Orla Quilty, Pat and Eleanor McLoughlin and Shane McLoughlin at the launch of Pat's second book
“IT is a very brave thing to do,” Minister of State, Patrick O’Donovan said, paying tribute to those who take the bold step of putting their creativity on public display, whether that is in print, in music, dance or sculpture.
They are, he added, a bit like politicians in that they are putting themselves out there, “for people to criticise”.
But, he made clear, he regretted what he regarded as a kind of crassness and cheapness that was creeping into discourse now. And he had no time at all for those “keyboard warriors” who had “no fear of God or man”.
The minister was speaking at the Newcastle West launch of From Head to Tale, the second collection of stories by Pat McLoughlin, where he congratulated Pat on his achievement.
Reading the book, he said, he was struck by how the role of women in Ireland had evolved from that generation of women in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s who were “almost trapped”.
“They were trapped by economic stagnation, by a lack of progress and no real vision in the country,” he said. “It was not a nice place for many people, particularly for people on the fringes, particularly for women.
“We are very fortunate now we can look back on it and see how Ireland has changed, how Ireland has changed for the good,” he said.
Pat McLoughlin’s book, Minister O’Donovan said, “charts a kind of social change in Ireland which is really important”.
“It gives us an insight into what kind of Ireland we had a relatively short time ago,” he said, a change which he felt was down to our entry into the Common Market.
“Critique is important and criticism is important,” he said. “It forces us to reflect on an Ireland that still has many questions to answer. All of us have an obligation to reflect back on the dark days. It forces us to look back and say that is the sort of thing we prevent from happening in the future.”
Minister O’Donovan praised the author’s ability to tell a story, saying: “You can almost hear the story being told by Pat.”
“It is a lovely book. It really is a lovely read,” he said.
Earlier, Paddy Fullam also praised Pat’s ability to tell a story. But, he said: “It takes a good story writer to take on the mantle of a good story teller”. And he paid tribute to Pat’s “captivating conversational syle”.
Dominic Taylor of the Limerick Writers Centre which published the book said it was their 88th title since it was established in 2008. “We are very proud of that,” he said. Publishing was now being dictated by marketing and PR but he believed the LWC had made a significant contribution to the literature of Limerick. And he believed the printed book was “still at the cutting edge, still the best way to disseminate ideas”.
Author Pat McLoughlin said he got tremendous support following the publication of his first collection, To Weave with Words, last year.
“I gained enormous confidence from people who said how much they enjoyed it,” he said. “Thank you all so much. You will never know the positive effect your kind words have had on me.”
Sheila O’Regan of West Limerick 102 was MC for the evening and encouraged people to buy and read the book. From Head to Tale, priced at €12 can be bought locally, in Tony Hayes, Newcastle West, Ann Lyons, Abbeyfeale, Garveys in Rathkeale and O’Mahony’s Limerick. All profits from the book will be donated to Friends of St Ita’s.