Louth

| 5.5°C Dublin

Louth centre stage in 1957 book

Professor Anthony Cunningham launches first book about the events of 1957

Close

Professor Anthony Cunningham at the launch of his first book in Baltray Golf Club.

Professor Anthony Cunningham at the launch of his first book in Baltray Golf Club.

At the book launch were, back row - Joe Cunningham, Tom Sobolewski, Ann Cunningham, Anne Crinion, Mary Capper, Mary Harris, Fintan Farrelly, Neville Capper, Jillian Mahon, Peter Sobolewski, Eamonn Duffy. Front row - Professor Anthony Cunningham (author), Jack Cunningham, Rory Crinion, Teresa Crinion.

At the book launch were, back row - Joe Cunningham, Tom Sobolewski, Ann Cunningham, Anne Crinion, Mary Capper, Mary Harris, Fintan Farrelly, Neville Capper, Jillian Mahon, Peter Sobolewski, Eamonn Duffy. Front row - Professor Anthony Cunningham (author), Jack Cunningham, Rory Crinion, Teresa Crinion.

/

Professor Anthony Cunningham at the launch of his first book in Baltray Golf Club.

droghedaindependent

The date September 22nd 1957 is one that is forever etched into the mind, if not the memory, of every self-respecting Louth GAA fan. Drogheda-born Professor of Anaesthesia Anthony Cunningham was just a whipper-snapper of nine years old when the Wee County lifted the Sam Maguire, but that memorable year has formed the basis for his debut book “About 1957...that was when’, which was launched in Co Louth Golf Club, Baltray on Thursday October 21st.

In a glossy and sizeable book, Anthony has complied a detailed and entertaining compendium of events when Ireland’s stars seemed to align for memorable occasions – a golden year in a golden era – three of them alone in his native county!

The 1-9 to 1-7 win over Cork 64 years ago added to Louth’s previous victories in 1910 and 1912.

"My inspiration for this book was the author Bill Bryson, who wrote a book called ‘1927, a summer in America’, and even though he was born 27 years after that, he still wrote eloquently about Charles Lindburgh, Babe Ruth and the Charleston and he wasn’t even born yet,” says Professor Cunningham. “So I thought I would pick from my lifetime what was the most outstanding year, and when Louth won the All Ireland, I was standing opposite St Peter’s Church and an old man put me on his shoulders, and with tears streaming down his eyes said ‘Louth will never win another All Ireland in your lifetime’, which turned out to be very prophetic.”

This is Louth Newsletter

Your weekly fix of local news and sport headlines from Louth, direct to your inbox

This field is required

It is appropriate that the book was launched in the golf club where another of the featured heroes was feted. Queen of the Green Philomena Garvey won the British Ladies Championship in Gleneagles, Scotland in 1957. The 15-time Irish Ladies Golf Champion received a hero’s welcome back to Baltray upon her victory, which is celebrated in the book with some memorable photographs and comments.

"Philomena was an incredible sportsperson, and won the Open that year, and I have a wonderful photo of her in the book, going under a canopy of golf clubs here,” he says. “The club also presented her with what would have been a very expensive gift at the time – a black and white television – and she was greeted with a crowd of hundreds.”

Also singled out for mention is the momentous win for Anthony ‘Socks’ Byrne in the 1956 Olympics, where he took home a bronze medal. It may have been the year before, but the celebrations lasted well into 1957!

Born in Ballymakenny, Co. Louth, Anthony was educated at the CBS Drogheda and Dominican College Newbridge, before graduating in Medicine from University College Galway in 1971. He spent 11 years training and practising in Canada and the United States before being appointed Consultant in Anaesthesia and Critical Care Medicine in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin and Professor of Anaesthesia, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI).

"I served as Foundation Dean, Perdana University RCSI School of Medicine Malaysia, before taking up my current role as Medical Director, Galway Clinic,” explains Anthony, one of five children to parents Jack and Rita.

"I am supposed to be officially retired, so I had the time during lockdown to research for each of these 13 events, and I looked at what actually happened, why was it important and what was the legacy and what happened to the central characters, and the hardest part was trying to source the photos to go with it, and receive permission to use them!”

Anthony has four children from his first marriage to Bernadette Fitzgerald – Seana who a director in the Central Bank, Diarmaid Vice President of Icon, Rory who is in management in London and Kevin who is with Linked In in Dublin.

But he says he wrote the book with his nine grandchildren in mind.

"My grandchildren ask me what things were like when I was young, and I have better memories than they have at the moment with this awful COVID,” he says. “And three momentous events in Louth in one year is definitely one for the history books!”

he IRA raid on the RUC barracksSome of the other stories in the book cover t

in Brookeborough, Co. Fermanagh, the General Election of March 1957 when Éamon deValera became Taoiseach for the last time and Sir Anthony Eden’s resignation as British

Prime Minister following the 1956 Suez Crisis.

"I have to thank my brother Joe for all his help with the photographs and sourcing copyright, and my wife Anne for being so supportive,” he adds.

Anthony lives on the shores of Lough Corrib, between Clonbur, Co. Galway and Cong, Co. Mayo, but has thoroughly enjoyed being back in his hometown for the first of many regional launches before Mairead McGuiness does a national launch in December.

The book can be bought of www.anthonycunningham1957.com priced €20.


Privacy