Book Launch – Mór agus Muilc
On Saturday I attended the book launch of a rhyme that has been passed down through the Irish language called Mór agus Muilc.
It was told to Dónall Ó Cnáimhsí by his late uncle John Óg Hiúdaí Neidí Ó Colla, who I am sure would be very proud to see this book in print.
The rhyme ” tells of a woman, Mór, and a man, Muilc, who go down to the beach to collect limpets. Turning a stone, they find a crab, which they think is Death, and they run away in terror. Meeting a character called Eoghan an Chailc, Eoghan of the Chalk, who we imagined a schoolteacher, they shout, “Seo chugat an Bás!” Death is coming.
“Who saw it or says it?” he asks. “We saw it and say it!” they answer. And off he goes with them, all three now running in panic, collecting a series of fantastically named characters as they flee Death: Sagart Eoghanaí Glic, Cute Owenie’s Priest; Meagadán an Átha, the Blatherer at the Ford; Meagadán an Mhuilinn, the Blatherer at the Mill; Pioncas an Bhun Bhig, the Bunbeg Pin Cushion; Madadh Ros Goill, the Rosguill Dog; Bearád na Feá, Pheasant Hat; and An Goirria Donn, the Brown Hare.
The stampede only ends when the motley crew clambers onto a white horse, An Gearrán Bán, to cross the channel from Gaoth Dobhair to Na Rossa. There, a flood sweeps them away, drowning the lot.”
The book is beautifully illustrated by my cousin Kim Sharkey, who is a multi-media artist living by the sea shore on the west coast of Ireland in Co. Donegal – working in art, illustration, ceramics, animation, as a workshop facilitator and in arts project management.
Kim has produced art for book covers, but this is the first time she has illustrated a full-colour children’s book.
“It’s only now through story in animation and this illustration work of Mór agus Muilc that I have found a creative process that is truly satisfying,” she said. She worked for months on the drawings, from thumbnails to finished layouts. Her finely textured work is initially created using traditional hand-drawn and water colour painting techniques, then finished digitally, combining the oldest and newest technologies in a “tradigital” approach.
“I loved the delight of actually disappearing into the story and the joy of pulling up images that resonated for these characters, and the environment they exist in.”
For Kim, work on Mór agus Muilc has been something of a culmination of the work she has been doing for the past 20 years. As well as an artist and illustrator, Kim is also an animator, incorporating storytelling into her art. Kim and her husband, Jimmy Duffy, are also behind Cupán Cré, their Gaeltacht company that produces hand-made ceramic keep cups, tea bowls, and other ceramics decorated with hand drawings.
You can learn more about Kim’s work at http://www.kimsharkey.ie
Learning the Irish Language
Kim also said “the Irish in children’s books is useful for people of all ages who are learning the language. She has heard from adults whose children read the book to them, and from others who said they have used it to help with their Irish skills.”
Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh of the world famous band Altan http://www.altan.ie officially launched the book, and kindly posed for a photograph with Kim.
There were lots of other great photo opportunities, but I chose this photograph as it includes Dónall (second on the right) and Kim, plus the publisher Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhride of Éabhlóid (furthest left).
Mór agus Muilc can be bought via http://www.eabhloid.com/siopa/mor-agus-muilc
Brigid P. Gallagher is a retired natural medicines therapist, passionate organic gardener and author of “Watching the Daisies- Life lessons on the Importance of Slow,” a holistic memoir dedicated to the art of mindfulness and healing from debilitating illness.
She lives in Donegal, Ireland – an area of outstanding natural beauty.