My Kildare Life: Interview with Rathangan author Seamus Kelly

The Monasterevin native talks about his favourite things about Kildare

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My Kildare Life: Interview with Rathangan author Seamus Kelly

Author Seamus Kelly

Seamus Kelly is a local author from Rathangan, born in Monasterevin. He published ‘The Maura Laverty Story — from Rathangan to Tolka Row’ in 2017.

Seamus was born in Monasterevin in 1955. His mother Bridie died when he was two and he was sent to live with an aunt and uncle in Preston. His dad Paddy Kelly, from Wexford, brought him back to Monasterevin to start school at aged five.

WHAT IS YOUR FIRST KILDARE MEMORY?

When I was seven my dad remarried and we moved to Rathangan to a Bord na Móna house on the Edenderry road as he was an employee. Thankfully, I made a very strong bond with my new mam Nancy (Riordan) who was a gem. I finished my primary schooling in Rathangan and went onto secondary in the De la Salle brothers in Kildare town.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT KILDARE?

There are many things I love about my native county. My role as a schools inspector brought me all over the county. I admire the varied local landscapes — the Curragh, the woods and bluebells in Killinthomas, the Liffey and the two canals. I love the flat accent and the way we have integrated people from many counties and many lands.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR IDEAL DAY SPENT IN KILDARE?

Giving a talk on Maura Laverty at her monument in Rathangan in the morning, having lunch in the Keadeen Hotel in Newbridge and then watching Kildare beat Dublin in football in St Conleth’s park in the afternoon. Gloating about the result, over a few pints, in Leixlip or Confey GAA would be a nice finish to the day.

FAVOURITE RESTAURANT IN KILDARE?

Da Vinci’s Italian restaurant and Beckett’s in Leixlip.

WHAT MAKES KILDARE UNIQUE?

The horse racing, the up and downs of football, the remoteness of the bog, the undulations of Curragh, the calmness of canals, the splendour of the big estates like Carton and Castletown and the presence of employers such as Intel, Newbridge Cutlery and the Kerry Group all ensure that Kildare is a great place to live, work and play.

HOW IS WRITING GOING?

I have given many talks and walks based on my four Kildare- focused history books; namely A Walking Tour of Leixlip, A Ramble in Rathangan, The Life and Works of writer BM Croker and my recent best-selling biography of Maura Laverty — cookery writer, novelist, playwright and broadcaster who was also a Kelly from Rathangan. My next project is a talk on Lady Louisa Connolly in Leixlip library at 7.15 pm on  January 17.