Lisa McInerney on Cork: ‘If cities have characters then this one’s a brilliant brat’

From student life to clubby nights out … how Cork city inspired the author to write

I don’t have a fixed origin story. I was born to an unmarried 19-year-old and quickly adopted by her parents because Ireland would otherwise have classed me as illegitimate. I’m either the cherished baby of the family or a symptom of my country’s troubled relationship with religion. Depending on the way I feel like tackling the question of siblings, I can have a half-sister or I can be the youngest of nine. I spent my childhood in Gort, County Galway, but it was Cork city that made a writer out of me. If I’m asked now where I’m from, I say: “Well, that depends. A bit of both.”

Gort is a small town on the edge of the Burren, halfway between Galway and Limerick. It has some literary standing. WB Yeats lived in ...