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‘We Are Mayo’ book finally launched


Mai Doherty (front) pictured in the County Library Castlebar at launch of ‘We Are Mayo’ with First Woman Sabina Higgins and authors Tom Brett and Seán Rice. Pic: Michael Donnelly

Michael Duffy

A book showcasing all that is good about county Mayo written by two proud Mayo men was launched in Castlebar Library last Friday afternoon.
Ireland’s First Woman, Sabina Higgins, a native of Ballindine, was on hand to officially launch the book. Sabina wrote the foreward for the book written by Charlestown native Tom Brett and renowned Islandeady journalist Seán Rice.
‘We Are Mayo’ is a coffee-table style book built around a simple formula incorporating sections dealing with our geographic location in the world, our history, our infrastructure, our sporting and other legends both young and old – all brought together by the great accident of our birth or choice of residence in our unique and beautiful county on the west coast of Ireland.
Seán Rice welcomed Sabina to Castlebar and thanked her for making the journey all the way from Dublin to officially launch ‘We Are Mayo’
“As you will have noticed, Sabina contributed the foreword to our book about growing up in her native Ballindine and its surroundings. Her lovely writing style adorns the introduction evoking memories of the rural customs of her time and the values that shaped her upbringing,” said Seán, who added that the that the book was the brainchild of Tom Brett.
“It was to have been launched in the spring of 2020, but Covid intervened. Tom was in lockdown in Australia and we were in lockdown in Mayo. This was the first opportunity we got to baptise it. It was in his frequent travels from Fremantle in western Australia to his native Charlestown that the seed for ‘We Are Mayo’ was sown and where it sprouted and was nurtured. He was anxious to have the beauty of this county and the grandeur of its people recorded in a publication that truly reflected all those attributes.”
Seán added that Tom Brett has put a lot of work into the publication.
“His love for Mayo is encapsulated in every chapter, and in the immense efforts he has made in producing a written and photographic record of the county in keeping with its beauty and mores.
“Our first meeting happened when we were a lot younger. He was studying for his masters in sociology at UCG, and was giving lectures to an extra-mural class studying for a diploma in social action. He traced me to The Mayo News some years ago and our collaboration continued via email.”
Tom Brett thanked the big audience for their attendance and also all the contributors to the book, in particular all those who gave their photography free of charge.
“I have to say the Sabina’s foreword has been very favourably commented upon and the other thing that people often say to me is that the book surprisingly good and I am proud of that.”
Sabina Higgins said it was a great pleasure to be back in Mayo to officially launch the book.
“I want to really congratulate Tom Brett and Seán Rice on what is really a beautiful publication. The layout and the quality of the print all make it so readable and it’s also a treasure to keep, I really see it being in so many people’s houses, especially for people away from home, where people will really get to know their roots. Our roots are so important to us, what are we really on our own? It really is only in later life that you really come back to your roots,” said Sabina.

‘We Are Mayo’ is available in all good book shops across the county or online at https://www.wearemayobook.net.