“Matthew’s Tale, the Fairie’s Gift” written by Susan Benedict and illustrated by Cora Mugan was launched in Roscommon County Library on Saturday last, April 23rd.
Pictured at the launch were Aoife Mugan, Janet Maloney, Martha Hill, Carolyn Tunney (Assistant Librarian)) who launched the Book, Mary Tarmey, Matt Hennigan, Michael Mugan, seated. Susan Benedict (Writer) Cora Mugan (Illustrator) Josephine Hennigan and Leona Jameson at the Launch of “Matthew’s Tale” The Fairies Gift at Roscommon Library.
Picture Credit: Glynn’s Photography, Castlerea.
The launch included informal and formal speeches by Mary Hennigan (née), Cora Mugan, Susan Benedict, Carolyn Tunney(Library) and taking photographs. The book has just been published in the US.
As a young woman Susan heard her family tell stories about Ireland. Through these stories she felt connected with her ancestry. Susan was inspired to research her extended family. After many years of exploring archives and records her journey led her to Ireland in 2012. As part of her visit Susan visited Curry, Co.Sligo the home of her grandparents, neighbouring parishes and Co. Roscommon.
She felt instantly connected to the people and country. When she came to Roscommon town in 2012 she was welcomed openly by Matthew and Josephine Hennigan to Goff Street. Her meeting with Matthew Hennigan was a fantastic occasion. For many evenings they shared stories of people and places from by-gone years and from both sides of the Atlantic.
Matthew has since passed away. However Matthew had a great memory and skills of observation. He had a wonderful respect for the heritage of his native village. This renewed interest in heritage and stories gave him a new lease of life.
Susan made an impression on Matthew during her visit and in turn Susan gained Matthew’s trust. Matthew told Susan a tale which he had told to only a couple of people in his life.
Susan was enthralled by the story Matthew told of the night he and his sister Mary took a shortcut home. Susan made the story into a book and the story included the way and sense of life as described to her by her Irish relations and Matthew himself. Susan asked Cora, Matthew’s daughter to illustrate the book. Cora works as an Artist, Teacher and Therapist and has had exhibitions both in Ireland and New York. I hear Matthew himself had a fair hand at the drawing! Susan is a Teacher by profession.
Matthew loved children. He encouraged and helped them to read and write well, not to mention the sums! He particularly loved his grandchildren, all twenty-four of them. He was so proud that his story was to be published. It is hoped that children and children-at-heart everywhere will enjoy the book as much as Matthew would surely have done.