Mayo Day 2020 falls this coming Saturday and that was the day chosen a good while back for the launch of an exciting new hardback, coffee-table style book entitled We are Mayo. Unfortunately the Covid-19 pandemic has put paid to any plans to host an official launch on Mayo Day but the book will still be available as planned from Saturday.
We are Mayo is the brainchild of Charlestown native Tom Brett, who, for the last thirty years, has been living and working in Australia. From his Freemantle base Tom teamed up with veteran Mayo News columnist Seán Rice and between them they’ve combined to produce a publication that’s set to become a treasured possession for people with Mayo connections both at home and abroad.
As the title implies it’s a book about Mayo, about its geographic location in the world, its rivers, lakes and mountains, its history and its infrastructure, its people, its sporting and other legends.
There’s plenty of football included between its covers too. Some exceptional historical photos of the 1936 and 1950/51 All-Ireland winning teams feature in the book, including some great images from the celebratory boat trip to New York. Other memorable images are from the Liam Lyons Collection and from the lens of Michael Donnelly.
The front cover image (above) is that of the traditional Mayo jersey first worn by Eamonn Brett, brother of Tom, on making his Mayo debut at right half-back in the All-Ireland Minor final of 1974 while on the back page the splendid Aurora Borealis image of Dún Briste (below) is the work of Brian Wilson.
Apart from reports and photos of the county’s GAA legends and modern-day GAA heroes, the book contains an interesting chapter about football rivalry in Mayo’s border towns and villages as well as a story about the blood relationship between two of Ireland’s greatest sporting heroes – Tom Langan and Ronan O’Gara.
Ireland’s First Lady and fervent Mayo GAA supporter, Sabina Higgins, provides a very appropriate Foreword to the book, detailing her own childhood and adolescence in Ballindine.
Keen to support Mayo business and employment, Tom and Seán insisted on keeping it local with printing undertaken through KPS Colour Print in Knock.
We are Mayo is now available online from Castle Books in Castlebar from Monday, 4th May, and it will also be on sale more widely once things start to return to normal. The book is priced at €30, with orders of four copies available at a special price of €100.
UPDATE: it’s now available online from Castle Books – here.