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Donna Fletcher Crow

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Donna Fletcher Crow (US) is the author of forty-some books, mostly novels dealing with the history of British Christianity. She is the author of The Monastery Murders series; The Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series; The Elizabeth & Richard literary mysteries, GLASTONBURY,A Novel of the Holy Grail and more.

Fay Sampson

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Fay Sampson (UK) is a writer of adult and children's fiction and non-fiction, including A MALIGNANT HOUSE, #2 in the Susie Fewings series, a British Crime Club Pick.

Stories from the Landscape, Fay Sampson in Ireland

By Fay Sampson ~ October 5, 2016

 I love walking through an evocative landscape and finding the stories that belong to it. 

Our holiday this year was in the village of Kinvara on Galway Bay in the west of Ireland. Our son and his partner have a traditional stone and thatch cottage there. Mark understands the things I love and took us on a walk to a Celtic hermitage.


The story begins at the castle of Dunguaire in Kinvara. It is said that King Guaire was feasting there on Easter day when the food was lifted from the table and wafted across the countryside. The king and his court followed. They were led to the hermitage of Colman mac Duagh, where the feast was spread before the hungry saint and his servant. Guaire was smitten with remorse when he saw the monks’ poverty and became a byword for generosity.


The path his feast followed is known today as Bohir na Maes – the Road of the Dishes. Mark led us along it, across a beautiful stretch of countryside like an alpine meadow. It ended below the limestone plateau of the Burren in a grove of hazel trees. Hazels are sacred in Celtic mythology.


There is the cave where Colman lived, a little stone chapel where pilgrims prayed and, of course, a sacred well for baptisms. 

But, as so often, so many people were attracted there by the saint’s holiness that he founded the larger monastery of Kilmacduagh some distance away. We went there too. It is now distinguished by one of those remarkable Irish high towers. This one leans like the Tower of Pisa. But if you look beyond it, to the hills of the Burren, you can see the dark patch of trees which shelter Colman’s hermitage.


I said in a previous blog that I was reaching out to a new form of writing. I am delighted to announce that I have a two-book contract with Darton, Longman and Todd for Prayers for Dementia and Prayers for Depression, to be published next spring. I have a high regard for DLT’s list and am very pleased to be on it.

But I haven’t abandoned fiction. My teen fantasy The Red Lizard is now available on Kindle.Skentyl is taking the test to be a Guardsman defending the Valley of the Unicorn. Instead, he kills an enemy scout from Morethek. He hears a conversation he should not and comes face to face with the Unicorn. Fydyha is a young Counsellor, sent into Morethek by the Lady, to her evil brother Gorvyn. She is bitten by one of his lizards and returns dangerously changed. Skentyl is thrown out of the Guard, but given a secret mission. He must break the spell and save Fydhya, before she kills the Lady.

Fay Sampson (UK) is a writer of adult and children's fiction and non-fiction, including A MALIGNANT HOUSE, #2 in the Susie Fewings series, a British Crime Club Pick.

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Reader Comments:

This sounds like a wonderful holiday, Fay. Thank you so much for sharing with us. Aren't the Irish high towers fascinating! And this one looks to be in perfect repair.
-Donna, October 5, 2016

Hi Donna
Great pictures of Ireland! What an interesting trip that must've been
I've just bought the latest Richard and Elizabeth- I haven't caught up with them for a while!
-Dolores , October 6, 2016

Dolores, thank you so much! I do hope you enjoy whizzing through London with Elizabeth and Richard--and Jane Austen.

Yes, Fay's adventures always sound like so much fun. Inspiration everywhere!
-Donna, October 6, 2016

Yes, the Celtic culture of the British Isles is something that has informed my writing for many years.It's rich in poetry, stories and evocative landscapes, as well as those marvellous Celtic saints. I've written about them at greater length in my book "Visions and Voyages", where the whole sweep of the Celtic Church is told through the lives of its saints.
-Fay, October 20, 2016

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