Big celebrations as The O’Brien Press, my Irish publisher, celebrated 40 years of publishing!
It was great to join the party at Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin, where I met so many old friends from the book world. I still find it hard to believe that it is almost 25 years since they published my very first children’s book Under the Hawthorn Tree.
Michael O’Brien talked about how his father set up the business, how he got involved and first developed a passion for publishing good books and wanted to create a strong Irish focused publishing house. His son, Ivan, is now helping to run the company. Good luck and well done to all my friends, editors, designers and the team in The O’Brien Press.
Softly March Away was a very special commemoration of the 22 young men from Greystones who were killed during The Great War and are commemorated on a plaque in St Patrick’s Church. They were brothers, cousins and friends, all with homes in Greystones, who enlisted in the army and lost their lives on various battle fields during ‘The Great War.’
Irish Times journalist Peter Murtagh, an avid local historian, researched the brave young men and their families and in a very moving tribute told their stories to a packed audience.
From archive film of Flanders, Gallipoli and the Trenches, photographic montages of the young soldiers and their homes in Greystones, to letters, telegrams, death certificates and parents’ letters to Lord Kitchener, these all added to the poignancy of this very moving event.
Interspersed was music of the time performed by mezzo soprano Dara McMahon and Tenor Patrick Hyland with a wide range of songs like, ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning’, ‘Macushla’, ‘Danny Boy’ and ‘I Didn’t Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier.’ The evening ended with the sounding of ‘The Last Post’ and the lowering of the standard of The Royal Dublin Fusiliers.
It was certainly an event to remember and a privilege for all of us lucky enough to attend. Well done to Peter Murtagh for putting it all together.