Sweet Mary Mac
Yes, indeed, the party room at Jack’s Bar, Main Street, Roscrea rocked with the new words of ‘Sweet Caroline’ when Mary McNamara’s first book of poetry, Born from Sadness, was launched last Friday evening.
Harry Wall, Angela Kiely, Bernie Lyons, Edel Carey
A packed hall delighted in it all for Mary and her family. Publisher George Cunningham acted as MC. Poet Carmel Cunningham formally launched the book saying:
‘Tonight is Mary McNamara’s night; this caring, talented, open-hearted, deep as the sea, loving contradiction that makes up what and who she is. And this evening we are here to honour one of her many talents, her ability to craft words.
Mary’s Born from Sadness is her first venture into the published world and it was a difficult birth, not because of any lack of competence on Mary’s part, but because she shares so completely, her heart and mind and allows us into the core of who she is.
Mary writes with feeling when something hits her – wham – and the words flow.
Events that overwhelm, for example The Day the Pulse Stopped was written with sorrow, when the nightclub in Florida, The Pulse was ravaged by evil. She captures all the emotions of the people on that night when terror struck, hurt, fear, followed by a certainty that these devastated people would ensure life continued. She makes us feel the searing desolation in A Baby’s Cry.
A garden of solitude, peacefulness,
Hidden beneath an arch of trees,
A garden of unimaginable pain of innocents
Gathers the displaced, the banished with agonising dreams.
Claire Borudais, Aoibheann O Dwyer, Pamela Aitken.
Book launched By Carmel Cunningham seen here with Mary McNamara.
Nature is also close to Mary’s Heart. The Bog Road, The Wild, Country Life, are some that show her ability to bring scenes alive so that we can all share in the panorama she has prepared for us, one we might otherwise have totally missed.
Memories, particularly her childhood reminiscences will make us remember too and smile, Childhood Days, Rambling House, The Library Field, all reminded me of a particular moment in my childhood. I’m sure that will happen with many of you.
Mary’s love of music is well known, Musical Notes, The Stage, Life is Sweet, are some examples. Indeed the theme of music runs through much of her work, in the reading of it, the cadence and beauty, sadness and joy only her eyes behold.
An Irishwoman to the core, Mary is very proud of her roots. She enjoyed all the centenary celebrations in this year of 2016, either through participation or attending, both locally and nationally. This is also seen in her poetry.
Her poems on joy, sadness, love and achievement are unlocked and unreservedly open her passion. The emotions shared with us are powerful. A tear might fall, a smile might flit across our faces unbidden and we may be lucky enough to feel the utter joy she portrays. Gone on the Wind, Wanting, Love is, My Happy Place, The Lighthouse are some examples.
There is something for everyone in this book.
All the photographs are Mary’s with the exception of the family portrait by Brian Redmond, which is acknowledged. The cover photo is also Mary’s, taken in one of her favourite places, the Ferrycarrig Hotel, outside Wexford.
Mary McNamara, George Cunningham, Carmel Cunningham
This loving, caring, friendly person, who works tirelessly for her community, has shared with us a rich talent and shared it wholeheartedly.
Margaret, Philomena, Mary, Matthew, Josie, Patrica
Mary McNamara it is an honour for me to declare Born from Sadness is now launched.’
A proud and delighted Mary then replied in a very emotional speech thanking all who had helped her bring this work to fruition. Her daughter Kelly and sister Patricia spoke on behalf of the family. Supper was supplied gratis by the Mill House and wonderful music by Simon and Jason Simmons enlivened a very lively night. The book is published in a limited edition of 250 signed and numbered copies. Almost sold out only a few copies remain. All profits from this publication go to the local SVP and SVP President Con Cunningham was present on the evening to acknowledge the gesture.
This talented woman’s work will gladden many a heart. Her community and her town say well done to her. In one of her poems, ‘fallen angel’, Mary ends
‘My heart will open to the music of life
When the sunshine breaks in front of me.’
One feels that the sun will shine brightly for Mary Mac for many a long day.