Amanda - or to give her the full pen
name she adopted... Amanda Malvina Fitzalan Anna Margaret
McClelland McKittrick Ros.was born near Ballynahinch
in 1860. She married a railway official fifteen years
her senior when she was twenty and lived with him in
Her first and best-known book was "Irene Iddesleigh"
(pub 1897) in which she gave many of her characters
alliterative names such as Osbert Otwell. Another of
her books she called "Delina Delaney" and a third was
"Helen Huddlestone". In this one, all her characters
were named after fruit... Lily Lentil and the Duke of
Greengage being two. Incidentally, parts of "Helen Huddlestone"
were written in dialect making it very hard for the
reader to understand...
"How soniver, it seems Beer nex no name til keep
dye thing goin ir to keep dthe grandfater ive it birrelin
ahes capital's lack mae own".
Amanda Ros also wrote poetry; brought together in a
collection she entitled "Poems of Puncture". A section
of her poem on "Westminster Abbey" reads: -
"Holy Moses! Have a look!
in every nook.
Some rare bits of brain lie
Mortal loads of beef and beer.
Critics were unkind but she gave as good as she got
and once wrote a ten thousand word tirade against D.B.
Wyndam Lewis who had given a scathing review of "Irene
But she also had her followers. Undergraduate students
had an Amanda Ros society and used to write to her with
praise just to encourage her to write back in her flowery
manner. To give a flavour of her writing, here is perhaps
the most oft quoted example of her style from "Irene
"Speak! Irene! Wife! Woman! Do not sit in silence
and allow the blood that now boils in my veins to ooze
through cavities of unrestrained passion and trickle
down to drench me with its crimson hue!"
Her husband died in Larne in 1917 and before the funeral
she vetted all the wreaths. Those of which she disapproved
were taken back to the senders.
Amanda McKittrick Ros died in 1939.
Jonathan R. Pardue (SNU) - Apr '07
I heard today in class, that the Inklings used her writing
to induce laughter while drinking at the pub, The Eagle
and Child, in Oxford, Enland. They would see who could
read her work the longest without laughing. The Inklings
were a literary discussion group associated with the
likes of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and other intellectuals
from the University of Oxford.
Margery Barrett - Dec '06
I am Amanda's great step grandaughter as Andrew Ross
was my great grandfather. There is no mention anywhere
about my grandmother and my great uncle who lived with
her until they ran away as teenagers because she treated
them so badly. I have read "O Rare Amanda"
and "Thine in Storm and Calm". I would be
very interested to hear any information about her.
J.D.O.Burns - Sep '06
As a very young boy I attended Olderfleet School at
Larne Harbour and Amanda lived next door in a large
grey detached house. I can remember her very well; she
was a tall stoutish woman of whom we small children
were afraid. She regularly chased us away from being
anywhere near her house I recall vaguely that she had
a maid who apparently committed suicide by drowning
at the Coast Road near Larne and of course because of
Amanda's reputation all kinds of stories were told about
My father told me about the event of her husband's funeral
when she returned wreaths that she considered unfitting.
It took place at the time when horse drawn carriages
were in fashion and the funeral was attended by various
high placed dignitaries from the railway company. The
coffin was placed in the carriage drawn by 4 horses
and when all those attending were lined up behind it,
Amanda came out of the house , said to the coach man
"drive like hell" and away it charged up Corran
Road leaving everyone standing! She was indeed a "rare"
Stephen Hyde - Sep '06
She was miles ahead of her time. She was the
first person in literature to refer to the body in terms
of North and South. Her books are fantastic and beautifully
produced. Read her today!
Thomas - Feb '06
I came upon the following comment on a well known Book
"Originally published in Belfast in in 1897, 'Irene
Iddesleigh' was considered by Mark Twain to be one of
the greatest unintentionally humorous novels of all
Oh, and the price for this book was £55, this
one being the cheapest of a dozen copies for sale in
the UK and Ireland!
Rebecca - Dec '05
A woman after my own heart. But a comma would be nice
- the worst of it she may have been, but Amanda once
belonged to the world.
Nancy Beiman - April '05
Amanda McKittrick Ros was not a bad writer. Bad writers
Amanda's books are delightful, original, and NEVER
dull. But I think that she was herself a more amazing
creation than her books. Amanda McKittrick Ros was convincd,
always, of the rightness of her cause, whether it be
literary or legal; and dubbed herself the world's greatest
living author. She only read her own books so she should
My favorite Ros quote is from a late interview with
a BBC journalist who asked her why she named a villain
Mrs. Ros put down her teacup with a startled air. "What
else should I have called him?" she said.
That says it all for me.
The only biography of Mrs. Ros, O RARE AMANDA, is worth
the search and the read. Fittingly, my copy came from
County Antrim, which doubtless has other memorials to
this memorable writer.
Liam G Kelly - November '04
Larne and District Historical Society unveiled a plaque
in Larne Library several years ago, in memory of Amanda.
It can be seen just inside the front door.