Friday 2 December 2016

A triumph of positivity as life is turned upside down

JP Donleavy has every right to be bitter, but he has made the most of the hand he was dealt in life, writes Jerome Reilly

Published 21/08/2011 | 05:00

JP Donleavy at his home outside
Mullingar, Co Westmeath, last week. Photo: Gerry Mooney
JP Donleavy at his home outside Mullingar, Co Westmeath, last week. Photo: Gerry Mooney

JP Donleavy refuses to wear the horns of a cuckold. If there was a lingering sense of betrayal at his wife's grevious deception with two men, and two brothers at that, it faded long ago and now, in his 85th year, he is at peace.

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In fact, he is remarkably sanguine. His love for the two children he believed were his fruit remains undimmed. He is on good terms with his ex-wife, Mary Wilson Price, and with Finn Guinness, the man she took as a lover while married to Donleavy and whom she eventually married.

The unusual and, in its way, shocking tale of sexual shenanigans in the shadow of Levington Park, the 18th Century pile on the shores of Lough Owel in Co Westmeath, might have come straight from the pages of one of his racy novels -- tales once dubbed pornography but now acknowledged as classics.

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