Tipperary environmentalist warns of the need to change or future ‘will not be very good’

Biddy Flanagan of Dromineer who features in Padraig O Flannabhra's latest collection, Delight in Dromineer
If we do not change, the future will not be very good, Fr Sean McDonagh said at the launch of a book on Dromineer this Monday. The world renowned Nenagh-born environmentalist said there was an “ongoing challenge to waterways around the world, but that very often, as an environmentalist, you were presenting the bleakest picture”.

If we do not change, the future will not be very good, Fr Sean McDonagh said at the launch of a book on Dromineer this Monday. The world renowned Nenagh-born environmentalist said there was an “ongoing challenge to waterways around the world, but that very often, as an environmentalist, you were presenting the bleakest picture”.

Pointing to the Philippines as an example, he said the area that was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan was familiar to him as he worked there as a missionary.

“People never change through fear, the important thing is love,” said Fr McDonagh. “It is only when people begin to love their local place that they will realise we are going to have to make sacrifices and change.”

Launching Delight in Dromineer, a photographic collection of life in the village by award winning local photographer Padraig O Flannabhra, Fr McDonagh said Mr O’Flannabhra “tells a story in words and pictures to entice a people to love an area”. He said the work would “stand the test of time”.

He revealed that it was his childhood visits to Dromineer in the 1950s that inspired his empathy with the environment.

John Flannery, president of Ormond Historical Society, said that Padraig had a “fantastic eye for detail” and his work will be treasured by social historians as it captured people at work and at play in much the same way as photos from 100 years ago had done.

He also said that exiles will treasure the book because it will remind them of what they are missing at home.

Mr O’Flannabhra said Dromineer was “part of all my life”,

He dedicated the book to his mother, Nancy, late father Nicholas, and siblings, recalling how the family had a portrait picture taken on the lakeshore back in 1960, a photo that is reprinted in the book.

Mr O’Flannabhra said that one of the magical things about Dromineer was the different light in the area, one which he felt would have attracted Impressionist painters such as Monet.

Many views and activities as well as people feature in Delight in Dromineer. The images illustrate an approach to Dromineer through trees of the sand grove at Urra, through, and over, the bridge at Annaghbeg, and taking the old narrow road down to Dromineer village until the lake is glimpsed.

Historian Danny Grace, in his introduction, says that “the various faces of Dromineer have been beautifully captured in the photographs”. Dromineer is a place that is both local and universal, home to fisherman, boatman, yachtsman and daytripper. It is Nenagh’s outlet for leisure and recreation.