Antoinette Tyrrell

Posted by Sue Leonard on Tuesday 26th February 2019

Antoinette has had a lifelong obsession with Anglo-Irish large houses. She wrote a paper on Ballindoolin, in County Kildare for history degree.

But it wasn’t until she started a third manuscript that she thought of setting a novel in a large house. Meanwhile she had worked in local radio, spent some years in PR, and settled in her present job with Irish Water.

She wrote her first novel 15 years ago. Poolbeg were interested, but ultimately rejected it, and the same thing happened with her second, written five years later, after the breakup of her marriage.

“In 2017, I had a house fire. It was incredibly traumatic watching it, and having to deal with the insurance company and the builders. I wasn’t in a good place, so I started writing again. This time I bought books on how to write and how to develop characters, and Poolbeg made me an offer.”


Who is Antoinette Tyrrell?

Date of birth: 1978, in Kildare.

Education:  Secondary school in Edenderry, co Offaly. NUI Maynooth: English and History. Post Grad, communications.

Home: County Kildare.

Family: Partner, Ahmed. Mother, sister and 2 nieces. “Dad passed away 15 years ago.”

The Day Job: Works in the Press Office of Irish Water.

In Another Life: “I’d be a ballet dancer. I did ballet right through school and loved it.”

Favourite Writers: Rosamunde Pilcher; Mary Wesley; Antony Capella; Dinah Jeffries; Elizabeth Jane Howard; Jane Austen.

Second Novel: “It’s about the effect of illegal adoption on four women.”

Top Tip: “Everybody has a book in them, but do they have the discipline to get it out? If you love writing, make time to do it.”

Website: Twitter: @AntoinetteTyrr


The Debut: Home to Cavendish. Poolbeg: €15.99.  Kindle: €4.52. 

Elenore Stack is determined to restore Cavendish Hall, her family home. And when she falls for the property developer, Donnacha O’Callaghan, it seems like a liaison made in heaven. Then things unravel.

Then she hears of Edith Cavendish, who, in 1922 fell for a rebel. Will their meeting prove a lifeline?

“The Celtic Tiger worried me. The property developers came in, and some work of the work on big houses wasn’t done sensitively.”

The Verdict: An interesting page-turner, that blends the concerns of history with those of the recent past.



Published in The Irish Examiner on  23rd February.

© Sue Leonard. 2019

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