THE evening of Monday, March 26th next at Twomey’s Bar in Castletownbere sees the launch of the second volume of Gerdie Harrington’s Beara Down Memory Lane (proceedings will get under way at 8.30 pm).
For nearly 30 years Gerdie Harrington was the Beara correspondent for the Southern Star newspaper, which, aside from the notes and notices of community life on the peninsula, also featured Gerdie’s long-running and much-loved ‘Down Memory Lane’ column.
The changing face of Castletownbere, the back-story of the principal families in that far-flung territory, old-time curses, cures, and folktales, the great and the good and the all-but-forgotten, almost every aspect of life in Beara was examined into by Gerdie’s inquiring mind and portrayed by his graceful pen.
Volume one of Beara Down Memory Lane, which was published by the Beara Historical Society in 2008, presented some of the very best of the ‘Down Memory Lane’ articles, however, most of this second volume features previously unpublished material, every bit of which is fascinating—the family that lived under a boat, for example, or the essay on General John O’Sullivan (a hero of the American Revolution and the first governor of New Hampshire), or the article on the Berehaven Bulletin a local newsletter which existed in 1916.
Gerdie Harrington has been an observer of life for more than four score years and ten: born and reared in Castletownbere during the early years of the Irish Free State, he has lived through war and peace, boom and bust, and the coming and going of many generations—going out abroad himself to earn a living (in the UK) and coming home in retirement to become The Grand Old Man of Beara.
Following the book launch on Monday evening, the Beara Historical Society will have its regular meeting which, this week, features a talk by John O’Connell on the transportation of Irish women and British colonization of Australia. All are welcome to attend.
Volume 2 of Beara Down Memory Lane (€14.99) will be available in local bookshops from the beginning of April.
The book may also be purchased (and browsed through) on-line at www.inspirebooks.ie.