Saturday 20 April 2019

Shane's new children's festive book

Shane Cowley aka Beaufort Smedley and the front cover of his book illustrated by Linda McConville
Shane Cowley aka Beaufort Smedley and the front cover of his book illustrated by Linda McConville

Margaret Roddy

Dundalk artist Linda McConville and Drogheda author Shane Cowley aka Beaufort Smedley have teamed up to produce a beautiful new children's book just in time for Christmas.

Together they bring 'A Most Santiculis Christmas By Beaufort Smedley' to life in a tale which is guaranteed to delight readers of all ages.

'A Most Slanticulis Christmas' is the first Beaufort Smedley book from Drogheda writer Shane Cowley. It sees him creating the world of Beaufort Smedley, probably the best known person that hardly anyone actually knows. 'To some he is possibly the greatest semi-retired adventurer to come out of Drogheda,' says Shane. 'To others he is a dedicated collector of stories about the most colourful, eccentric folk you could ever wish to meet.'

After many years of living a reclusive life writing his memoirs and planning his next great expedition, Beaufort Smedley has resurfaced with a bang. 'A Most Slanticulis Christmas' is more than just a book for children. It represents an historic collaboration which may in future be regarded as the moment that the 'Cold War' between North and South Louth ended.

Speaking of his collaboration with illustrator, Linda McConville, he declared, 'Drogheda and Dundalk have come together in the name of art.'

Linda, who works in An Táin Arts Centre as front of house and marketing officer, graduated from Galway and Mayo Institute of Technology in 2011, having studied art and design and fine art, specialising in printmaking. She was awarded a bursary for Cork Printmakers and lived in the Leeside city for three years before returning to Dundalk.

She uses her talents to design posters for An Táin, as well as conducting children's workshops.

'Printmaking lends itself to illustration and working on a children's book has always been my dream job,' she says.

The opportunity came when she met Shane at the Louth Business Awards last year and they began collaborating on the book.

'Shane sent me a rough draft of the book and explained that he wanted Roald Dahl-esque illustrations, ink drawings with colour,' explains Linda.

'A Most Slanticulis Christmas' will be launching on Saturday December 1st of December in the Droichead Arts Centre, Barlow House at 3pm. Storyteller Sara-Marie Reinke Wilson will the world of Beaufort Smedley to life in a festive fun filled story-telling session like none you've never seen before.

Linda's delightful illustrations will be exhibited at the launch.

The book is also now available to buy from Roe River Books in Dundalk or online direct from the author at

Linda's artwork can be viewed at her website

And Beaufort Smedley is also set to escape from the pages as Shane is already working on developing 'A Most Slanticulis Christmas' into a live stage show for 2019.

Shane's first writing achievement was as recipient of Galway Film Centre / RTE Short Script Award in 2004 after which he enjoyed several years working as photographer with regional press and businesses clients.

In 2011 he exhibited a collection of environmental portraits of local independent shop owners in their businesses. 'The Independents' was adapted into a play by Upstate Theatre Project and performed in the Drogheda Arts Festival .

Drogheda Independent