Leland Bardwell died this week at 94. Colm Toibin wrote this for her when she was 80.
Leland Bardwell at 80
Eleven Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
She came to Gorey in the early 1970s with all her beautiful children. They had high cheekbones and lived like gypsies in a caravan in Courtown. When she ambled with her wide walk into French’s pub, she was clearly out for the night. The look on her face said: please don’t bore me, please make me laugh.
There are two sorts of writers, those who follow the literary pages and try to keep up with what’s new, and those whose reading is random, made up of books from different centuries and in various styles and genres, writers known and unknown, books bought and found. She belongs to this second category.
In the early 1980s she was evicted from her house off Hatch Street and out to Tallaght. She didn’t like Tallaght and fought to get out of there. She proved herself to be steely, determined, stubborn, characteristics which in her normal daily life she had managed not to need or bother with.