Those of us who love the scent of the sea will share the feeling for a new book on that still enigmatic and powerful part of our lives.
Castleisland native, Tony O’Callaghan was born and reared on College Road – and area of the town further above sea-level than most.
His love of the outdoor life has led him on many a path before and since his early retirement from teaching.
In 1998 he published The Dingle Way Companion at a time when he was working as a guide and route researcher with Southwest Walks,
Educated at local national schools and at St. Patrick’s Secondary School, Tony also studied at UCC before moving to Dublin to work in production with Fry-Cadbury.
As a night student in UCD he graduated as a teacher and eventually moved back to Kerry to take up a post at Tralee Community College.
The Kerry Coast, as a concept and a platform where he could properly address his passion for costal and rural places, has been in his head for a number of years.
His wide scope of interests include: mounteering and hill walking, classical music, football, golf, reading, sailing and rural pubs.
As an insight to what The Kerry Coast is all about – as if the title itself doesn’t give the game away – Mícheál Ó Coileáin’s foreword describes Tony O’Callaghan’s latest contribution to the literary treasures of Kerry thus:
“In these pages between a single cover Tony O’Callaghan brings us a library’s worth of information and a great deal of knowledge of his native Kerry.
“We should be truly grateful for the years of gathering that Tony now shares with us.
Over Many Generations
“At every turn or road and bend of bay, from the craggy mountains to the sandy shore Tony reveals the landscape and the people who have lived on it over many generations.
“The Kerry Coast should be on every shelf, in every car, carrier of bike, rucksack of rambler or cabin of sailboat. It is full of legend, history, archaeology, local lore, and the people who have inhabited Kerry from the earliest of times.
“It looks at all aspects of Kerry life – past, present and future – and like a good friend should be kept close at all times to share magical moments with.
“This book will enrich your journey through Kerry and will entice you to learn more, to delve deeper in the many aspects of life in the Kingdom.
A Great Service
“Tony O’Callaghan has done us a great service in writing this book. It is obvious he has a great interest and love of his native county.
“He has spent his life walking and cycling up hill and down dale. He has sailed the coast – he has viewed Kerry from land and sea – and brought his collective learning to bear on this fine companion of a book. The inclusion of sketches and maps give this publication an almost three dimensional interpretation of places and people that is both delightfully intriguing and artistic.
“Tony was and is a teacher, but he is also a learner and listener, and this is obvious in his insatiable curiosity for all that is Kerry – its people, landscape, heroes, language, shoreline, sport and the things that set Kerry apart for its residents and for its many visitors.
“He has, as Sigerson Clifford described in him poem I am of Kerry, ‘seen the wise face with its hundred wrinkles, and every wrinkle held a thousand tales.‘ – Mícheál Ó Coileáin.
Acknowledgements and Credits
In the acknowledgements and credits, Tony lists: Tadhg McGillicuddy for his map-making skills and another of his school-days friends, Jack Nolan for his direction and encouragement.
The book was printed at Walsh Colour Print in Castleisland and the author is gerenous in his gratitude to the team there for helping him over this vital stage of the process.
By no means least, Tony O’Callaghan held a few lines of praise for the artists whose illustrations set the book apart.
He mentions: Alma O’Donoghue from Coomaciste; Jack Bates from Dingle and Kevin Frost from Ballybunion.
The Kerry Coast is available now in all bookshops around the coast and throughout the county and it’s going well here in Castleisland at JP Griiffin’s Newsagent and Booksellers.
Tony O’Callaghan can be contacted on 087 29 21 074.
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