“I’M very proud to be a Ballinakill man on this auspicious occasion and I’d like to congratulate ‘the student and the master’ on compiling this valuable history,” declared Ballinakill Historical Society member Martin Rohan during the launch of a new book entitled “Ballinakill - Celebrating 400 years as a charter town”.
The ‘student and master’ he was referring to were co-authors Ger Dunphy and Christy O’Shea, respectively, and the Old School Community Hall was packed to capacity for the launch which was performed by Fr Sean Conlon PP.
Fr Conlon described the publication as a great resource for future generations and said it would make the perfect Christmas gift for anyone from Ballinakill. He praised the authors and spoke of the importance of preserving the archive built up by 88-year-old Christy O’Shea.
Angela Brennan (Ballinakill Historical Society) was MC and co-author Christy O’Shea expressed his honour at being involved with the book. He made special reference to the fact that so many national school children had contributed stories, emulating a similar project he was part of in 1937.
Ger Dunphy thanked sponsors, Fr Conlon, previous speakers (Anne Goodwin Laois Partnership, Eddie Thornton Abbeyleix Credit Union, Patrick McDonnell Parish Pastoral Council) and Ballinakill NS Principal Mrs C O’Callaghan, her staff and the pupils for their co-operation. He expressed the hope that a budding historian may be among the young writers. He also praised Kathleen Walsh and her catering team.
Mr Dunphy paid tribute to co-author Christy O’Shea. “His enthusiasm shows no sign of wavering. He is as keen now as he was in 2002 when he we wrote the first book and I’m sure we’ll have a third book from him in the years ahead.”