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Adult education shows soccer star the write way to do it

He may have been, by his own admission, a late starter to the writing game. But since he got going, Gerry Daly hasn’t stopped. And this outpouring of words and imagery sees the man who made his name as a classy footballer now publishing his debut book of poetry.

Childhood Memories is the title of his collection, to be launched this Friday at Charlie Byrne’s Bookstore. It’s the culmination of a dream for a man whose world opened up with the help of an inspirational teacher with a firm belief in adult education.

Part of Gerry’s motivation was to put words on the thoughts and images that he’s always had in his head – but equally it’s about trying to inspire even one person to make that same literacy leap.

“If just one person could take up the book and like even one line – and if they’d suffered like me first time round in school, and if they were inspired to give it another go, that’s all I’d want from this,” he says.

Long before he wrote them, Gerry Daly’s head was full of poems. “I always had things playing around in my head; thoughts and images as we would be coming back from games on the bus, when I’d be walking around town, going down the Claddagh – everywhere,” he says.

And all of this from someone who is a relative newcomer, not just to poetry, but to writing at all. Because Gerry, one of a family of 14 and himself a father of three, left school at the age of twelve – and eventually sat his Leaving Cert just eleven years ago, at the age of 50.

“I’m not ashamed to say I left school early; we were a big family, and we did what we had to do. But when I did get a second chance, I took it,” he says.

And now that the floodgates have opened, that passion for words is all-consuming – inspired in a large part by a man called Tony Sweeney, who fostered Gerry’s talent and encouraged him over many years.

Childhood Memories, a collection of poetry by Gerry Daly, published by Tribes Press, will be launched in Charlie Byrnes Bookshop on Middle Street in Galway, this Friday evening at 7pm.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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