This podcast is a documentary about one of Ireland’s oldest book clubs.

In rural Ireland in the 1970s, it was hugely challenging for women in domestic contexts to have an intellectual life. In 2012 book clubs are enormously and increasingly popular. But things were different in Ireland in the 1970s, when no one had heard of them.

And so, when a dozen women met in 1974 in the West Cork countryside to talk about a book they’d read, their families wondered what it was they were up to – ‘you’re getting together to talk about a book?’ they asked, confused. But these women kept meeting, and kept reading and kept discussing, and they’ve been doing this for nearly forty years. This is their story.

The Literary Dozen are Patsy Devoy, Nan Fitzgerald, Leigh Hudgens, Pat Lewis, Shevaun McDonnell, Imelda Murphy, Gretta O’Regan, Mary Purcell, Eileen Sherrard, Sesca Tyrell, Deirdre Wall and Marcia Wrixon.

Narrated and produced by Jools Gilson.

Production supervision by Nicoline Greer.

Sound supervision by Anton Timoney.

First broadcast: June 9, 2012

‘Documentary on One is the home of Irish radio documentaries and the largest library of documentary podcasts available anywhere in the world. We tell stories in sound, mostly Irish ones, and each documentary tells its own story’