“Venetia Kelly…she became a young woman of remarkable talent and passion, and when she was thirty-two years old --- the year I met her --- she was drawn into a terrible intrigue that had a profound effect upon my parents and me.”
Ben MacCarthy narrates this story as he looks back to 1932, the year he was 18 and the year that dramatically altered the rest of his life. Until the night he met Venetia Kelly, Ben was a fairly typical Irish teenager for the day. His family owned a nice farm, his father and mother loved each other, and they held a position of respect among their friends and their community. It was an exciting time in young Ireland’s history. A struggling government had taken form and Eamon de Valera was about to be elected. Back then, politics were heating up as will happen when a country is struggling to find its footing. As relief, traveling shows were the rage; few automobiles existed, making travel difficult.
So that one fateful night, Ben’s father takes him to see the show. As he sits enraptured by the actors, he tells his son to go on home without him; he’s joining Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show. Well, that’s some news! And, as you can imagine, it’s news that Ben’s mother does not take well at all. She sends Ben right out to bring back his father, essentially saying, “Don’t come home if he’s not with you.” Ben sets out to fulfill his mother’s wishes. While unsure how to accomplish his task, at least he is intrigued by the troupe.
Venetia Kelly is a woman born to entertain. Not only is she extraordinarily beautiful, she also has an almost magical quality about her. Nightly, she mesmerizes her audience, who goes wild over her dummy named Blarney. He sits on her knee as she puts words into his wooden mouth and even goe