WHILE suggestions for Christmas reading and books to buy as gifts tend to be filled with glossy, high profile releases, there are many wonderful publications being produced at local level, including here in Cork.
Whether the person you are buying for is a history buff or simply passionate about their local area, publications from community groups and historical societies can offer hours of reading pleasure.
One recently published example is The Way We Were, compiled by Mary Mullins in association with Crookstown Social Club.
This is a beautiful collection of memories, stories and photographs from members of Crookstown’s Social Club. Compiled by club chairperson, Mary Mullins, this book brings Kilmurry alive as the many contributors breathe life into the four corners of their parish and regale readers with tales from the decades gone by.
Monsignor Kevin O’Callaghan writes the opening story with an account of his childhood in Newcestown and Beal na Bláth, his journey to his ordination in 1959 and some highlights of his life ever since.
Other prominent parish faces feature in the early chapters, including lawyer Dr. John O’Mahony, Bernard Kelleher recalling the history of Cloughduv shop, Sheila Aherne of Sheila’s shop in Kilmurray and Teddy O’Mahony, Aherla, tracing his family tree back as far as the early 1800’s.
In addition to personal stories and parish photos, The Way We Were also features some great historical pieces on the many churches, burial grounds, ring forts and schools in the locality.
Connie Long writes a beautiful account of the geography and history of Crookstown Village while Anthony O’Sullivan tells of visits from Presidents Éamon de Valera and Michael D Higgins.
Kilmurry’s Independence Museum, Vintage Club, road bowling and matchmaking all make up the history of this West Cork parish and are well documented across the chapters. Some local cures and recipes are also shared, while the closing pages are filled with poetry, crosswords and powerful words of wisdom being passed from one generation to the next.
In these strange times we are living in right now and Christmas lights already beginning to twinkle, local author Alice Taylor’s tale, Twelve Days of Christmas, sends out a lovely message of traditions and hope.
The Way We Were is the perfect coffee table book to take our minds off the uncertainty of the present and indulge in the memories, photos and tales of the past.
Available to purchase in local supermarkets and book shops, this book is a beautiful depiction of local history guaranteed to entertain young and old alike.
Also recently launched was Times Past 2019-20, the Journal of Muskerry Local History Society.
The journal has over 120 pages relating to the history of Ballincollig and Muskerry. The articles range from a medieval battle in Carrigrohane, the national school system in Ballincollig, the Kilmichael Ambush, the flying circus of the 1930s, to the Class of 1958 in Scoil Mhuire.
There are also many interesting articles recording the World War 1 tour organised by the Society in 2019.
The journal was launched by Lord Mayor of Cork City, Councillor Joe Kavanagh, who praised the Committee for publishing a very impressive journal.
The journal is being sold in local shops and special arrangements are being made to sell directly to the members of the Society.
These are just two examples of the tremendous work being done in Cork to record and preserve the stories of our towns and places. At a time when we are all being encouraged to shop local, what better way to do that than by supporting our local writers, historians and community groups.