Rosemary McLoughlin (nee Fahey) was born in Dorrigo, New South Wales, Australia. She was one of twelve children and her upbringing was rural and meagre. It was after being awarded a university scholarship and receiving her degree in english that she travelled to Ireland, where she eventually settled.
I was voiceless and watchful during my childhood. Writing for me was a way of being heard.
“Not for me. I was too squeamish and physically weak. I didn’t like the isolation, the lack of friends (Only nine attended the local school and five of them were Faheys), the mud, and the nasty things that were inflicted on animals, like castration, de-horning, branding, ear-marking, trapping, skinning and butchering. All necessary, I knew, but I didn’t want to have anything to do with them. The rest of the family had no problems, so I felt like an outsider. Along with the rest, however, I tried to do my share of the hard work. Although we were all given equal opportunities, I felt the males in the family were valued more highly than the females, probably because they were physically stronger.”
“Coming in the middle of a large family, I was voiceless and watchful during my childhood. Writing for me was a way of being heard, looking for notice, settling scores. It also gave me scope to philosophise about sibling rivalry, born leaders, class distinctions, intellectual snobbery, lost chances, bad judgments, power struggles in relationships, cause and effect, egotism and how good people can be bad parents and do bad things.”
“I had a character being carted off in an ambulance in 1917. Mr Montgomery, who writes in the Motors supplement in the Irish Times was able to tell me they didn’t exist then. A gynaecologist was able to advise on stillbirth, a millworker on timber mills, and so on. ‘The Decline of the Big House in Ireland’ by Terence Doorley was my main reference book, though I didn’t use any facts from it.”