Author Maeve Binchy estate valued at €10 million

Best-selling novelist and playright was one of Ireland’s most recognisable writers

Former Irish Times journalist Mary Maher spoke tonight of being left a collection of the The Bell , a literary magazine published in Dublin between 1940 and 1954, by the late author Maeve Binchy.

"It's wonderful, fantastic." It was "her father's collection.I had a few copies (of the magazine) myself and she knew I was interested. She was a great, close friend." She received the Bell collection "shortly after Maeve died."

On her death at the age of 72 in 2012 Maeve Binchy's estate was valued at €10 million, two-thirds of which was left to her husband Gordon Snell as well as their homes in Dublin and London. Half of the remaining third went to relatives and half to friends, 29 of whom received €10,000 each.

Founded by writer Seán Ó Faoláin among contributors to The Bell first edition in 1940 were Elizabeth Bowen, Flann O'Brien, Frank O'Connor, and Jack B Yeats. Its editor from 1946 to 1954 was left-wing republican and writer Peadar O'Donnell. During his tenure contributors included Anthony Cronin, John Montague, Thomas Kinsella, Brendan Behan, and Patrick Kavanagh.


Other friends left gifts in the will included retired judge Mary Kotsonouris, who received a cut glass lamp, and Della O'Clery who was left two cut glass decanters. Mary Maher said of all four women, including Maeve Binchy, "it was a riotous assembly whenever we got together."

While not a churchgoer it was recalled at her funeral that "she contributed several times a year" to Dalkey's Catholic Church. Former parish priest there Fr John McDonagh told her at one time she was too generous. He recalled she dismissed this, saying she didn't mind what he did with the money "as long as it wasn't spent on 'statues or holy pictures'."

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times