Weeshie's Week

Official Launch of 'My Beautiful Obsession'

November 12th, 2012
by Weeshie Fogarty

Over three years of personal endeavor will come to fruition in the Gleneagle Hotel Killarney next Friday night when Kerry's legendary footballer Maurice Fitzgerald will officially launch my recently published book  "My Beautiful Obsession - Chasing the Kerry Dream". Indeed I count myself very fortunate that Maurice, without hesitation accepted our invitation to do the honors as the St Mary's Caherciveen man rarely makes public appearances such as this and to have such an iconic figure in attendance will be very special indeed. And to add greatly to the evening a great friend and renowned poet and author Gabriel Fitzmaurice from the village of Moyvane will be in charge of events as acting MC.

While it is my second foray into the arena of writing a book this one was as different as chalk and cheese in relation to my first publication, Dr Eamonn o Sullivan, A Man before His Time.  That book published in 2007 was about another person, that legendary Dr Eamonn who had trained Kerry to win eight All Irelands and the fact that I had trained and worked under him in St Finan's Hospital was motivation enough to take on the task.  However the long drawn out decision to write this latest book was a horse of a completely different color as resurrecting old memories long since buried in the deepest recess of the memory and disciplining ones self to spending countless hours at the key board was always going to be difficult and indeed at times painful.  However the fact that I had written a column for this paper for a number of years and before that for the now redundant paper The Kingdom was of immense help and because of this work I had cultivated a certain amount of patience and discipline which I knew would be solely tested in the years ahead as work began.

The seeds for this book had been floating around in my head for a number of years but for one reason or another I had always shied away from beginning the task. However being constantly and very gently prompted by my family and numerous close friends whose advice I greatly valued it finally dawned on me that time and tide awaited no man. I was approaching the big seven - 0 and a decision had to be made one way or another. Then the push that finally convinced me I should have a go at writing this book came when I met a remarkable Cork man Con Collins one cold February day three years ago as Killarney lay covered in a blanket of snow.  I often had the great privilege interviewing photographers and authors on my Radio Kerry program In Conversation at the invitation of The Collins Press Cork and when the invitation came from such a renowned firm the temptation proved completely irrespirable, and so the dye was cast and the decision was made to take on what was for me another life's project.

As work began I had little realization of exactly what lay in store. As one chapter followed another, there are twenty two chapters in the book, ones patience and determination was tested to the very limit. Finish a chapter, read back over it; various mistakes become apparent, re write, correct again, maybe even scrap the whole thing. Send the chapters to the publishers; get them back, more corrections. Work on the photographs required, there are over sixty included. The weeks and months slipped by, the seasons changed, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, I walked in the magnificent Killarney National Park early most mornings. Amazing time to think, reflect, contemplate, figure out and decide as to what would be appropriate to include in the story. The Demense as we called it as youths is just across from St Mary's Cathedral where we sported and played in our young days and memories of former friends and events of the forties, fifties and sixties would come flooding back when called upon as one walked by the river or through the woods. Writing a book such as mine I discovered is all about memories, good and bad. A photograph, a line in a book, a casual remark by friend or family can invoke memories that have lain dormant for decades.

I deliberately set out not to write a book strictly about myself but about those people, events and indeed places that have had a huge influence on me as a person. Growing up as a young boy in the Killarney of the forties and fifties, the huge influence all sports has had on my life, especially Gaelic football. I made a very conscience decision to record and dwell as much as possible in those mostly undocumented periods of Kerry football in the forties, fifties and sixties. That was an era that defined the later decads of my life. The present generation of footballers and indeed Mick o Dwyer's golden boys of the seventies and eighties have been well and truly recorded for posterity. Family memories, happy and sad are recalled, thirty eight years working in St Finans Psychiatric Hospital, playing with Kerry in all grades, referring, the good the bad and the ugly; and of course fifteen years as a sports presenter and analysist with Radio Kerry, a golden "retirement". And finally one of my own favourite chapters, twenty pages as I profile and write about Kerrys greatest living Sports Legends. My fondest wish is that there is some little nugget of enjoyment for everyone who turns the pages of this personnel memoir. It has been an amazing experience and both Con Collins and Gillian in The Collins Press have guided me every inch of the way. Without their expertise this Beautiful Obsession would never have seen the light of day.

Fogra: And so the official launch of My Beautiful Obsession - Chasing the Kerry Dream takes place on next Friday, 16th at 8pm in the Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney. Renowned poet Gabriel Fitzmaurice will be the MC and Maurice Fitzgerald will be on hand to launch the book. All are welcome to attend.

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