Paula likes ‘inventing’ places.
Skelleen is a village in Connemara, County Galway. Well, no, actually, it isn’t – because I invented it, mainly for my Irish Intrigue story, although it also had a few mentions in Irish Secrets. However, it wasn’t a complete invention. In fact, it’s an amalgam of a couple of Irish villages. Although I knew where I wanted Skelleen to be situated, I needed it to be somewhat larger than the village in that position which has a population of only about 200. So I ‘combined’ it with another larger village about 20 miles away (in County Mayo).
|First village, in Connemara|
Second village, in County Mayo
The ‘Now and Forever’ house in the story was a figment of my own imagination, a grey stone cottage with two storeys – but the idea came from The Quiet Man cottage in the Mayo village, where we saw Maureen O’Hara’s signature in the guest book (and if you’ve read Irish Intrigue, you’ll understand the significance of that!).
|Slightly blurred, sorry, but the signature is on the bottom line!|
Blending factual places with your own imagination can be useful because you have carte blanche to add/delete whatever you wish - as long as you stay true to the character and atmosphere of the place. Obviously, you can't add a tattoo parlour or a strip club to a village like this, but I did add a children’s playground at one end of the village, and the children’s school in my story wasn’t anything like the schools in either of the villages.
But, in one of the villages, there was a bridge spanning the point where a small river reaches the head of the lough (pronounced 'lock' by the way!), which I mentioned several times. Anyone who is familiar with this area of Connemara will probably know which lough I called Skelleen Lough (even though it isn't even called a lough in 'real' life!).
|The view of the river and lough from the bridge - |
and that low cloud was a rainstorm moving up the lough toward us -
we watched it approach and then got soaked as we ran to the pub!