A superbly-written new book, My Life And Times In Cashel, by local pharmacist Seán Ó Duibhir, pictured, will be officially launched in the Long Room of The Cashel Palace Hotel on this Friday night, November 9, by the Mayor of Cashel, Dr. Seán McCarthy.
Running to almost 30,000 words, and with a sizeable photographic input, My Life And Times In Cashel is the fulfilment of a personal ambition on the part of the author, and has come to reality after initial encouragement and support from his lifelong journalistic friend John Murphy, who is also a native of the town.
John has filled the role of editorial assistant, and doubtless his half century of active involvement in journalism, including more than 40 years as a staff reporter with the Cork-based Examiner daily newspaper, made him an admirable choice for that particular job.
Known the length and breath of Cashel and far beyond, Sean Ó Duibhir is one of the most successful and indeed one of the most popular businessmen of his era in the town.
The story of My Life And Times In Cashel begins at the beginning, from his days in the national school, then onto the Christian Brothers on the Golden Road, before the commencement of his career in pharmacy in 1959 when he began his three years pharmaceutical apprenticeship at Hickey’s chemists in Thurles. Seán recalls his subsequent time attending the College Of Pharmacy in Dublin and also UCD. He tells of his return to Dublin, where he qualified as a pharmacist in 1966 before he took up an appointment as manager of O’Donnells pharmacy in Cahir.
On March 15th 1968 he realised his longest-held personal ambition when he opened his own pharmacy in what had been the O’Dwyer family home for so many years at 34 Main Street, Cashel. Since then it has been success all the way for a man who provided such inspiring managerial leadership for all members of his staff.
In 2004 Seán decided it was time to pass on the reins of responsibility, and sliding smoothly into what one might term “semi retirement’’ his eldest son Seán took over the running of the Main Street pharmacy. He was joined by his Kilkenny-born wife Mairead, who is herself a fully-qualified pharmacist, and in the intervening years together they have expanded both the premises and the business.
In December 2008 they opened a second pharmacy in Cashel’s new Shopping Centre at Cahir Road and in 2011 a third came on stream at Ladyswell, close to the town’s most famous landmark The Rock Of Cashel. Today the author’s youngest son Cormac manages the outlet on the Cahir Road, while his wife Ann and his daughter Sinead have also had an important input into the running of the Main Street pharmacy.
In the book many of the characters well known to Seán during his time growing up in the town are honourably highlighted, as are many of the organisations with which he has been most readily identified, including Connradh Na Gaeilge, The Choral and Dramatic Society, his golfing days and of course the GAA and most especially the local King Cormacs club. He also takes on the formidable task of naming what he considers to have been the best-ever Cashel senior hurling 15 in his half century of involvment with the club, and no doubt this will be as interesting at it most probably will be controversial.
He has devoted special chapters relating to the Irish language which has always been so very close to his heart, and Cashel’s hosting of its one and only Fleadh Cheoil Na hÉireann is also the subject of a chapter all of its very own.
His editorial assistant John Murphy, known to one and all in Cashel in his young days as The Merryman, is also given a chapter all to himself, and in it some of the major news stories covered by him throughout his successful journalistic career are recalled by the author.
Among them are the abduction of Lord and Lady Donoughmore from their home in Knocklofty outside Clonmel, which dramatically ended a week later when they were deposited on the roadside in the early hours of a Sunday morning by their abductors in Dublin’s Pheonix Park.
There is also the story of the journalist’s trip to Rome in 1987 to cover the installation of John Magee as the Bishop of Cloyne by the late Pope John Paul 11. Readers are told of John’s subsequent private audience with the Pontiff in the Vatican, where he made a very special Papal presentation to him in honour of the occasion.
My Life And Times is written with heart-warming simplicity, which makes it all the more compulsive reading material. It is in every sense a tribute to Seán Ó Duibhir as its author, and it really comes as highly recommended for everyone in Cashel and indeed in the wider Cashel area.
Retailing at just €10, My Life And Times In Cashel is available at all of the local newsagents and other established retail outlets.
Whatever proceeds will emanate from the sale of the book will be donated exclusively to a very deserving local charity--the Cashel Day Care Centre.