E. Reilly


The daughter of a Brooklyn fireman, I still bare the indelible mark left by my first trip as a teenager to Cavan, Ireland with my father. I have never since felt at home anywhere, so I made a literary home for myself in writing this book.

Many Americans have expressed this, and an equal number have been disparaged for being sentimental. But it is more. Much more. A clamoring, a yowl, a shriek of the soul when first arriving in Ireland that upon leaving may diminish, but yet remains inside oneself like a ghost shuffling around between the bones. Dim, lost but ever yearning.

And why not? I know my family lived in Cavan. We shared a way of thinking, speaking for generations, perhaps since the Ice Age! We were hard wired, just as Jews are Jews without having to be born in Israel. Even in diaspora, we are still Irish.

Why then was I surprised when my son Ben, never having been schooled in anything Irish, once told a tale spilling over with banshees, warriors and a wild boar? A tale that took place on a coast where he had never been, in which a young girl drew water from a well, the same well of myth and legend that in this book led us back to TirnanĂ³g.

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