In Kiltumper

A warm-hearted and uplifting memoir of their life in rural Ireland by Niall Williams and Christine Breen. Thirty-five years ago, when they were in their twenties, Niall Williams and Christine Breen made the impulsive decision to leave their lives in New York City and move to Christine’s ancestral home in the townland of Kiltumper in rural Ireland. In the decades that followed, the pair dedicated themselves to writing, gardening, raising their children and living a life that followed the rhythms of the earth. In 2019, with Christine in the final stages of recovery from cancer and the land itself threatened by the arrival of turbines just one farm over, Niall and Christine decided to document a year of living in their garden and in their small corner of a rapidly changing world. Proceeding month-by-month through the year, this is the story of a garden in all its many splendours and a couple who have made their life observing its wonders.

The book concludes with an epilogue about the first half-year of the Pandemic, and is accompanied by 15 of Christine’s pen-and-ink illustrations (some available as cards in the shop link).

Podcast that Features Niall and Christine

In a bonus episode of Shelfmarks, Zoë Comyns chats to guest writers Niall and Christine about their own relationship with their garden and nature. Shelfmarks is a podcast series by the Royal Irish Academy podcaster-in-residence Zoë Comyns. Listen here… 

About Kiltumper

It’s a townland in the west of Ireland in rural County Clare, 14 km from the Wild Atlantic and originally the birthplace of one set of Christine’s ancestors, the Breens. Her grandfather was born in the cottage they now live in. Moving to Ireland from NY in the mid 80s in the midst of a recession when every young Irish person was leaving Ireland they eventually decided to document their life and wrote four non-fiction books, which they refer to as The Kiltumper Quartet, about their experiences of suddenly, overnight becoming rural dwellers in bare four room cottage. The first one is available as an ebook.

More about Kiltumper and its garden.

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