In Ruin Reconciled
A Memoir of Anglo-Ireland 1913-1959
By: Joan de Vere
Publication Date: January 1989
In Ruin Reconciled: A Memoir of Anglo-Ireland 1913-1959 by Joan de Vere
In Ruin Reconciled: A Memoir of Anglo-Ireland 1913-1959 (‘that country of the mind’), tells the story of an orphan girl adopted by Anglo-Irish parents and brought to live in the Big House of Curragh Chase, Adare, Co. Limerick. Her solitary childhood among “elders and betters” during the 1920s was relieved by visits to her grandmother in Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, and a brief schooling at Alexandra College, Dublin. Her father was a Chief Justice in the British colonies, so time was spent at vividly remembered locations in Cyprus, the Seychelles, Kenya, Grenada and Africa’s Gold Coast. After a spell in London, studying domestic science and working for an unorthodox Harley Street doctor, Joan de Vere returned to Ireland and marriage in 1936.
As well as celebrating an individual, the narrative memorializes a house and a way of life now gone. Curragh Chase, her father’s estate, was home to the de Veres from 1657 until its destruction by fire and eventual sale to the Forestry Commission in 1957. As the last child to grow up there, Joan de Vere recalls its owners and inhabitants – Victorian writers and philanthropists among them – with an intimate precision.
In Ruin Reconciled illuminates corners of life lost to the late twentieth century with memorable cameos of people and places, and is a fitting valediction to a family whose 300-year history is part of the landscape of south-west Ireland.
‘It is chiefly the elegant and elegaic literary style of the author herself which stays in the mind… Anyone interested in the Anglo-Irish should read this short and poignant volume. ‘ – Customer review
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joan de Vere was born in Eastbourne in 1913. She was adopted by the de Veres and grew up in Curragh Chase, their ancestral home in Limerick. In Ruin Reconciled, her memoir of her life there, was published after her death in 1989.
Lilliput Press –
“Anyone interested in the Anglo-Irish should read this short and poignant volume. The title alone sums up the wistful and doom-laden joi de vivre of a minority culture in terminal decline, trying (but failing) to reconcile with the fact that its hey-day is over.
The book is an extremely well-written memoir by the (adopted) daughter and grand-daughter of a once-prominent Anglo-Irish family, the de Veres, who lived at a magnificent pile, Curragh Chase, near Limerick. With a minimum of self-pity and a maximum of charming understatement, Joan de Vere tells the story of the decline of the de Vere’s in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The main individuals are vivid, nearly always with dramatic lives. But it is chiefly the elegant and elegaic literary style of the author herself which stays in the mind.” PELAGIUS