The History Detectives at the Mountains to Sea Festival

I had a wonderful time in Dun Laoghaire, at the Mountains to Sea Festival talking to lots of great kids, in a packed Pavilion Theatre, about writing and researching history.

My partners in crime were writers Brian Gallagher and Nicola Pierce. Get three writers together talking about one of their favourite topics and it’s going to be fun, revealing and crazy.

We went off for a long lunch, still chatting madly and did it all again with another session in the new DLR LexIcon Library.

Lots of great events on, so check it out if you get a chance!

Marita, Brian Gallagher and Nicola Pierce

Marita, Brian Gallagher and Nicola Pierce

Mountains to Sea 1

Grainne Clear, Marita, Brian Gallagher, Nicola Pierce and Sarah Webb


Today FM’s Facebook post on Under the Hawthorn Tree

I’m not on Facebook myself but heard through my kids that Today FM has posted the original cover of my book Under the Hawthorn Tree on their Facebook page asking who read it as a child. I am delighted with the huge, positive response to the post. Would you believe it, I wrote the book twenty five years ago!

Original Irish cover by Donald Teskey

Original Irish cover by Donald Teskey

It was written for my own children with little thought of it getting published. I’m mad about history and wanted to tell the story of Ireland’s Great Famine, in a way they would understand. I heard of three small skeletons from the time of the Famine being found in a field, buried under a hawthorn tree. Suddenly I had a story and Eily, Michael and Peggy and their baby sister were on the page, and I couldn’t stop writing. It was crazy as I wrote the book in 12 weeks. My own son was only a baby and I was still doing night feeds and life was pretty hectic.

I sent the book to a publisher and well…talk about luck!

I am so eternally grateful to everyone who has read the book, bought the book, passed it around their families, and used it in their schools. It is still being read by lots of children and readers of all ages around the world. My original readers are now reading it with their own kids. It is a very special book and enabled me to work as a writer. I am so proud of Under the Hawthorn Tree and its amazing 25 years!