Saturday 7 December 2019

'Although I got respectable marks, I wish I pushed myself more'

Classroom Confidential: Roisin Meaney

Roisin Meaney pictured with her book, 'Something in Common'. Photo by John Reidy
Roisin Meaney pictured with her book, 'Something in Common'. Photo by John Reidy

John Costello

Author and ex-teacher Roisin Meaney avoided studying like the plague, but still managed to do alright in exams.

We spoke to her about her school days and how Lolita floored her.

When you look at old school photos, do you cringe with embarrassment or beam with pride?

Neither embarrassment nor pride would cover it. I would never have said that my school days were the best days. I was a bit lazy and a bit anti-study [laughs].

Join the club!

In the evenings to avoid doing my homework I would listen to Radio Luxembourg and try to learn the alphabet backwards! But I did okay in my exams either by the grace of God or by pure luck.

What schools did you go to?

I went to the Mercy Convent in Tipperary town and then to the Salesian's school in Limerick. For secondary school I went to Laurel Hill Irish school in Limerick. So it was nuns all the way!

Were they very strict?

I don't ever remember them being that strict.

How would you describe your school days?

There were some good times. I loved hanging out with friends but mostly I just endured my school days.

Did you have any subjects that made the days more bearable?

English was always number one. I loved reading and writing stories. I was always secretly delighted when I wrote a new one but kept quiet about it because I would have probably been beaten up [laughs].

What were your favourite books?

Lolita was on the reading list for school and I was just floored by that novel. I also loved Brideshead Revisited and Wuthering Heights.

How did your parents react when the school report was sent home?

My parents never really gave out to me. They probably knew if I put my mind to it I could have done better but I did get fairly respectable marks.

But looking back on it now I do regret I did not push myself.

Roisin Meaney's latest book 'After the Wedding' is out now. Visit

Irish Independent

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