Did Locally Based Authors Make Publishing History in Castleisland on Sunday ?

David Butler and Tanya Farrelly with their pal Mr. Shelby and their respective books, Fugitive and Nobody Needs to Know with a backdrop of the  River Island Hotel where they launched on Sunday evening. Their books are now on sale at Jackie Reidy’s Menswear and Newsagents. ©Photograph: John Reidy

The now Castleisland based husband and wife writing team, David Butler and Tanya Farrelly believe they may have created a first in Irish publishing circles.

How? On Sunday evening at the River Island Hotel, Dubliners, David and Tanya both launched their books of short stories – which, they feel, makes them unique and their achievements rather rare.

Earlier this year, they decided they wanted to buy a house in the west of Ireland.

“It would be our own private writers’ retreat where we could come to enjoy both the peace and inspiration that rural Ireland could offer,” said Tanya – setting the scene.

A Garden for Mr. Shelby

“Also, living in an apartment, I wanted a nice garden for our dog Mr. Shelby to enjoy, not to mention all those lovely walks.

“Having spent a few months trawling through property pages and suffering the frustration of not being able to travel to view houses, restrictions finally lifted.

“I saw our now home, which was on the market and knowing that good properties at reasonable prices are snapped up we arranged a viewing.

A Blacksmith Stove

“We arrived down to Ahaneboy on a damp, drizzly day – a Blacksmith stove was burning in the living room and the house had this lovely aura of welcome.

“There’s nothing more charming than old houses – I love to sit here and think of the history and the families that must have lived between these walls before us.

“We knew nothing about Castleisland, our nearest town, when we came here. We were both very familiar with Listowel from attending the eponymous Writers’ Week. David’s novel City of Dis had been shortlisted for the Kerry Group Novel of The Year in 2015, and the previous week we had got engaged.

A Celebrity Couple in Listowel

“We became something of a celebrity couple among the lovely writers’ week committee that year. Now we live less than half an hour from Listowel and look forward to attending the festival from our own home.

“The area itself provides stimulus. We love our woodland walks and love to get out to Glanageenty, Lyreacrumpane or Ballyseedy Woods.

“We got to know some of the bars in Castleisland last month during the Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival. We saw Dervish playing in the River Island Hotel where we had the local launch of our latest books here on Sunday.

“This is the first time David and I have published short story collections with the same publisher, Arlen House.

A First for Husband and Wife ?

“It may be the first time in Irish publishing that a husband and wife have launched their books together.

“We’re looking forward to meeting with other Kerry writers, not to mention readers – we’d love to meet with some of the local book clubs as I believe there are several in the area.”

Tanya’s and David’s new books: Nobody Needs to Know  and Fugitive respectively are now available from Jackie Reidy’s Menswear and Newsagents, Main Street, Castleisland.

“We would, of course, love to see a bookshop open in Castleisland. There is a definite gap in the market for that and would make the town,” Tanya concluded with a suggestion.

Joined by Rosemary

Tanya and David were joined by Belfast writer Rosemary Jenkinson who launcher her book Marching Season on the Castleisland leg of their national book tour, the live events of which culminated with their triple launch here.

The last stop of the tour is a virtual one hosted by NUI Galway, where Tanya is currently writer-in-residence, and the Moore Institute. This will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, December 1st and viewers can register to watch on the following link:  https://nuigalway-ie.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_wevY7cHjQRWs1M70sz3DGg

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