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This report is taken from PN Review 245, Volume 45 Number 3, January - February 2019.

Remembering Bernard Loughlin Mary O'Malley
The Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig is a retreat for artists very close to the Cavan-Monaghan border. It is situated in drumlin country – if you shout, you can hear the echo rolling away eerily into the distance. It is not far from the border with Northern Ireland and it is landlocked.

Bernard Loughlin and his wife Mary were its first directors and played host to writers, musicians, painters and composers from 1981, when it formally opened,  to 1999 when he and Mary left.

They built it into a home from home for an ever changing population of artists where friendships were formed and work was made and fun was had; but what I remember mostly are quiet days spent working in rooms far grander than anything most of us had at home, a lively dinner every evening, and quiet, often solitary walks.

I went there as a young mother in about 1990, after my first book was published.

I wrote a brief description of what I wanted to work on and got accepted. Then I panicked. I had almost no money but I knew I must pay ‘what I could afford’. This led to anxiety and to me paying slightly more than I could afford.

Another cause of anxiety that first visit was the Director himself. I had seen him on TV and he terrified me. He spoke in paragraphs, was better read than most people and didn’t suffer fools.

When I rang up to ask how I’d get to the house from the ...

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