Author Maeve Binchy Dies Aged 72
Author and journalist Maeve Binchy (Photocall)
One of Ireland's best loved writers, Maeve Binchy, died last week after a short illness, prompting a massive outpouring of sympathy.
Tributes were paid by senior political figures, and from the worlds or literature and journalism.
Hundreds attended her funeral in Dalkey in south Co. Dublin on Friday.
Binchy was a global bestseller for her novels, but was also much admired in her home country for her columns in The Irish Times newspaper.
She wrote 16 novels, the first of which was Light a Penny Candle in 1982.
Two of her books, The Lilac Bus and Echoes, were made into TV films while Circle of Friends, Tara Road and How About You were made into feature films.
She wrote four collections of short stories, a play Deeply Regretted By and the novella Star Sullivan.
Tara Road was a pick of the Oprah book club which propelled her to even greater success in the United States.
In all, it's estimated she sold more than 40 million copies of her books in 37 languages around the world.
She had completed her final novel A Week in Winter shortly before her death, and it's expected to be published posthumously in the Fall.
President Michael D Higgins led the tributes describing Binchy as an "outstanding novelist, short story writer and columnist" who had engaged millions of people in many countries with "her fluent and accessible style".
"In recent years, she showed great courage and thankfully never lost her self-deprecating humor, honesty and remarkable integrity as an artist and human being," he said.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny described her as an national treasure.
"Today as a nation we are thankful for and proud of the writer and the woman, Maeve Binchy," Mr Kenny said. "She is a huge loss wherever stories of love, hope, generosity and possibility are read and cherished."
Minister for Arts Jimmy Deenihan said she had "immense intellect" and the talent to "observe the idiosyncrasies that make us uniquely Irish".
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said that she had a human touch, and until recently had still held court in village of Dalkey where she lived.
"While she was a national treasure with an international reputation, Dalkey was the place she called home and, up to very recently, nothing gave her greater pleasure than being out and about in the village, meeting friends and neighbors in local cafes and restaurants," he said.
Fellow writers paid tribute to Binchy with equal enthusiasm.
Colm Tobin said he brought self-deprecation to a fine art, but there was always irony behind it
"Maeve Binchy was one of those people that you were always delighted to see," he said,
"The more famous she became, it seemed to me, the wittier and the more charming and ironic she became too."
"Reading Maeve was like being with a good friend," said Booker Prize winning novelist Anne Enright,
"Wise, generous, funny and full-hearted, she was the best of good company on the page and off it."