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My Nana’s Voice by Alicia McMahon

kEveryone knows I’m from Foynes, it’s something I’m especially proud of, so when I heard through the Mount Trenchard group that Alicia McMahon had written a book, I hopped on over to Amazon to indulge myself. Oh my God, you have to read her book (her second), My Nana’s Voice.

In it, she gives a deeply moving and wide-ranging view of life in a small river-port town in Ireland, and her personal experiences as a teenage immigrant, first in London and later in America. It’s one of those books you read in one sitting, it’s just not possible to put it down!

Alicia was born in Foynes, around the same time I was leaving for Dublin. She attended Mount Trenchard, and was bitten early by the travel bug. She chronicles her life in a warm, witty voice, bringing the reader in.

She talks about a different Foynes to the one I grew up in just a decade earlier, so it was fascinating for me to read about the social and economic changes brought about by the recession.

Alicia’s family were socially prominent in the parish. Her grandparents owned the prestigious Shannon House on Main Street, and they added significantly to the legacy and tradition of the hotel.

The Shannon House was a major landmark in the parish, one of two hotels originally established by Síle Walsh’s and Tina O’Connor’s great grandfather. Beth McLaughlin Becker’s family owned the Hotel in the late 70s, bringing their own uniquely American character to the place. Another book, perhaps?

Mrs. Murphy, widowed early, was highly regarded by all, her sons were exceptionally handsome, and her daughters were exceptionally beautiful – as are her grand-children and her great grand-children. Vicky Murphy can attest to this!

I laughed, I cried, I lived through her story with her. A wonderful writer, I look forward with great anticipation to her next book!

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