The house here is said to be haunted. Miss Worby roams the halls, climbs the stairs. Checks each room, still carrying on her job as companion. Residents have felt her sitting on the end of their beds, or seen her just standing in the corner of their room. She’s quite harmless they tell me.
I wouldn’t know because she hasn’t seen fit to pay me a visit. If you want to see the inside of the house, and get a feel for some of the history,
there is a youtube movie ‘The Last Residence of Miss Worby’. All of the parts are played by the staff or else artists who come here often.
Click here or on the image below to view the video:
I haven’t seen any ghosts as such, but I was aware the minute I came into the house, a sense of the weight of history hanging in the air. Mind you, I’ve felt that all over Ireland. Every two minutes down the road is a ruined castle or a celtic monastery. Ruined, first by the Normans and then by the passage of time. It’s said you can buy a ruined castle over here for a handful of euros. But of course it costs millions to bring it up to a habitable state!
Now my time is wearing down I’m trying to write more and more quickly, and of course, it doesn’t work, so then I become frustrated. One thing this place has taught me is patience, and the necessary rhythm of work, relax, take in the surroundings.
I must tell you something about Irish people and their approach to the cult of celebrity. Apparently when someone like Bono from U2 or Seamus Heaney walks past them on the street, it’s very bad form to do anything other than just smile and say hello politely. There is none of that autograph frenzy, fawning, sycophantic nonsense ( yes, I’m talking about me OK!). No making the celebrity feel that they are any more than a normal citizen. Apparently that’s why a lot of really famous people come to live in Ireland. It’s very civilised, isn’t it? The band U2 have bought a very fancy hotel in Dublin and often appear in person there. Not at the front desk though, I’ll wager.
Here in the house we are having a literary, music, artist get together tonight to get a flavour of each others work. I’m going to read some poems of mine. It doesn’t seem right to read a novel extract, so hard to have it make sense out of context. Difficult too to explain what comes before the section and after it. At least my novels are like that…perhaps intensely lyrical novels are different. David Malouf could read out his shopping list and it would be satisfying to a audience I’m sure.
I wish Seamus Heaney would visit the Centre here. He’s stayed here before apparently, many times. I wouldn’t drool on him. Promise. In my room there is Sir Alec Guinness (the actor)’s autobiography. Ten pages are devoted to visits to the house here when he was a guest of Tyrone Guthrie.
Guthrie and his wife Judith were an interesting couple from what I can make out. Sir Alec tells a story of them hiring a light plane which landed here on the grounds of Annaghmakerrig. They had to go somewhere quite ordinary in the normal run of things, and apparently thought a plane would be a nice change of transport option. Anyway the pilot couldn’t take off properly. One of the wings was sheared off by a stone wall here on the property, then the other one by a tree. The Guthries very calmly climbed out of the wreckage, said ‘bugger’ and resolved to have a cup of tea to fix things. They’d only cleared the site, when the plane burst into flames.
Well they do they say, the rich are different!