independent

Wednesday 24 September 2014

An emotional launch of Billy's last masterpiece

Published 18/06/2013 | 05:38

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A MAGNIFICENT tome written by the late Billy Colfer 'Wexford Castles, Landscape, Context, and Settlement' has been officially launched at the county library.

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A MAGNIFICENT tome written by the late Billy Colfer 'Wexford Castles, Landscape, Context, and Settlement' has been officially launched at the county library.

The book was launched by Daire Keogh, president of St. Patrick's College, who paid a fitting tribute to the author from the Hook who died recently.

Daire spoke of Billy's extraordinary gift as a teacher and of how he had made a difference to the education of countless children. He spoke also of his talent as a historian, writer and painter and of the contribution he has left to Irish history in general and Wexford history in particular.

Prof Kevin Whelan, editor of the Irish Landscapes series of books, spoke of his old friend, his admiration for his work and of how inspirational Billy was.

More than 300 people attended the launch, joining members of Billy's family, and his colleagues and friends. Cathaoirleach of Wexford Co Council, Kathleen Codd Nolan welcomed everyone to the library on behalf of Wexford County Council and extended a particular welcome to Billy's family.

She said that, they, like Billy himself, have always been generous and enthusiastic supporters of the library service and of the work of its staff.

'For that reason, it is particularly appropriate that this book should be launched here and I would like to thank both the Colfer family and Cork University Press for choosing this new facility as the venue for this evening's proceedings.'

In his preface, the late writer traced the genesis of his interest in the subject back to his childhood on the Hook Peninsula where three ancient buildings loomed large, all of them with mediaeval foundations – the lighthouse, Slade Castle and Loftus Hall.

He never turned away from his roots and the book demonstrates how a wealth of knowledge was grafted on to those roots.

Proceedings concluded with Donal Colfer, representing Billy's family, saying a few words, and in particular dedicating this last book to Billy's five grandchildren, as per Billy's wishes. It was a moving finish to what had been an emotional evening, remembering a much loved and respected Wexford man and his life's work.

New Ross Standard

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