DONEGAL NEWS

Big night on Friday night in Rockfield NS as Gerry McLaughlin launches his 'Legends' book

Peter Campbell

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Peter Campbell

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sport@donegaldemocrat.com

Big night on Friday night in Rockfield NS as Gerry McLaughlin launches his 'Legends' book

Gerry McLaughlin interviewing one of the Legends in his book PT Treacy

Fermanagh Local Legends book launch

Friday night is a big night in the life of a Donegal/Fermanagh journalist as he launches his first book - Fermanagh’s Finest Local Legends.

Well-known Gerry McLaughlin, a Belleek resident but born and bred inside the Donegal border at Clyhore, will launch a book that chronicles the lives and of 82 ‘legends’ that have made their mark on the landscape of Fermanagh in sport and in many other facets.

Of the 82 ‘legends’ featured, they vast majority cover the sporting world, but there are also some who put their mark on the Fermanagh landscape in other ways.

Also most of those featured are from the western half of the Erne county with a few from just inside the Donegal border.

McLaughlin, who has his own unique style of writing, has been busy in recent weeks in the lead up to the launch and he is really happy that the launch is taking place at Rockfield National School, where he began his education.

“It is very fitting that the book will be launched on the site of the old Rockfield School because that this where I was educated and came under the influence of teacher Frank O’Donnell from Kilcar.

“When I was a small child in the teacher’s room there was a partition between rooms. I remember listening through the partition to Frank teaching Irish history to bigger students. Those stories have stayed in my heart and in my mind ever since. He made Irish history so very interesting. It was a series of battles for freedom. You were kept wondering, ‘When will we win the final battle?’

“Because of that, I always loved to listen to people telling their stories because history to me is a series of stories.”

The book tells stories not only of great sporting prowess but also of overcoming less well-known personal challenges that earned these men and women the status of local legends.

“One that stands out is Cormac McAdam, a former Fermanagh goalkeeper who suffered a terrible accident which left him in a wheelchair,” said Mr McLaughlin. “But he is a shining example to all of us as he now runs his own business, travels in his own van and plays golf competitively.”

The book entitled ‘Local Legends’ will be launched by former GAA President Peter Quinn in Rockfield Community Centre on this Friday, May 31 at 8.00pm.

It is a unique record of social history of the region in a period from the 1920s right up until the present day.

“This is the first time a project of this nature has been published,” said Mr McLaughlin. “The interviews were conducted with farmers, footballers, actors, craftsmen and women, priests, politicians, builders and musicians. They all spoke very movingly and eloquently about their native places, their lives and their memories of this lovely land of wood and water.”

Some of the interviewees are major GAA figures like former Uachtaran Peter Quinn, Fr Brian D’Arcy, Peter McGinnity, P T Treacy, Barry Owens, Marty McGrath, Dominic Corrigan, John McElroy, Joe McGurn, Patsy Dolan, Peter Carty, Sean Duffy, Ollie McShea, Ryan McCluskey, Tommy Gallagher, Gerry Gallagher, Shane McCabe and Ryan McCluskey. There are many other people from various backgrounds in an area from Belleek to Roslea.

It also includes interviews with well-known personalities like Seamas MacAnnaidh, Joe O’Loughlin, Sister Edel Bannon, Margaret Gallagher, Joe Mahon, John Reihill, Frank McManus, Pat O’Doherty, Terry McCartney, Roy Cathcart and Florence Creighton.

The book, which is in excess of 200,000 words, will retail at £20stg/€25. All proceeds will go to Rockfield Community Centre.