Sometimes I am tempted to write and publish my own book
AT work last week someone said ‘good morning’ to me. Smart aleck that I am, I quipped that it was no longer morning. He assured me that somewhere in the world it was morning. We had a laugh about it and I went on to tell him that when I was a child I spent the summer months on my granduncle’s farm where they kept to ‘old time’.
It was in the 1950s and the farm, Rathpatrick, was on the Tipperary Kilkenny border. In the summer months the time on the farm was ‘old time’ but in the next village, just four or five kilometres away the people went by ‘new time’. In some rural/farming areas people did not put their clocks forward in summer. We both decided it could be a great subject for a book.
Only the previous day I had suggested to a friend that we should think of jointly writing a book. Between the two of us we certainly have loads of yarns to tell and also, it could be extremely funny. I even came up with a title for the project.
When working as a sub editor at the Kerryman I visited the villages of the county, chatting with people and then writing up an account of my wanderings. I’d simply go into a village and knock at someone’s hall door, get chatting with them and it developed from there. Often they would direct me to great characters in the village.
It might well have made a good project and these days I regret that I did not put it together in book form. Kerryman photographers took pictures for the stories each week. That would have been a great addition for the book that never was.
I’ve been invited to a number of book launches in recent days. This Thursday Diaspora Minister Jimmy Deenihan is launching in Dublin Breda Joy’s ‘Hidden Kerry’. Breda is a former colleague of mine at The Kerryman. The book has been most favourably reviewed in The Irish Mail on Sunday and The Irish Examiner. It takes the reader from the banks of the Shannon at Tarbert right to the sacred site The City under the shadow of the Paps.
Last Thursday John Treacy, Chief Executive of the Irish Sports Council, launched a book in Urlingford, Co Kilkenny written by the late Margaret Hayes. The book is called ‘Halfway between Dublin and Cork’. It’s a history of Margaret’s home place, Urlingford and its people. It so happens that Urlingford is only a stone’s throw from that farm where I spent my summers and where they kept their clocks on ‘old time’. Rathpatrick is just a few fields away.
Margaret, who died at 59 last February, was the youngest woman to become a secretary general of a government department. Her first posting as a secretary general was at what was then called Department of Tourism and Trade.
Anyone who takes time out to read the book will be mesmerised by the work done by Margaret in telling the story of her home place and its people. It’s clear to see that Margaret was a historian by training. She was working on the book right up to the diagnosis of her illness in late July 2013. No small effort has been made by her sister Dympna in completing the book. The water colour illustrations in the book are the work of Dympna.