Sunday 24 September 2017

Stories of the IRA and the Mafia, good wine, then football at 2am

JP Donleavy
JP Donleavy

Sophie Gorman

I first met JP Donleavy professionally. I was interviewing him for a production of 'The Ginger Man' being staged in Dublin's New Theatre in 1999. There was an unexpected accord.

I was a (reasonably) young arts journalist and couldn't help but be taken by this literary giant. I was admiring but not intimidated; his warmth prevented that. His liking me was more of a puzzle but he had an obvious natural curiosity.

We kept in contact and he invited me to visit him in his house in Westmeath. Somehow, it became that I was going to stay the night. I took the train to Mullingar and he was there waiting for me at the station. A sartorial vision. A well-pressed suit, a yellow silk cravat, a tweed cap. Every inch the country lord.

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