Internationally best-selling author Jilly Cooper is currently in Ireland and is keen to explore her Irish roots.
Speaking to RTÉ TEN, the writer said of Ireland: “I’ve been lots of times, I was here with my parents, in Achill. I have an Irish granny and I’ve been to Dublin numerous times, on book tours and I did an ad for the Irish Tourist Board, years and years ago.
"I’ve been a lot and I love it to bits.
“I have an Irish granny… and I think she’s from Wicklow but I’m not sure, it’s an awful thing. It’s one of those things you say ‘I’m going to sort out my past one day’ but people are better at it now aren’t they?!
“She was called Whincup, it doesn’t sound at all an Irish name but I will find it out the next time I come to Ireland.”
The multi-million selling author said that even she was shocked by her 1985 controversial best seller Riders which was the first in a series known as Rutshire Chronicles: “I read Riders again the other day and I was rather shocked! Did I write that? I think I may have been a little help to the torch battery industry as I would hope lots of…girls read them under the bedclothes with torches!”
The author, mother and grandmother, who has been married to Leo Cooper for over 40-years, has often spoken publicly about her opinions on marriage, sex and her personal life choices, including her hair!
The 76-year-old is almost as well-known for her full shock of grey hair as she is for her books: “When I was young there was something called light and bright and we all put it in our hair. Then they discontinued it and half London was in an acute panic because they didn’t know how they were going to dye their hair.
“Gradually I got streaked for ages and because I live in the country and it’s such a bore to have streaks, I thought to hell with it, I’m going to let it go! I hope it’s all right. Some people should never [dye their hair]. I mean, men should never dye their hair, awful.
“That awful black and that awful read they occasionally go with, terrible. I have to say, I do think Irish men are very attractive and of course the women too. It’s that same thing, they look you in the eye and they’re interested in you, they’re so charming. I’ve met one nice one after another since I’ve been here.”
Cooper is the guest of honour at this weekend’s Tattersalls Horse Trials and Country Fair in Ratoath Co Meath: “I ride and I’ve come over here because I love three-day eventing. Tattersalls have organised this amazing country fair and children are going to have a wonderful time, it’s absolutely brilliant.
“As somebody who loves horses, I’ve been in complete paradise for the last four days.”