Irish Times 27/10/12

My holidays

Writer James Lawless

What was your best holiday? A cultural exchange scholarship to Vigo, Galicia many years ago. I taught English to Spanish primary teachers for one hour a day leaving me with a lot of free time. I got to visit lots of places like Salamanca and the Islas Cíes . . . and Seville, which is still one of my favourite places.

What was your worst holiday? I was a student and it was my first time abroad and on my own. I arrived in Barcelona but my suitcase wound up in Madrid. Every day I travelled to the airport to enquire about it and on the fifth day it arrived. By that time I was covered in mosquito bites from sleeping without even a sheet bag in an unhygienic hostel. Then I got sunstroke.

If budget or work were no restriction, what would be your dream holiday? I would love to go to South America and follow the journey of Che Guevara’s Motorcycle Diaries throughout the continent. Maybe I’d also make it over to Cuba before that regime crumbles.

If you had your pick, who would you take on holiday with you? My wife. She has a practical head that keeps me from getting too carried away in what she perceives as my quixotic ventures.

What’s your favourite place in Ireland? There are three places equally dear to me. Kildare, where I live most of time and where I enjoy canal and riverbank walks; the mountains in west Cork near Gougane Barra, and the old streets of Dublin’s Liberties, where I was born and which still echo with the voices of my childhood.

Your recommended holiday reading? I normally bring a manuscript of whatever novel I’m working on. Two recent books I found engrossing were Timothy Mo’s Pure and Sebastian Faulks’ A Possible Life.

Where will you go next? I’m flying to Manchester for a few days to visit my son who is studying physiotherapy over there.

In conversation with GENEVIEVE CARBERY

Finding Penelope by James Lawless (Indigo Dreams, £7.99).

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Author: James Lawless

Irish novelist, poet and short story writer.

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