Monday 20 May 2019

A love of Yeats inspires Kevin to pen second book on poet

Emma Gallagher

A local writer has released a book detailing Yeats' connection to Sligo which is a great insight into the poet's rich history here in the Northwest.

Kevin Connolly who is based in Skreen ran the Winding Stairs bookstores here in Sligo and Dublin has a huge interest in literature.

O'Brien's Press are behind this book which is his second on the world-famous poet.

He told the Sligo Champion: "I wrote the first book on Yeats back in 2010, it was by Brandon books and titled Yeats in Sligo.

"It was sold out and then I got commissioned by O'Brien's Press to do this one two years ago which is more of a broader look into Yeats and his connections to Sligo and the places that were influential to him such as Dublin as well.

"It's called Arise and Go. It has taken awhile to write it but I absolutely loved writing it and doing the research and all of that.

"I love Yeats and the whole thing was a very enjoyable experience," he added.

"It isn't solely about his connections to Sligo as such, it goes further afield to the West, Dublin and all those place that had a major impact on his life and work."

Kevin clearly knows his books having owned the popular Winding Stairs bookshops in both Sligo and Dublin for many years.

"I owned the Winding Stairs in Dublin from 1982 until 2006 and it was here in Sligo from 1995 to 2006. I have always been writing a bit for radio and newspapers over the years it is something I enjoy doing.

"This book hasn't been launched yet in Sligo but hopefully that will happen sometime at the end of the month.

"There is interest too in having one in Dublin, O'Brien's are eager to do that.

"They have a launch in mind for up there too. I must say they were wonderful to work with and their editorial staff were top of the league, they invested themselves emotionally into the book which was good.

"It is available now and Liber were first to have it out which was great to see, it is a wonderful book store."

Apart from books, Kevin has a keen interest in rowing and is a coach with Sligo Rowing Club.

Having rowed competitively in the States for many years, he is certainly a valued member of the club which has seen numbers increase over the years.

"I coach and row with Sligo Rowing Club. I was over in the States until last March.

"I was living in Indianapolis and I was rowing competitively there for 12 years.

"I am from Cavan originally but have been here in Skreen for 35 years.

"Rowing in the States was fantastic, when you are over 27 years of age you are known as a master which is funny because you might not be that good!

"I raced competitively all over the States. I love the sport it is brilliant both socially and physically.

"It is thriving in Sligo at the moment, the club started a leisure rowing programme last year and the interest has been something else.

"There has been a huge increase in members. We have learn to row programmes as well which there is good interest in.

"It's a busy season now with all the regattas and it is great to see such a difference in ages rowing with the club.

"It's definitely a sport you can do right into older years, I know people in the States who are still rowing in their nineties!

"We are so lucky having the Garavogue and Lough Gill to row, what a gift it is to be out there rowing with no pressure. There are very few vessels too which is good for us.

"With the book out now I was joking with some of them that it could be called Arise and Row. I'm not sure if they fully knew what I meant though!," Kevin laughed.

Arise and Go is out now and available in Liber and all bookstores.

Sligo Champion