Literary Programme 2017

Coffee and Chat with Ruth Fitzmaurice

Coffee and Chat with Ruth Fitzmaurice
(I Found My Tribe)

Ruth Fitzmaurice

Bantry House Tearoom

Tue 18 July 2017




In the midst of a family crisis, Ruth Fitzmaurice found her tribe – and the unexpected solace of the wild Irish Sea. Ruth’s tribe are her lively children and her filmmaker husband, Simon, who has Motor Neurone Disease and can only communicate with his eyes. Ruth’s other ‘tribe’ are the friends who gather at the cove in Greystones, Co Wicklow, and regularly throw themselves into the freezing cold water, just for kicks. ‘The Tragic Wives’ Swimming Club’, as they jokingly call themselves, meet to cope with the extreme challenges life puts in their way, not to mention the monster waves rolling over the horizon. Swimming is just one of the daily coping strategies amidst the school run, and getting food on the table – as Ruth fights to preserve the strong but now silent connection with a husband who is slipping away. As she tells the story of their marriage, via diagnosis to their current precarious situation, Ruth also charts her passion for sea swimming – culminating in a midnight swim under the full moon on her wedding anniversary. An invocation to all of us to love as hard as we can, and live even harder, I Found My Tribe is an urgent and uplifting letter to a husband, family, friends, the natural world and the brightness of life. 

This is a fiercely beautiful snapshot of family life – and the refuge that swimming can offer – from an astonishing debut writer.

Ruth Fitzmaurice was born in 1976 and grew up in Louth. She was a radio researcher and producer when she married film director and writer, Simon, in 2004 and had three children. In 2008, Simon was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and given three years to live. Simon went into respiratory failure in 2010 and was accidentally placed on a ventilator during an emergency procedure. He decided, against medical advice, to keep the ventilator; Ruth and Simon went on to have twins in 2012. In January 2016, Ruth wrote her first piece for the Irish Times about family life and a new passion, sea swimming. She lives in Greystones, Co Wicklow, with Simon, their five children Jack, Raife, Arden, Sadie, Hunter, a dog, a cat and a team of nurses and carers.  

This event is supported by the Bantry Bay Port Company Limited

After this event join Ruth for The Festival Swim at 11.15am

Ruth’s photo is by Marc Atkins