|Organization:||Irish Cultural Events|
|Location:||Buffalo, NY, USA|
|Biography:||I was born in Waterford, Ireland, on May 9, 1940, the day the Germans took Belgium during World War Two. From the time I was two years old, I was reared by Jim and Christina Fitzpatrick in Bagenalstown, (Muinebeag in Irish), County Carlow, a little railway town on the River Barrow. All the neighbors called me Vonnie Fitz. Jim was the foreman in the goods' department of the Bagenalstown Railway Station. I also lived with my Grandmother in Graiguenamanagh in the County Kilkenny, a medieval town situated on the Barrow, 70 miles south of Dublin. It was a time before television when only the doctor, hospital and a few merchants had telephones and cars. |
I write about the experience of living on a small isolated farm, outside the historic town of Graiguenamanagh. At dusk, I loved to watch the amber lights from the oil lamps, lanterns and candles wink on around the rolling hills.
My hope is to publish a little book of my stories about this special time when I lived in that beautiful place with my beloved grandmother.
As a child, I enjoyed writing my weekly school compositions in English and in the Irish language. When I was 17 years old, I went to Dublin and worked as a hairdresser for seven years. Then, I went to Paris, France, and was an Au Pair with two French families. I attended the Alliance Française de Paris to study French language and culture for one year. From France, I came to the United States in 1965. I now live in Buffalo, New York, where I have a three-generation family. I enjoy writing short stories about an event or a sitation in the family or the town and the colorful characters that make the story memorable.
My hobbbies include writing, food from around the world, cultivating my flower garden, collecting hand-made lace and giving presentations on the history of Irish lace and the role it played during the Irish potato famine of 1845-1849.
I work as a grant proposal writer for not-for-profit organizations. I also work as a care giver to seniors in their homes.
I am a frequent contributor to The Buffalo News, Buffalo, NY., CelticLife Magazine, NS., Canada, Ireland's Own Magazine, and The Carlow Nationalist, Ireland.
Three of my stories are in the book titled: Graiguenamanagh Families: A Trip Down Memory Lane," published by the Graiguenamanagh Historical Society in 2006. One of my stories in the Graiguenamanagh book received honorable mention in the 2006 Writer's Digest Writing Competition for my memoir "Christmas in the Village of the Monks." I also received honorable mention in the 2005 Buffalo News Writing contest for "Take Me Home to Moscow," two other cash prizes on ourecho web site. In 2009, I received honorable mention in Writer's Digest 78th annual competition for "Two Saturdays in March," and I was one of three top winners in ArtVoice newspaper, Buffalo, NY for its Valentine's Day true love story competition for my piece titled "Evenings In Paris."
I hope to compile the stories I've written about the years I lived with my grandmother into a book of short stories. My wish is to write a bigger story about my family and how it was for us living in Ireland from the experience of my grandmother, whose husband served in the British Army's 11th Hussars, and my mother who was born during Ireland's Easter Rebellion and lived her life as a rebel. I'd like to share my memories of my first 23 years living in the small towns, villages and in Dublin during a time when Ireland was the poorest country in Europe.
The main reason I write is for my children, grandchildren and future generations to know a little bit about their Irish ancestors and my childhood years in Ireland over half a century ago.
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