independent

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Martin's new chapter

Former Sligo Garda has swapped the beat for the pen with his new book

Emma Gallagher

Published 24/09/2013|05:40

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Martin McCabe with a copy of his book of short stories, entitled 'Take my Hand'

HE WAS a Garda for 28 years, but now Martin McCabe has joined the writing world.

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He releases his debut book, Take My Hand, in October.

He said: "One week I was off work and I just decided to start writing.

"Before that I had written some rhyming poems.

"My wife, Teresa, read some of my stories and encouraged me to do creative writing.

"I joined the Inkwell Writers Sligo group in 2008 and it took off from there."

The group met once a week and Martin was given the help he needed to put pen to paper.

"I know now, looking back, that my writing wasn't the best then, but the group worked well together and helped with advice."

In 2010, it was discovered that Martin had a benign brain tumour and he had to undergo surgery in Dublin's Beaumont Hospital.

He recalled: "I would say that it affected my family, my wife and three children, more so that it did me.

"I suppose it was like a case of being outside looking in."

The operation to remove the tumour left him deaf in his right ear.

"I spent only eight days in hospital, but physically, it took a lot out of me and my balance was affected.

"I cannot walk backwards now for example."

He left his job as a Sligo garda.

"I must have been 15 years on the beat in Sligo.

"What I miss the most is the interaction with the public."

Martin certainly isn't dossing his days away.

"I took up cycling and joined the Innisfree Wheelers club.

"It's great and a good way to socialise.

"We cycle to Manorhamilton, Tubbercurry and Dromahair, good long distances."

His eldest daughter, Michelle, introduced him to Facebook when he was recovering.

"Physically, I wasn't able to do much but I found it a great way to keep in touch with my Garda colleagues.

"I'm inviting them all to my book launch, hopefully they'll turn up!"

Take My Hand is a collection of short stories.

Remarkably, Martin admitted that he was never a reader.

"I don't read so I cannot say that I take inspiration from any other writer.

"When people hear that they are amazed.

"What I write is all totally fiction, although bits and pieces could relate to life, but not anyone in particular."

He hasn't broached the subject of writing about his illness yet.

"I'll see how this book goes before I start thinking about another.

"The biggest worry is what people's reaction to it will be. My family have been really encouraging too."

Apart from writing and cycling, Martin also keeps canaries and finches at the family home in Drinaghan.

"I've been doing that for around eight years.

"I bring them to shows across Ireland, Dublin, Cork, Kilkenny etc.

"They are easy to keep once you know what you're doing."

Martin is launching his book in the Glasshouse Hotel, on October 10th at 7.30pm.

Sligo Champion

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