Blog

The Story Behind Star’s First Name

Slievemore Mountain on Achill Island
Photo by Rosemary Lynchehaun, Achill Tourism, http://Achill Island Tourism

Readers often ask where Star’s name came from. Here’s the background story. One summer day during a glorious drive around Achill Island in County Mayo, I stopped at Achill Island Pottery. I purchased a small blue piece of pottery and some jewelry. The earrings and necklace contained a white, milky, stone.

“That’s the Star of Achill,” the woman, in the pottery store, said. She handed a slip of paper to me with the following description: “Star of Achill” Chip of white “Star” from Slievemore. Taken by emigrants in olden days.

The idea that the night before people left their beloved Achill and Ireland, they climbed to the top of Slievemore mountain to take a chip of the white stone with them, immediately intrigued me. At that moment, I named my strong, female, amateur sleuth, Star!

Star’s mother often explained to her young daughter where the name “Star” came from. Star has never forgotten and still cherishes the memories of those times with her mother.

Names of characters are important and often are meant to give meaning to a story. My mother and father both emigrated from Ireland to the United States. My heart ached when I heard the story of people leaving their birthplace with a little bit of stone to remind them of where they came from and where they most probably left their hearts. I hope the readers of my Star O’Brien series also have a similar reaction as you follow Star along her journey. http://martha-geaney.com/books

I’ll save the reason why I chose O’Brien as Star’s last name for another post at another time.

In the meanwhile, keep the luv going.

Martha

Star is Back!

Are you ready for Star’s next mystery? The fiercely, independent female sleuth is back for another cozy Irish mystery set in County Mayo. Only a month to go!!!!! Death at Ashford Castle will be releasing on July 7th and you can preorder it NOW at a discounted price. Click on over to my books page martha-geaney.com/star-obrien/ to read the back cover blurb and use the “Buy Now” button.

Irish Roots

My Maternal Grandparents, Maria Nolan and Thomas Hughes

If you are a fan of Death on Clare Island‘s Star O’Brien, you know she is in County Mayo searching for her mother, who disappeared when Star was six years old. In Death at Ashford Castle, Star’s search continues with a visit to the National Archives of Ireland in Dublin. (Note: Ashford Castle should be out sometime in May; I will keep you posted).

In the meanwhile, for Star O’Brien fans who are interested in their Irish roots, check out the Irish government web site: https://www.irishgenealogy.ie. I count among the many blessings in my life, the opportunities I’ve had to get to know and spend time with my mother’s family (her siblings). Unfortunately, I never got to meet my grandparents (picture above). Maria was from Turlough and Thomas was from Carramore.

Keep the luv going, Martha

My Leadership Test

From one of my walks in the woods at Cong, Mayo, Ireland

Here we are after another week of keeping physical distance and staying at home (cocooning as it is called in Ireland). My heart goes out to everyone who is on the front lines, fighting to save lives, to keep people alive, to keep each of us alive.

Our behavior makes a difference is my mantra whenever I speak to friends and family. A reminder that our commitment to staying at home is our part to do in this time of the virus. I don’t know if you saw the Prime Minister of Ireland’s speech on St. Patrick’s Day. The Prime Minister paraphrased Winston Churchill saying, “never will so many ask so much of so few.”

When our lives turned upside down several weeks ago, my first response was to treat the time at home as an extended snow day. You know, get in plenty of exercise, get some much needed rest, write as much as possible. But as the devastation of what is happening in the world, our country, our cities, and our families unfolded each day, the thoughts of self improvement turned to consideration of what each of us can do not just during the “stay at home” time but after. What are we going to do after? Each of us is being called upon to show leadership in our homes and our communities. This time of the virus will end and then I offer this definition of leadership from Robert Greenleaf for consideration. I am asking myself this question each day?

DO THOSE SERVED GROW AS PERSONS? DO THEY, WHILE BEING SERVED, BECOME HEALTHIER, WISER, FREER, MORE AUTONOMOUS, MORE LIKELY THEMSELVES TO BECOME SERVANTS? AND, WHAT IS THE EFFECT ON THE LEAST PRIVILEGED IN SOCIETY? WILL THEY BENEFIT OR AT LEAST NOT BE FURTHER DEPRIVED?

Robert Greenleaf

Our behavior makes a difference. Stay home, stay safe. In the meanwhile, keep the love going. Martha