Preston in England as a young adult and later married Bill. She became a teacher in craft and design and is now living in Bryncrug in Gwynedd, Wales.
Tir na nÓg was edited by Philip Ward, who is also living in Bryncrug. The book is available in shops in Ennis, Lisdoonvarna and Kilfenora or from the publisher, Choice Publishing and Book Services, Drogheda.

Delightful – beautifully descriptive.  I am thoroughly enjoying it.  Eileen from Nottingham.


A delightful and informative book about childhood memories.  Well written and most enjoyable reading.

Hilary from Frome.


I really enjoyed your book.  I felt I was reading my own childhood.  Audrey from Huyton, Liverpool.


I loved your poetic writing and wished we could go back to those simpler times. My favourite chapter was ‘The Goose’.  I would love to have seen some old family photos of the people you wrote about.  Congratulations.  Margaret from Kenilworth.


Áine’s attitude to life and her intense curiosity – wonderful.  The historical explanations to her – couched in terms that I thought a nine year old might have found difficult to fully understand.  Chapter 15 – I found this very moving.

Book Comments…..

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