Crime pays for Galway writer Maureen Gallagher! – Connacht Grandstand – Galway City Grandstand:


As a novelist, she’s something of a late bloomer, but Maureen Gallagher’s first crime blockbuster marks only the final chapter in her own story that brought her to Galway in the 1970s, where she helped fabricate of the city on so many fronts – as an activist, a teacher, a poet and, now, a writer of unlikely genre fiction.

Maureen Gallagher grew up in Monaghan, spent a lot of time in Donegal and eventually settled, lived and worked in Galway where she taught to members of the Traveler community.

“I moved to Galway in the late 1970s. Galway was then a ‘one horse town’ to borrow a cliché; very fifties. Lots of seagulls. Then came the eighties. Gloom and emigration and Charlie Haughey telling us all to tighten our belts,” she recalls.

“I had taken a few years off to raise my two children. During this time I started to write and also did some cartoons – but in 1986 I took up teaching again, first with children with special needs. In 1990 I got a permanent job, teaching travel children at St Bridget’s Special School in Shantalla,” she adds.

Her lifelong social awareness and activism also led her to travel as a protester to the G8 summit in Genoa – but that was far from her starting point.

“During the 1980s, there were two referenda – two triumphs for the Catholic Church. I was involved in activism in both, then which party when the second divorce referendum passed by a narrow margin in 1995,” she says.

As the 90s progressed – and with them the Celtic Tiger – Galway became a hub for artists and aspiring writers of all types. Writing groups flourished, many of them in pubs.

“The craic was so good in Galway, it earned the nickname ‘graveyard of ambition’,” says Maureen.

She returned to writing, after a period of not writing at all; first songwriting then poetry, followed by my first stories.

“In 2000, I was sending my work to magazines and journals with some success. However, I will never forget the time I sent my first four poems to a magazine called The Flaming Arrow. After two days, I returned them. No response, just a library stamp on the cover letter to show it had been received.

“I stared at the stamped letter for ages before I could finally accept that it was a rejection. I was sure there must be a mistake! Since then I have come to ” thrive on rejection”, as some minds say.

“Gradually I progressed from submitting work to small magazines, to larger ones and also to contests. I knew this was the way to go if I wanted to get a book of poetry or short stories published. My first book of poetry was published in 2008 by Wordsonthestreet,” she adds.

Maureen now describes herself as a full-time writer.

“In 2000, St Brigid’s Special Travelers School was closed following an EU ghettoization directive. I totally agreed with this decision. The school was a bungalow and should never have been approved as a school for a child. Subsequently, I taught for a time as a resource teacher. In 2004, I retired to write full time,” she says.

“I love living in Galway. In 2006 I moved to Friars Hill in the Westside, a small estate within walking distance of the city and the Atlantic Ocean.

“Once a week I walk around wonderful Connemara with some walking friends and get to know every hill and valley. This will be the terrain of my second novel Labyrinth.

But his first album, Limbo, draws its inspiration from another corner of the country. the wild and atmospheric presence of the Donegal Coast almost like a character in the novel which features a wonderful new female protagonist Frankie – or more formally, detective Kate Francis.


Comments are closed.