Beckett’s childhood home

Sir, – I am now 83 and have lived most of my south Dublin life in “ Beckett Country”, as so brilliantly described in the book of that name by Prof Eoin O’Brien. I am not a Beckett scholar but have become convinced of the greatness of Samuel Beckett as a comic playwright and novelist and value the extraordinary information available through the four-volume edition of his letters edited by Martha Dow Fehsenfeld and Lois More Overbeck.

I have seen Beckett's birthplace and family home, Cooldrinagh, in Foxrock on the private house market on a number of occasions, and it has just been featured in The Irish Times property supplement of May 19th. It seems to me that the time may have come – as I imagined at the time of previous sales – to think of Cooldrinagh as an important piece of national heritage that could become the focus for a Beckett cultural centre at the heart of a Beckett tourist trail and experience. I hope there may be enough interest in such an idea to mobilise funding and involvement from the Minister of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, the Arts Council, the Office of Public Works, Fáilte Ireland, and Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.

There may also be interested commercial company sponsorship and the possibility of a worldwide citizen fundraising campaign, to which people like myself might contribute.

Given the proximity of the house to Leopardstown racecourse, there might be involvement of the horse-racing industry or a lottery.

Do we need to ask what Beckett would make of these ideas? I hope not. In the end he seems to have adjusted to everything thrown at him and to have stayed rooted in his Irishness and his connectedness with an amazing range of family, friends and critics.

There is heather on his Paris grave like the heather on the grave of his father and mother in Redford Cemetery, Greystones, Co Wicklow. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 6.