Anita Hendy

Books for Adults and Children


"The Magic of Irish Heritage"

Books by Irish Author Anita Hendy

The Magic of an Irish Canal

By Anita Hendy

Two little friends, Maggie Murray and P.J. Murphy, grow up beside the Grand Canal at Lowtown, Co. Kildare, Ireland. Their idyllic childhood is full of barges going up and down the canal as their parents are the Lockkeeper and Boat Agent. They get to know the many boatmen as they unload their cargo at the lock. And so their happy days are spent playing together and exploring.

However, it is a very special barge owned by an even more special man, Rambles McShambles, that they are always on the look out for. This kind old man keeps many pets on board and he makes friends with all the children living along the canal.

But it is the special times they sit round him, down in his cabin, listening to his great stories that they love the most. Other days Maggie and P.J. go to school on his barge.

Rambles lives alone, until one night when his little pet dog finds an orphan boy shivering under a bush. The boys name is Noah and he comes to live with Rambles on the barge.

The years pass by and Maggie and P.J. grow up and leave Robertstown. Seven years later only P.J. returns and this time he has become a Catholic priest.

By now Noah is a Garda and he meets him at the bridge to tell him very sad news indeed. The Irish Government want to close the canals and put in sewerage pipes. Father P.J. immediately rallies all the villagers to save it. And how do they do this wonderful thing? Well, my dear readers, you will have to read ‘The Magic of an Irish Canal’ to join in all the fun.

Excerpt from ‘The Magic of an Irish Canal .’

"After a while, and tired from playing, Rambles put the tin whistle back in his breast pocket. Taking a long drink of cool water, he wiped his moist brow with a cotton hanky. The children hopped quickly down from the table, and settled around. With the glow of a candle throwing out shadows on the walls, they made an Allen Little Theatre Group all of their own. Sitting up close to Rambles, tiny fingers, with a light angel’s touch, fidgeted with the flap of his deep-patched pockets. Rambles looked down tenderly at the darling little ones and remembered his childhood. Then, a great silence hung in the air. The old man was about to tell one of his great canal stories. His mischievous eyes began to glow with the passionate wisdom of a master bard. Precious words, formed like bubbles by his breath, rode out on his tongue. Then, like daisies in a chain, the words made long and short sentences.

The lilt of his Irish accent echoed around the walls of the cabin. Seeing the children’s eyes open wide with wonder or close tight with fright, only spurred him on. He just kept inventing more characters, delicate fairies, ghostly creatures, and brave guards carrying blunderbusses to protect canal passengers from wicked highwaymen. Because the whole story came from Rambles good heart, the children truly felt as if they were living it. And so, they cried in the sad part and fell about laughing in the happy bit. But it was only when they felt the love the hero had for the heroine that their ripe red hearts truly blossomed.