Mary McCarthy

Mary at her Graduation from UCD
Mary and friend Eileen as young teachers
Mary and her son Dara
Mary visiting bookshops in Dublin
Mary photograhed for a local newspaper
Mary with fans at a book signing for After the Rain
College friend Gabriel Byrne reading After the Rain

Personal life

Mary J McCarthy was an Irish novelist who was born in November 1951, to Emily and Denis McCarthy, the only daughter after four sons.  She maintains that growing up with four older brothers prepared her well for coping with life!

Two of her brother have died from cancer and Mary herself was diagnosed with secondary cancer in March 2012, ironically having begun her fifth novel on this topic eight years before. Mary passed away from the disease in May 2013 at just 61 years of age.

Mary has one son, Dara, who is an historian and an IT enthusiast and he has created this website for her as well as “ fixing” her technological problems as she knows herself to be “a luddite” when it comes to computers. He also likes to compose music.

Mary’s eldest brother is the artist, Desmond McCarthy. Niall [deceased] was a RTE producer and director and an independent filmmaker and another brother, Aidan, has been a journalist so creativity runs in the family. Her other brother, Declan [deceased] had been a successful businessman. She is close to her 15 nieces and nephews and their ever-increasing families.

Professional Life

Mary studied English and French in UCD from 1969 to 1972 and in 1973, after completing her HDip in Ed, began to teach in her Alma Mater, the Holy Faith Convent, Glasnevin. Mary taught there for thirty-four years until she took early retirement in 2007. She enjoyed teaching and has remained friends with many of her former pupils.

McCarthy started to write short stories in college and always dreamed of becoming a writer. She has written 5 novels, all successful in Ireland and all published in Germany, one in France and others in Finland. Her dream is to get her books published in England and America. She enjoys writing articles for newspapers and magazines and her writings and interviews on coping with cancer are considered “inspirational”.

Mary McCarthy's Novels

Remember Me
And No Bird Sang
Shame the Devil
After the Rain

Mary McCarthy says she writes “grit lit”  —a name she has coined herself.

Other interests

Mary loved music and at school played piano, violin and harp.
Since retirement she has taken up the guitar. Musical references abound in her novels.

She also has a keen interest in crime fiction and thrillers and got a diploma in Forensic Psychology in 2007. It’s not “blood and guts’ which interest her, she says, but the psychology of the criminal mind.

In her own novels, characterisation is more important to her than plot: “It’s why people do things that fascinate me more than how they do it .”