Due to renewed popularity, the McKeagney family from Tempo is taking delivery of the fifth reprint of their father’s book ‘In The Ould Ago – Illustrated Irish Folklore’ by Johnny McKeagney.
The highly successful book, ‘In The Ould Ago’ [meaning ‘a long time ago’] comprises two hundred intricately hand-drawn illustrated A3 pages of stories, traditions, crafts, history and myths of Fermanagh.
As lockdown has kept people cooped up, a greater curiosity of their local area has taken root. Whether it be puzzling the shape of stones in a field or wondering about the old ruins at the end of the lane, ‘In The Ould Ago’ is a great companion for the journey. Johnny considered himself a ‘time detective’ and walked the length and breadth of Fermanagh.
While out rambling, he recorded stories and tales then illustrated what his mind’s eye saw with a fine nib. After returning home one day, he happily quipped he had been made tea in four different kitchens that day.
The book has made a couple of media appearances recently, including ‘my favourite book of all time’ in the ‘Brighid’s Diary’ column (Sunday Independent) and chosen as his favourite book by the chairperson of #BookWeekNI fuelling interest in it.
Johnny passed away just five weeks after seeing his life’s work published in 2010. Since then the book has made its way into the libraries of many Ivy League universities and the Library of Congress.
Recently it is believed the book helped a family overturn a planning permission disapproval. Johnny had illustrated an old dwelling house on their land, strengthening their case and got their planning permission granted.
As the book stock began to run low, the McKeagney family commissioned the fifth reprint in 11 years.
“Our parents, Johnny and Teresa, would be delighted to know that for as long as people want a book, they will be able to get one,” son Paul McKeagney.
Books are available online at Folklorebook.com and for sale in McKeagney’s Spar, Tempo, the shop Johnny started in 1965.
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