They came from far and near to attend the launch of Thurles lady Peg Hanafin’s first foray into the publishing sector as Colaiste Eile was packed to the rafters on Friday evening last.
‘Getting More Out of Life’ the apt title of a book which is crammed with stories, tales and views from a life equally as packed - that of Peg Hanafin - went down a real treat in the local community as young and old alike attended to pick up signed copies.
Peg Hanafin returned to Thurles to great acclaim and was thrilled by the huge turnout and at the opportunity to meet so many people from the locality. She had left Thurles for Blackwater, County Wexford thirteen years ago as a result of ill health, but she never lost touch with the Cathedral Town and it’s people. And, any time she returned, she was welcomed with open arms . But, never with the same degree of warmth and regard as was evident in Colaiste Eile on Friday evening.
The school is multiples of the size Peg left thirteen years ago , and even if it were twice as big again, it would not have housed all of those who attended in one space. Video links to other spaces off the main assembly area had to be utilised so that all who attended could witness what was being said and done.
One person who was not there in person though was Peg’s beloved husband Seamus a man who dedicated his llife to her. And, it was fitting that Peg dedicated her book to his memory - no doubt his gentle smile lighted up Heaven on the evening.
The atmosphere was quite fabulous in Colaiste Eile and people were so pleased to see Peg looking so well, so full of energy, and with that twinkle of ‘devilment’ still in her eye.
The formalities were handled expertly by Peg’s cousin, Brid Ryan of Holycross, and saw speakers including Dr Luke Murtagh, former Colaiste Eile student and now lecturer in UCC Mark Jordon, Con Ryan of Upperchurch, Cllr Seamus Hanafin - Peg’s son, Laurenz Egan of Colaiste Eile and Peg herself all speak. Peg’s outstanding contribution to the local community, the under privileged and those whom the system rejected were recalled with Dr Murtagh comparing her to Fr Peter McVerry - a flattering comparison indeed.
Entertainment followed afterward with a cuppa for everyone. But, all present wanted just one thing - a word with the author. Peg was inundated with good wishes from those who came to Colaiste Eile and it was quite evident that the night was as much about a catch-up with her as it was the launch of her book, which was officially performed by Laurenz Egan.
How appropriate it was that Peg’s launch should take place in the institution she established - an educational facility in Thurles which has given a second chance to so many. How appropriate too that many of the themes in her book should touch on the whole area of second chance. Society often does not give a second chance and expects everyone to conform to ‘it’s’ norms. But, what of those who fall outside of society’s expectations? Are they to be cast aside and forgotten? This theme of inclusiveness and that of humanity and compassion run through the book and were very evident in those who attended as well - many having been touched by the compassion, friendship and warmth of Peg Hanafin down through the years.
‘Getting More Out of Life’ is on sale now in local bookshops now and is well worth a read. It will challenge, enlighten and entertain the reader. Guaranteed.