The emigration trail that many have been forced to follow in the last few years provided the inspiration for a short story that a Clonmelman has contributed to a book launched this week in aid of the Irish Hospice Foundation.
Powers Irish Whiskey is Celebrating What Truly Matters with the launch of its second anthology of short stories of the same name.
A compilation of over 50 short stories, penned by writers from across the country, the Celebrating What Truly Matters Powers Irish Whiskey Short Story Collection (Volume 2) features a contribution from Tadhg O’Regan, who’s originally from the Spa Road and now lives in Cherrymount, Clonmel.
His story The Good Life, one of those selected for inclusion from 4,500 submissions, is the first short story that Tadhg has written.
The 26 year-old son of Leah and Paud O’Regan (the former consultant at the South Tipp General Hospital) works as a fitness instructor in Kilkenny.
The Good Life tells of a young Irish emigrant in Australia, a snapshot of the circumstances that brought him to paradise in search of the good life and the realisation that what really matters is 10,000 miles away back home.
“I just wanted to write a piece that would resonate with most people in this country. Almost everyone has been affected by emigration in some way”, says Tadhg, a past pupil of Rockwell College. “I have friends who reluctantly emigrated with their partners and children”.
His sister Kate told him about the nationwide competition that ran in the Irish Times magazine last spring and he wrote the 450-word story at the eleventh hour before the close of the competition deadline.
He has since written more short stories and, buoyed by the success of his debut effort, plans to enter more competitions.
“The main thing is that this book will help a very worthwhile charity”, says Tadhg.
The anthology covers an array of subjects from love lost and won, ties that bond, mellower moments in time and the warmth of family and friendships. All reflect on a common theme, Celebrating What Truly Matters, which was inspired by a hugely popular campaign for Powers that ran in the 1980s based on conversations and short stories.
The book was launched on Tuesday by author Sheila O’Flanagan, ambassador to the project, in Finnegan’s in Dalkey with a tribute to the late Maeve Binchy, who wrote the foreword for the book.
In her introduction to Celebrating What Truly Matters, Maeve speaks of people’s expectations, hopes and dreams and the human desire in life to be needed and to know the security of love.
“This is a series of snapshots about what does matter to people. None of them are about financial gain or personal recognition. These are not tales of triumphing over enemies, of making a killing, getting away with a gamble or pulling a fast one. They are about local heroes, poignant memories or images frozen in time. What they have in common is that they are about loving and being loved.”
The chairman of the Irish Hospice Foundation, Michael O’Reilly, said “As a charity with no core funding from the state we are reliant on public goodwill to fund our work. Last year we were very grateful to receive nearly E30,000 from the sales of Celebrating What Truly Matters Volume 1. We stand to benefit again from Volume 2.
The funds raised will be used to support a range of programmes that strive to ensure that everyone, regardless of their age, their diagnosis or where they live, have access to the care and support they need when they need it most.
A core feature of hospice care is good communications and listening to people. This book is a wonderful collection of people’s stories about their life experiences and will bring a lot of enjoyment to the reader.”
Celebrating What Truly Matters, Powers Irish Whiskey Short Story Collection is available to buy from Easons and Dubray books nationwide.