Ballyferriter's bothántaíocht is 'absolutely fab'

Joanna Lumley gets the gra for West Kerry.
Joanna Lumley gets the gra for West Kerry.

A BOOK based around the heritage of a house on a Ballyferriter hillside has become the toast of London where a new paperback edition of The House on an Irish Hillside by author Felicity Hayes-McCoy was launched in Le Pont de la Tour recently. The event was attended by a glittering array of guests, including acclaimed actress Joanna Lumley.

The book explores the happenings in a house where people would gather and share stories in the time honoured tradition of bothántaíocht, along with documenting Felicity Hayes-McCoy's childhood in Dublin, her first experiences of béaloideas (as an Irish student living with the Hurley's in Cill Chúile), her career as an actress and writer in London and her return visits to Corca Dhuibhne where she settled down 12 years ago.

Today, Felicity and her composer husband Wilf live in the house which inspired the book, the former home of Neilí Mhuiris Ní Chonchúir and 'An Mairtíneach'.

"The house was first built in 1911 overlooking Baile an Fheirtearaigh; Neilí Mhuiris Ní Chonchúir and her mother Bríd were the first to live there," Felicity said. "Neilí married Paddy Martin, who was known an 'An Mairtíneach, and the house became a centre of bothántaíocht. Paddy was a renowned storyteller while Neilí was known throughout the region for her hospitality. It has a wonderful history and heritage as it was a place where people would congregate to share stories."


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