Roscrea’s latest author is Paul Ryan, a native of Knock now living in Parkmore Roscrea. His book of Ballads and Rhymes from the rare auld times will be launched by George Cunningham at the Auburn Lodge (Lua’s) on Friday 14th November at 8.30 to 9.00pm. All are welcome to what will be a memorable occasion. Paul will be signing copies hot from the press at Walsh Printers.
Paul tells us that his love of poetry goes back many years to his days in Knock National School where the principal, Mr John Quealy, taught them works which he can still recite today, such as Goldsmith’s ‘The Deserted Village’ and Padraic Colum’s ‘Old Woman of the Roads’, etc. He first began to write poetry twenty-five years ago and as he records ‘my first effort, to this day, remains very special to me: ‘The Golden Years’, written to celebrate my parents’ Golden Wedding Jubilee’. His interest in writing may have stemmed from his late father, James, who wrote a book entitled ‘The History and Traditions of Knock and Timoney’, which was published on his 81st birthday.
Roscrea’s latest author is Paul Ryan, a native of Knock now living in Parkmore Roscrea will launch his book of Ballads and Rhymes from the rare auld times will at the Auburn Lodge (Lua’s) on Friday the 14th November at 8.30pm.
He was the youngest member of the Ryan family, numbering five boys and three girls. They grew up on a farm in Cullawn, Knock, a pleasant townland just a few miles from Roscrea, which is situated on the blue and gold side of the Tipperary/Laois border.
There, a little stream divides not only two counties, but parishes and provinces along with the Diocese of Killaloe and Ossory. He had a very happy childhood and, in his formative years, developed a great ‘grá’ for hurling and rugby, playing both codes for many seasons. But it was in tug-of-war and weight-throwing that he would enjoy the greater success. In 1974, while attending a dance in Borris-in-Ossory, he met a very special lady named Breeda O’Loughlin who, a year later, became his wife. He tells that the two greatest days of his life were the births of his two darling daughters, Lorna and Ashling.
Paul works for Dovea Genetics Cattle Breeding Station, just outside Thurles, the town where he received his secondary school education.
His book is his first foray into the world of publishing and is a collection of poems, ballads, rhymes, songs or lyrics – all penned by himself over the last quarter century.
Paul hopes that you will really enjoy every line of the fifty-plus poems as much as he has enjoyed writing them and that you will find the variety of poetry – his very first step into the literary world - stimulating.
The foreword to the book was written by George Cunningham, a neighbour of the author in Parkmore who records that Paul ‘uses his undoubted talents well and the work will not only give countless hours of pleasure to very many here at home, but will bring many a winsome smile and nostalgic recollection to the worldwide diaspora of the south-west Irish midlands. For Paul’s landscaped canvas is not just parochial but ranges over Laois and Tipperary with particular emphasis on his native Knock, adopted Roscrea and the land below the Devil’s Bit’.
As George tells ‘In another time Paul could well have been a professional balladmaker, distributing his songs and rhymes on a single sheet, recording in verse the topics of the day. Now he writes in verse of a disappearing rural landscape: the bog and all the magic (and hard labour too) of the cutting of the turf, the rambling house, the blacksmith, the simple pleasures and wonders of nature, the characters and local heroes of the past, the love of friends and community.
There is a gentleness, indeed a goodness that shines through on every page. Humour too: read aloud ‘The Bull in the Bottle’ - the bull became redundant …no more macho, no more sex; or ‘Who’s your one’?
He writes, too, of topics of the day, local, national and international: the long-awaited swimming pool and all its frustrations, the smoking ban, the by-election, the new M7 – When Knock was ‘cut off’ from Timoney -, the tsunami, the generation game, keeping up with the Joneses, the weather, the new currency. Many are meant to be read aloud or, indeed, sung to well-known airs. If you are looking for a unique party piece you’ll find something to suit all tastes among these pages’ .
Paul’s sporting loves and his sporting heroes are reflected in many of the pieces. His big parochial sport was the parish tug-of-war team. For the honour of the little village shines through every word of ‘The Story of ‘83’, or ‘Eleven in a Row’. And though honouring Munster’s Heineken European win in 2006 there is no doubt that it is the GAA that remains a powerful force in his life: football in Laois and hurling in Tipperary, not to mention the parish teams and players of both Knock and Roscrea, all honoured and feted as true Irish Olympians. And is there a ‘Slash-Hook Hurling Club’, imaginary or not, in any other place?
But these are just a few of the fifty plus ‘ballads and rhymes from the rare old times’ that adorn this welcome publication. As George Cunningham writes ‘It is a worthy work to join the growing body of literature on and about our native place’.
Join Paul at the Auburn Lodge on Friday 14th November.