Rhyming Through Mayo
We had to root out the passport for this week’s column. We’re leaving our southern comfort zone and keeping the head down because we’re trespassing into Michael Commins country in East Mayo.
It’s the lines of the poet that lures us. SOTB is drawn to poetry like a moth to a flame. Have been since the dim and distant days schoolteacher Larry O’Dea taught John Keegan’s Caoch O’Leary. Then we wore Sister Rosario’s patience to a thread and her trying to command our attention enough to learn Walter de la Mare’s poem ‘The Listener’.
And while there are those who claim it’s not proper poetry if it doesn’t rhyme it is if it’s entertaining. That’s why when Paul Durcan clears his throat to give one of his too few readings this side of the Shannon we’re always present and attentively correct.
But when it comes to rhyming verse there are fewer as skilled on the art as Peter Costello of Kilkelly. He’s been perfecting his craft for over four decades. It’s a labour of love for the Culmore wordsmith.
Peter essays lilting lines for every occasion. Be it birthday, anniversaries, retirements, best man or father of the bride speeches Peter will darn a spiel. And depending on how the upcoming referendum pans out Peter might soon have to include mother of the groom orations in his repertoire. No better man.
A few years ago Peter compiled his work in his first publication ‘A Lot of Fact, A Little Fiction’. Now he’s about to unveil his second tome ‘Rhyming Through Mayo’.
For this masterpiece Peter has taken some of the great Mayo landmarks and institutions and penned poems extolling their virtues.
Twenty two lovely rhyming accolades accompanied by beautiful almost lifelike photographs. He has reawakened Mayo even in those of us who sometimes take it for granted because of the regularity we traipse its highways and byways with on our daily or nocturnal ramblings.
Peter’s illustrations and verses will arm link the reader on a lovely saunter of the mind. He’ll take you down the Wild Atlantic Way by Erris and Dun Bhriste, and The Ceide Fields. He’ll lure you to Achill and Keel Beach and a prayer at Knock Shrine. You’ll pedal The Greenway to Westport.
Page 28 leads you up Croagh Patrick’s cone and he’s cleared the mist so you’ll have a panoramic of Clare Island and Inishturk. Turn another page and you’re in standing at Cong’s Cross beside John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. And any account would be incomplete without an elegy to Mayo football and the marvellous 2013 minors.
Peter captures latest happenings too with an ode to the recently celebrated Mayo Day. And here are just a few lines where he inadvertently sums up best what his book is all about.
‘There are Mayo folk all over, from right across the earth,
Who will celebrate in New York, in Adelaide and Perth,
In Boston and Toronto, in Darwin and Dubai,
In Dublin and in London the green and red will fly’
And it’s to the Mayo exiles in those places this book should now wing its way. It’s a gift they’ll treasure. It will rekindle happy memories of where home is and it will surely stir within them a strong desire to visit again.
But before it takes flight as surely it will it should also find a resting place in every Mayo homestead from the Stags of Broadhaven to the Navigator’s Stone on Inchagoill. And in every school, library, hotel and guest house in the sweet plains too. Peter Costello has produced a timeless classic. It’s a rare gem and a must have in any home a Mayo heart beats in.
The Bard of Kilkelly has gone rhyming around Mayo.
Follow him on his rambles.