Loading Events
Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Missing Persons Or My Grandmother’s Secrets: Clair Wills in conversation

January 29 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

**Registration full**

Click here to book

Date and Time: Monday 29 January at 6.30pm. Doors open 6:10pm.

Venue: Unitarian Church, St Stephen’s Green.

When Clair Wills was in her twenties, she discovered she had a cousin she had never met. Born in a Mother and Baby Home in 1950s Ireland, Mary grew up in an institution not far from the farm where Clair spent happy childhood summers. Yet she was never told of her existence.

How could a whole family – a whole country – abandon unmarried mothers and their children, erasing them from history?

To discover the missing pieces of her family’s story, Clair searched across archives and nations, in a journey that would take her from the 1890s to the 1980s, from West Cork to rural Suffolk and Massachusetts, from absent fathers to the grief of a lost child.

There are some experiences that do not want to be remembered. What began as an effort to piece together the facts became an act of decoding the most unreliable of evidence – stories, secrets, silences. The result is a moving, exquisitely told story of the secrets families keep, and the violence carried out in their name.

Clair Wills is a critic and cultural historian. She is the author of Lovers and Strangers: An Immigrant History of Post-War Britain, which won the Irish Times International Non-Fiction Book of the Year and was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize, That Neutral Island: A History of Ireland During the Second World War, which won the PEN Hessell-Tiltman History Prize, Dublin 1916The Best Are Leaving, and most recently The Family Plot: Three Pieces on Containment. Wills is the regius professor of English Literature at the University of Cambridge.

Books will be on sale and Clair will be signing after the event.

Dublin Festival of History is an annual festival of free events, brought to you by Dublin City Council, and organised by Dublin City Libraries, in partnership with the Dublin City Council Culture Company. Sign up to the festival newsletter.


January 29
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Category:
Event Tags:
, ,


Dublin Unitarian Church
112 St Stephens Green Dublin 2
Dublin, Dublin DO2 YP23
+ Google Map
01 478 0638
View Venue Website


Event Type
1 hour 30 minutes
Wheelchair accessible