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Irish Poetry with Sean O’Muimhneachan

Sean I'muin

Sean O’Muimheachan, a primary teacher in Macroom, printed with Selfpublishbooks.ie a casebound book of his poetry. I had a quick chat with Sean and asked him where it all began.

“I was born and reared in a rural Gaeltacht area, Gaeltacht Mhúscraí,” said Sean, “and received my primary and secondary education in that area; I’ve
 spent all my working life there. Very boring you might say! Not at all.
This is an area of natural beauty, steeped in history and culture and with
plenty of sporting and cultural activity throughout the year. We are within
easy reach of bus and train services and within an hour’s journey of two 
international airports. But those things never bothered me growing up in
this area as there was always plenty to do.”

Sean was happy to relate how he first became interested in writing: “This locality has long been famous for its writers, poets and singers and 
it was only natural that I would become acquainted with their work as I 
grew up. Songs and poems were composed about many local happenings, 
these being mostly humorous songs, but many more serious poets were
 also at work, producing works that were to earn for them national fame.

“Seán Ó Ríordáin and Séamas Ó Céileachair are two who immediately 
come to mind. Then there were the writers like An tÁth, Peadar Ó
Laoghaire and Dónall Bán Ó Céileachair, who preserved the richness of
the local dialect in their writings. Perhaps it was only natural that I would
 begin to dabble in such pursuits as I grew to understand the importance of
 such things in our society.”

How does work fit into all this? “Being a Primary Teacher, I often composed poems to fit in with topics in
 the curriculum when suitable poems were not available or for use in stage
 shows or drama competitions. Dámhscoil Mhúscraí provided the impetus
to practice my poetry skills and I have for many years participated in
this annual poetry session.

“I’ve been a regular attendant at Oireachtas na
Gaeilge and Fleadhanna Ceoil also, both of which hold competitions for
 newly composed songs. This provided the incentive to write and compete, 
which I have done for many years with limited success. Having heard 
suggestions from many that I should publish some of my works, I decided 
the time was right when I retired from teaching and so Gleanntán an
Aoibhnis began to take shape.”

I was curious to know what a reader can expect from Sean’s book. “The reader will find that the songs are predominantly humorous songs 
and I must admit to enjoying writing such songs,” he admits with a smile, “When a good line comes 
together it gives me a giggle of satisfaction and I hope it also brings a
 smile to the face of the reader.

“Having said this, I am well aware that a 
serious song or poem is usually of a far better quality than a frivolous 
one. I have also written a few of those, both in Irish and in English. It’s 
easy to draw a laugh but the song that draws a tear strikes closer to the 
heart.”

So once he put all the words together, it was only a matter of finding where to put them between a book cover. Sean has already given a wonderful testimonial, but I was curious as to how he found self-publishing: “This was my first experience of publishing and, having approached Bard
 na nGleann in Béal Átha’n Ghaorthaidh, I was put in touch with Lettertec 
in Carrigtwohill. I was facing the unknown.

“However, I was given every 
assistance and advice and Elaine Barry, who was in charge of design, was 
most efficient, helpful and patient. Anything that needed to be changed or
 corrected was attended to without fuss and her advice on layout, font, etc., 
was invaluable. The finished product more than I could have wished for, 
a most professional package, and deadlines were met promptly.”

What’s in store for Mr O’Muimhneachan now? “At the moment I don’t have any other plans for publishing,” he says, “but who knows what the future may hold!”

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