2024 Writing award now accepting submissions 

The Molly Keane House is located in the seaside village of Ardmore overlooking the bay. Her daughter Virginia Keane Brownlow has made the house available for aspiring, emerging and professional writers to attend workshops, masterclasses and retreats through the Molly Keane Writers Retreats, in a nurturing and inspiring environment where Molly Keane wrote her Booker-shortlisted novel -- Good Behaviour. 

At Molly Keane's House by Thomas McCarthy

When you lift the gate and walk down the steps into Molly Keane’s house in Ardmore you know you are coming down into a creative lair, into an eagle’s nest, into a writer’s heaven. I descend into a pillow of voices, an atmosphere that is thick with the scent of white roses, with the memories of some of the loveliest days of my youth. There is old Brigadier FitzGerald before me, happy to have another lost novel of Molly’s in his hand, impatient for Molly’s signature, impatient to get down to a right good gossip about the residents of the Blackwater valley; there is Hurd Hatfield, always hovering, ready to be charming or morose (depending upon whether a visitor remembers who he is), there is Hero, yapping, sniffling in Molly’s arms. But when you enter this house it is not just the place of personal memory: it is the house as a writer’s working space, the house as workshop where the work gets done. Here is a place to come to in County Waterford if you want to attend to the writer’s task. There is light for reading, spectacular light off the sea, but there are corners for hiding in, corners of memory where the ectoplasm of a poem or a story might grow into life. This house in Ardmore will always have a special place in my heart; an ambitious place, a place where to walk down the steps is to re-emerge into a clearing in the forest of mere general ideas, to reach an atmosphere where the task of writing becomes the great task of one’s life. ‘Writing is sheer hell,’ Molly agreed with my wife Catherine one afternoon long ago, ‘but it has to be done.’ There are few writers who carried the task of writing with such grace and determination as Molly Keane. She is a beacon and exemplar to all of us who wish to complete that one thing we were born to do: to write, for ourselves if not for others.  When I walk through this house now, remembering the voices, remembering her voice most especially, I am full of the hope that a day set aside for writing brings. You will feel it all too: the tack-room, the yard, the cut flowers, the waiting pen and paper.

                                                        Thomas McCarthy

Share this page

2024 Summer writing retreat now enrolling