Multifaceted ‘We are Mayo’ a must have

Comment & Opinion

ON HOME GROUND Co-author Tom Brett, who travelled from Fremantle in Australia, at the launch of ‘We Are Mayo’ in the County Library in Castlebar last Friday evening. Pic: Michael Donnelly

Live book launch finally takes place in Castlebar

IT was great to see such a large attendance last Friday evening at the launch of a special book which truly encapsulates all things that are great about our county.
‘We Are Mayo’ was due to be launched over two years ago before the Covid pandemic struck, but the authors Tom Brett and Sean Rice went ahead bravely with a virtual launch and the book has already been purchased by hundreds of Mayo natives.
Now, with most Covid travel restrictions lifted, Charlestown native Tom was able to travel from his home in Fremantle, near Perth, in Western Australia, to attend the launch in person, and Friday’s event became a fitting part of the ‘Home to Mayo’ events organised by Mayo County Council for the month of May.
The cover of the book features the jersey worn by Tom Brett’s brother Éamon when he played for Mayo at right-half back in the 1974 All-Ireland minor final loss to Cork. Tom himself moved to Australia to become a GP, he has always yearned to pull together a book which highlights all the is great about our county.
Readers of The Mayo News will know very well the high quality of the prose written by Islandeady journalist Seán Rice for more than 60 years, and Tom could not have chosen a more appropriate co-author.
As Seán explained at the launch, Tom and he originally met in their college days when Tom was studying for a master’s degree in Sociology at University College Galway (UCG). Some years ago, Tom renewed acquaintances with Seán through The Mayo News, and they developed their friendship through e-mail, and eventually the concept for the book was born.

First Lady presides
The stature of the co-authors is reflected in the fact that Ireland’s First Lady, Sabina Higgins, wrote the foreword for the book, and she was on hand on Friday evening to officially launch the book in the well-appointed County Library in Castlebar.
Sabina is of course a native of Ballindine, and as the co-authors themselves said, being from a similar generation, they can relate to everything she has written in what they described as a ‘lovely encapsulation of the days of our Mayo youth’.
Sabina, addressing the large crowd on Friday, congratulated Tom Brett and Seán Rice on what she termed ‘a really beautiful publication’, particularly praising the layout and the quality of the print of the book.
She rightly said that a copy would not be out of place in every house in Mayo, and even more so, in the houses of the Mayo diaspora spread out all over the globe.
‘We Are Mayo’  is available in bookshops across the county and further afield, and it can also be bought online at its own website, www.wearemayobook.net.