A Gathering of Stones in Boora and a “Rock the Boat” world record attempt in Rhode are just two Offaly events that feature in a newly launched book from the Irish Hospice Foundation.
“The Gathering - Reflections of Ireland” also includes a reflection from Mrs Justice Catherine McGuiness, whose mother hails from Tullamore, among its 256 pages that celebrate a year in the life of Ireland and her people both at home and abroad.
Edited by journalist Miriam Donohoe, “The Gathering - Reflections on Ireland” includes contributions from the late Seamus Heaney, Bono, Moya Doherty, Brian O’Driscoll and Niall O’Dowd.
Beautifully designed by Steve Averill, who is internationally acclaimed for his work with U2, the book contains 31 reflections and 76 Gathering events captured through narrative or photographs.
The Irish Hospice Foundation is hoping to raise over €250,000 from sales of the book, which will be used to support its work, particularly its activities in hospitals where nearly one in two people die in Ireland each year. Funds raised will be invested in the pioneering Design and Dignity project, which aims to improve the physical infrastructure of hospitals.
Launching the book, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said it was unique. “It is a testament to our culture of storytelling and what emerges from the pages is the strong connection between Ireland and her people – wherever they are,” he said.
“The many talented contributors to the book explore Irish identity both at home and abroad. The book will bring you on a journey from reading Colum McCann’s piece on eating a crumb of Ulysses in New York to Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness writing in Dublin about her life as a ‘cross border body’ to the insights of Commander Chris Hadfield who had a unique overview of Ireland from the international space station.”
Editor Miriam Donohoe said it was great to be involved with the project, and said they were delighted to be able to include many contributions from Offaly.
“There is much to make you think, smile and sometimes laugh out loud in the book,” she described.
“We believe that it will be a unique memento of this national year-long celebration of Ireland and will be treasured long after the year of The Gathering draws to a close.”
Meanwhile CEO of the Irish Hospice Foundation Sharon Foley said she’s hoping support will make the book a Christmas bestseller.
“We rely on public goodwill and support for our work to bring quality end-of-life care and bereavement support to everyone, when they need it and where they need it,” she said.
“The Gathering – Reflections on Ireland” will retail at €20 and will be available in all good bookshops countrywide as well as from www.hospicefoundation.ie.