My warmest thanks to everyone who ventured out in freezing weather to my book signing at Eason in Navan on December 11th. It meant a lot to me.
I lived near Navan in County Meath when I first moved to Ireland 24 years ago, and within days of arriving received a visit from a neighbour on the same country road, a very special woman called Dympna Dolan. Dympna immediately took me under her wing, sweeping me up into her wide circle of family and friends, soon declaring me her fifth ‘prodigal’ daughter. In the years that followed, Dympna was always a very dear friend to me, with her great warmth, generosity, humour, cheekiness and wisdom. She was as welcoming to visiting members of my family, especially my mother Mary, as she was to me.
I am very sad to say that Dympna died in May this year. With her family’s permission, I dedicated Hello from the Gillespies to her. Last night, three of her four daughters, her grandson, many nieces and grand-nieces, friends and neighbours came to my book signing, all of us wishing she was there too. We miss her very much.
Thank you to all the extended Dolan family, especially Emer, Deirdre, Ciara, Siobhán, Brión and Michael for always making me feel part of their family.
Thanks also to the lovely people at Eason in Navan – Denise, Sarah, Orla, Rachel and Eddie – for their warm welcome, and to Austin O’Neill for taking these photos.