There's nothing to beat a good book and that's why Carl O'Flaherty had writer's cramp on Sunday evening.
Carl has just written 'Dingle Before Fungie Came to Town', a collection of stories about the people and events that gave a special character to the town he knew growing up in the 1960s and '70s. But it wasn't writing the book that caused the cramp; it was the hours of signing copies before, during and after the launch O'Flaherty's bar on Sunday afternoon.
People spilled out onto the street from the packed pub where eager buyers heaved a path through the crush to get their hands on a copy of the book that will be read and re-read with delight at the stories and the telling of them.
"Keep buying the book; he needs the money," Carl's brother Fergus told the throng as he struck up a tune with their sister Mazz and cousin John Benny Moriarty. Another cousin, former senator Joe O'Toole, was waiting for a lull so that he could find space to stand up, make a speech, and declare the book officially launched. The lull never came so he just got on with the job anyway, describing the book as "irreverent, bawdy but always entertaining… a fine piece of work that will stand the test of time".
Time was on Carl's mind also when he got up to speak. Explaining that it was written out of love of place and as a record of the people and events that Dingle a special to grow up in, he said: "I don't see it as a book for today; I see it as a book for 40 or 50 years' time."
Despite the long maturation date, Carl's audience clearly felt an immediate investment was essential and as soon as he sat down he was back at the signing while Fergus headed off to the kitchen for another box of books.
He was still signing books later in the evening and word has it that he had the biro out again the following day. They could be heading for a second edition shortly but in the meantime the book is available for €15 from O'Flaherty's bar in Dingle or send €20 to Carl O'Flaherty at Dun an Óir, Kilsallaghan, Swords, Co Dublin and he'll put one in the post.
Alan is ready to hit the road
This Friday, May 8, Alan Creedon will begin walking from his home in Manchester to his native Dingle in memory of his sister Aoife who died five years ago.
The month-long trek will include crossing the Irish Sea by kayak in mid-May.
"My plan is to head southwest through the Cheshire countryside and on to Wales, staying with friends and camping as I go. I'm hoping to reach Anglesey by the middle of May," he told The Kerryman this week.
"I'll be meeting up with Mike Armstrong, Senior Instructor with the Outward Bound Trust over here, who volunteered to help me cross the Irish Sea in a double kayak. Mike is descended from Grace O'Malley (Gránuaile) and loves sea kayaking along the Mayo coast.
We spent five hours kayaking along the Welsh coast last weekend. It was really challenging at times but we got through it!," he added.
The sea crossing from North Wales to Dún Laoghaire is expected to take around 20 hours. The kayak will have GPS tracking, VHF radio, charts and a satellite phone for coverage in VHF blackspots.
"The whole idea behind this challenge is to raise funds for two charities, Manchester Mind and the Dingle Camphill Community. We held a ten-hour fund-raising concert and dance in a community hall in Manchester last week with three excellent bands who played for free. There was plenty of food and drink and it was a great community occasion," Alan said.
Alan's sister, Siún, flew in from Prague to help out at the event which raised almost £1,000, bringing the total raised so far for Manchester Mind to over £4,000. Donations on the website www.walkforaoife.com for the Camphill Community have almost reached €1,000.
Alan will be interviewed on Irish TV's weekly programme 'Out and about in Manchester'. "I will be posting updates on the website as I go and there is also a Walk for Aoife Facebook page which people can view for updates," he said.
Ursula’s memory lives on in Be Fabulous fundraiser
On Thursday last in the G Hotel in Galway the vibrancy of a beautiful woman was celebrated as the Be Fabulous Fund handed a cheque for €10,000 to further research into Multiple Myeloma Cancer.
Be Fabulous was set up in memory of Ursula Flannery from Goat Street who was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 2003, aged 38. At diagnosis, her prognosis was poor but advances in treatment options and her own fighting spirit allowed her to live with Multiple Myeloma for nine years before she died in October 2012.
The Be Fabulous fund was established by members of Ursula's family to raise money to directly fund research into Multiple Myeloma, its cause and more importantly, treatment options for those diagnosed.
The NUIG research foundation in Galway, are at the forefront of this research, not only in Ireland but worldwide. Headed by Professor Michael O'Dwyer, the team have made valuable findings which have led to new treatment options and improving the quality of life of those going through treatment. Prof Dwyer's work has been shared with the Dana Faber Institute in the US who are the leading experts of this type of cancer said Irene Flannery.
In Europe the incidence of Myeloma is higher than in other parts of the world and the incidence along the western seaboard of Ireland the incidence is the highest of all. Myeloma represents one per cent of all the cancers in Ireland, at the same time it is seriously underfunded, according to Irene.
"So important is his work", said Irene of Professor O'Dwyer, "that the Galway University Foundation matched our €10,000 with another €10,000, giving a total of €20,000 directly into his department. He is passionate, hard-working and determined to find a lasting treatment for Multiple Myeloma and these funds will make a significant contribution to his work"
Philip Tracey, international milliner and long-time friend of Ursula, has designed a hat specifically on the theme of Be Fabulous to celbrate Ursula's vivacity. The hat will be raffled during this year's Galway Races to help the research fund.
Contributions to the fund can also be made to:
Account Name: Be Fabulous
Sort Code: 93 62 86
Account No: 08041097
Allied Irish Bank, Main St., Dingle, Co.Kerry.