Sean O’Muimheachan, a primary teacher in Macroom, printed with Selfpublishbooks.ie a casebound book of his poetry. I had a quick chat with Sean and asked him where it all began.
“I was born and reared in a rural Gaeltacht area, Gaeltacht Mhúscraí,” said Sean, “and received my primary and secondary education in that area; I’ve spent all my working life there. Very boring you might say! Not at all. This is an area of natural beauty, steeped in history and culture and with plenty of sporting and cultural activity throughout the year. We are within easy reach of bus and train services and within an hour’s journey of two international airports. But those things never bothered me growing up in this area as there was always plenty to do.”
Sean was happy to relate how he first became interested in writing: “This locality has long been famous for its writers, poets and singers and it was only natural that I would become acquainted with their work as I grew up. Songs and poems were composed about many local happenings, these being mostly humorous songs, but many more serious poets were also at work, producing works that were to earn for them national fame.
“Seán Ó Ríordáin and Séamas Ó Céileachair are two who immediately come to mind. Then there were the writers like An tÁth, Peadar Ó Laoghaire and Dónall Bán Ó Céileachair, who preserved the richness of the local dialect in their writings. Perhaps it was only natural that I would begin to dabble in such pursuits as I grew to understand the importance of such things in our society.”
How does work fit into all this? “Being a Primary Teacher, I often composed poems to fit in with topics in the curriculum when suitable poems were not available or for use in stage shows or drama competitions. Dámhscoil Mhúscraí provided the impetus to practise my poetry skills and I have for many years participated in this annual poetry session.
“I’ve been a regular attendant at Oireachtas na Gaeilge and Fleadhanna Ceoil also, both of which hold competitions for newly composed songs. This provided the incentive to write and compete, which I have done for many years with limited success. Having heard suggestions from many that I should publish some of my works, I decided the time was right when I retired from teaching and so Gleanntán an Aoibhnis began to take shape.”
I was curious to know what a reader can expect from Sean’s book. “The reader will find that the songs are predominantly humorous songs and I must admit to enjoying writing such songs,” he admits with a smile, “When a good line comes together it gives me a giggle of satisfaction and I hope it also brings a smile to the face of the reader.
“Having said this, I am well aware that a serious song or poem is usually of a far better quality than a frivolous one. I have also written a few of those, both in Irish and in English. It’s easy to draw a laugh but the song that draws a tear strikes closer to the heart.”
So once he put all the words together, it was only a matter of finding where to put them between a book cover. Sean has already given a wonderful testimonial, but I was curious as to how he found self-publishing: “This was my first experience of publishing and, having approached Bard na nGleann in Béal Átha’n Ghaorthaidh, I was put in touch with Lettertec in Carrigtwohill. I was facing the unknown.
“However, I was given every assistance and advice and Elaine Barry, who was in charge of design, was most efficient, helpful and patient. Anything that needed to be changed or corrected was attended to without fuss and her advice on layout, font, etc., was invaluable. The finished product more than I could have wished for, a most professional package, and deadlines were met promptly.”
What’s in store for Mr O’Muimhneachan now? “At the moment I don’t have any other plans for publishing,” he says, “but who knows what the future may hold!”