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Sheridan Le Fanu's significant anniversary

The Irish Time's Brian Maye reminds us that the 7th of February 2023 is the 150th anniversary of the death of Irish ghost writer, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu.

A particularly useful source on Le Fanu is the memoir published by his younger brother, William, a civil engineer. Entitled Seventy Years of Irish Life and published in 1893, William R. Le Fanu described his brother's fondness for practical jokes when he was a teenager. Here is one rather cruel example from the book.

Sheridan Le Fanu met an old woman on a Dublin road whom he had never seen before. Mistaking Le Fanu for someone she knew long ago, the old woman addressed him warmly:

Masther Richard, is that yourself.

Le Fanu: Of course who else should I be?

Old Woman: It's proud I am to see you. I hardly knew you at first. You're grown so much. And how is the mistress and all the family ?

Le Fanu: All quite well, thank you. But why don't you ever come to see us?

Old woman: Masther Richard, don't you know I daren't face the house since that affair ?

Le Fanu: Don't you know that is all forgotten and forgiven long ago? ...

Old woman: If I knew that I'd have been up to the house long ago.

The trap having been set, Le Fanu insisted the old woman come to the house for dinner the following Sunday where she would be surprised at the welcome she'd get !

Here is a link to Historyeye's short audiovisual tribute to Le Fanu's mystery novel set in Chapelizod: The House by the Church Yard.

The house in Chapelizod associated with Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
The House by the Churchyard, Chapelizod


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